If you’re still not sold on the Orioles, I really can’t blame you. They’ve allowed more runs than they’ve scored. Their usual No. 3 hitter is Nate McLouth. Robert Andino is a lineup regular. Their entire starting rotation could probably eat lunch in the middle of Times Square without having a single person recognize them.
But here we are on September 7, and the Orioles are exactly as good as the Yankees.
“You’ve still got to go between the white lines and perform,” Joe Girardi said. “All the thinking kind of goes out once you’re in the batter’s box and once you’re on the mound and once you’re in for defense. You can speculate who’s got an advantage of experience. Once you get between the lines, you’ve just got to make the plays.”
Camden Yards made me a believer last night. I don’t think the Orioles are the best team in baseball. I don’t think they’re going to win the World Series. But I fully believe that they’re dangerous down the stretch. Their rotation remains very suspect, but their bullpen is terrific and their lineup is all-or-nothing dangerous. They’re not a complete, perfect, all-around team, but their strengths are obvious — power and bullpen — and the city of Baltimore seems ready to give this team a boost.
Camden Yards, which is usually full of New York fans when the Yankees come to town — was absolutely electric last night, a screaming blur of orange and white.
“They’re playing with a lot of confidence,” Alex Rodriguez said. “We have to focus on what we have to do, and that’s just keep putting good at-bats together and keep battling. Obviously you tip your cap. That was pretty impressive there in the eighth.”
Look, the Yankees aren’t finished. Top to bottom, the Yankees are still a better team than the Orioles, and in my gut I still believe they’re going to find a way to win this thing. But I’ve spent most of the year dismissing the Orioles, and that was a bad idea. The division is tied, and these next three days are going to be fascinating.
Associated Press photo