So the Orioles are 9-3 in their last 12 games.
Two of the losses have come vs. the Yankees with Koji on the mound in the ninth inning. The other came at Detroit, when the O’s led 2-1 going to the last of the eightth, but gave up five runs.
They were several outs away over three games from a possible 12-game winning streak.
That would have been one uplifting win for the Orioles had they held on Friday night. They would have been 4-1 in their last five games versus the Yankees with a win and 8-1 in their last nine games versus AL East foes.
If you read some of the post-game quotes, Buck Showalter and Koji felt Uehara threw a strike on that 1-2 pitch that A-Rod took. Kevin Millwood thought it was correctly ruled as ball two.
The O’s got another stellar starting pitching effort and two clutch homers but still lost a heartbreaker. They have lost like that a lot over the years versus the Yankees.
My one second guess of Koji is the lack of using his split-finger pitch in the sequence versus A-Rod. He threw at least one to Posada, but not Rodriguez.
Why not try to bury a splitter on that 2-2 pitch? Isn’t that the perfect count to try your put-away pitch?
Koji seems to have gotten away from using the splitter much. Maybe he’s had so much success just pumping fastballs that he’s hesitant to change what has mostly been a successful script.
But these two gut-wrenching losses to the Yankees may cause him to re-think that strategy.
Meanwhile, we should also point out what a great atmosphere there was at Camden Yards last night. With the crowd roaring in the late innings, it had an October, playoff-type feel.
Maybe this will be what it’s like if and when the O’s get good for good.
Like Buck Showalter, I give the O’s fans there last night a lot of credit. They held their own cheer for cheer, chant for chant with the Yankees fans.
Yes, we all wish they had greatly outnumbered the New York fans, but they didn’t. But the fans there rooting for the Orange and Black didn’t control that, just what they could do with their support, and they did a lot.
Great night, great atmosphere, awful ending.
Let’s see how the Showalter-led spunky O’s bounce back from this.