Tonight's live blog: The Yankees host the Orioles tonight in Game 3 of the American League Division Series. This blog will be here throughout the game and I'll be looking for reader questions and comments. What are your thoughts on tonight's game? What is the key for an O's win?
Will the offense break out?: The Orioles' offense may not be scoring a lot of runs lately, but a late-season trend that saw the club get some real solid pitching has carried over for the first three postseason games.
The Orioles' team ERA is 2.67 in the playoffs. The three starters - Joe Saunders, Jason Hammel and Wei-Yin Chen - have combined to give up just four earned runs over 17 2/3 innings for a 2.04 ERA.
Over the last 11 games, counting the playoffs, O's starters have seven quality starts and have pitched to an ERA of 2.47. The starters' ERA is 3.01 over the last 23 starts.
The Orioles' bullpen, even with Jim Johnson giving up five runs Sunday night, has worked to an ERA of 1.95 over the last 11 games.
That pitching will play well at this time of year. It seems like the Orioles have not hit much lately and that is true, but look where they rank at this early stage of the AL playoffs in runs scored per game:
4.5 - Yankees
3.3 - Orioles
2.7 - Tigers
2.3 - A's
1.0 - Rangers
The Orioles have not yet homered in the playoffs and have not hit one over their last four games. They have a team average of just .232 in the postseason, but are 8-for-20 (.400) when batting with runners in scoring position.
Chris Davis has four hits in the series with New York and continues to swing a pretty hot bat. Over his last 10 games, Davis is batting .378 (14-for-37) with seven homers and 15 RBIs.
Orioles fans, who have seen Adam Jones and Matt Wieters come through almost all year, have seen that pair combine for just two playoff hits so far. Jones is 1-for-11 in the postseason and has just four hits over his last 32 at-bats. Wieters is 1-for-12 in the playoffs and with just four hits over 33 at-bats over a longer stretch.
So let's hear from the fans tonight. Check back often and hit refresh to see the latest I post here and leave your comments also.
For starters: It's Miguel Gonzalez (9-4, 3.25 ERA) against Hiroki Kuroda (16-11, 3.32). These two have similar stats against their opponents. Gonzalez is 2-0 with an ERA of 2.63 in two starts vs. New York. Kuroda is 1-1 with a 2.93 ERA in two starts vs. the Orioles. They faced each other on Aug. 31 and Gonzalez got the 6-1 win.
The Yankees' hitters are batting .196 (10-for-51) against Gonzalez with a .584 OPS. The Orioles' hitters are batting .231 (12-for-52) against Kuroda with a .596 OPS.
Kuroda is good at home with an ERA of 2.72. Gonzalez has been very good on the road, going 6-2 with a 2.74 ERA over 11 games, with nine starts. He has six quality starts and a WHIP of 1.051.
The Orioles are 11-4 in Gonzalez's 15 starts in 2012. They are 7-2 in his nine road starts.
A sweet swing: Ryan Flaherty's solo homer gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead in the top of the third. Flaherty showed increased pop late in the year with two doubles, a triple and two homers over his last 12 games. He added to the list tonight.
Game tied: I know we are going to hear every possible opinion about the Derek Jeter RBI triple that tied the game. But it wasn't about blowing bubbles or anything of the sort. Jones got a late read on the ball and took a step in and that was the difference between an out and a triple. Why did Jones get a late read? Who knows? Could have been many reasons, but it happened and now they move on.
That is a cool note: According to ESPN stats and info, coming into this game the Orioles had never had a rookie homer in a postseason game. Now Flaherty and Manny Machado have done it two innings apart. Is it Baltimore, Mannyland?
Gonzo through six: What an outing to date for Gonzalez - six innings with five hits and one run along with no walks and six strikeouts. Super outing. Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano, batting third and fourth, are a combined 0-for-6 with three strikeouts against Gonzalez. Through the sixth tonight, O's starters have allowed just five earned runs over 23 2/3 postseason innings for an ERA of 1.90.
Tough last of ninth: Jim Johnson had given up just three homers this year in the regular season over 68 2/3 innings and now has given up two in three games in this series. Two outs away from the win, the Orioles didn't get it. Now we see if they can in extra innings.