Tonight’s live blog: Our live blog for Game 1 of the American League Division Series is under way. Please check back here often tonight for updates, but I also hope to see a lot of comments from fans and readers. Post often your thoughts on this game and series. Ask any O’s questions you have. Start leaving comments right now if you have one.
Some O’s playoff history: The Orioles have never lost an American League Division Series. OK, they have only played in two of them, but they beat Cleveland 3-1 in 1996 and Seattle 3-1 in 1997. They posted blowout wins in Game 1 both times, beating the Tribe 10-4 in ‘96 and the Mariners 9-3 a year later.
If you count the Orioles’ win over Texas Friday night as a one-game series, then the Birds are 11-7 all-time in playoff series. If not, go with 10-7. That works out to 2-0 in Division Series, 5-4 in the American League Championship Series and 3-3 in the World Series.
My take on this series: I don’t make many predictions, but feel confident that the Orioles will win this series. They just know they can play with the Yankees and they know they can beat the Yankees.
One thing I feel fairly certain of is if the Orioles lose this series, it will be because they get outplayed and not because they are timid or nervous and can’t step up to the moment. They can and I expect they will.
They have a very professional respect for the Yankees but you can tell they also are confident in their ability to beat them. That feeling came across during yesterday’s interviews.
The days of the Yankees intimidating the Orioles are over. Having said that, this Yankees team is playing very well right now and they start out with two quality big-game pitchers in CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte. Robinson Cano and Ichiro Suzuki’s bats are sizzling right now and the Yankees won 14 of their last 18 games.
The Orioles chased the Yankees for the past few weeks, but never passed them in the standings. Now they don’t need anyone else to help them. Let’s get some of these showers out of here and get this game under way.
What do you guys think?
Start delayed: At about 5:50 p.m., the Orioles announced that the start of tonight’s game, which was set for 6:15, will be delayed. How long it will be delayed is not yet known. The tarp remains on the field at the Yard.
Tonight’s first pitch: Hopefully we will get started later, although nothing has been announced yet, but if/when we do, the ceremonial first pitch will be thrown by Perry Hall High School guidance counselor Jesse Wasmer, who will be accompanied by Perry Hall student Daniel Borowy. On Aug. 27, after Borowy was shot in the back by another student in the school cafeteria, Wasmer responded quickly and bravely to tackle the gunman, preventing further injury to anyone else.
I am a proud Perry Hall grad from 1978 and can’t tell you how proud I am of the students and staff at the school that dealt so well with a terrible day. I’ve never met Mr. Wasmer but I think he’s earned the right to be called a hero. Who knows how many kids his actions may have saved that day? What a nice thing for the Orioles to have he and Borowy here tonight.
We have a start time: A roar broke out from the crowd when the scoreboard flashed this message: The game will start at approximately 8:40 p.m. That was followed quickly by a “Let’s Go O’s” chant. This crowd is wet but ready.
Yankees score first: New York took a 1-0 lead in the first on Ichiro Suzuki’s RBI double, which makes him 8-for-13 in his career against Jason Hammel. The leadoff batter has reached in each of the first two innings for the Yankees, who lead 1-0 as the O’s come up in the second.
That stat will improve now: Nate McLouth has gotten a lot of big hits for the Orioles this year. But when he came to the plate in the third, he was batting just .184 this year with runners in scoring position. He promptly singled in a pair of runs as the O’s take a 2-1 lead to the fourth.
Four-inning pitch totals: Hammel was at 84 pitches and Sabathia 43. It looks like Hammel has good stuff tonight, but is struggling to command it with four walks (one intentional) and some deep counts. Maybe this will be his last inning. He’d throw 150 pitches if Buck Showalter would let him.
Two-for-two: Those were not quality starts by definition (six innings or more, three earned runs or less), but Joe Saunders and Hammel both have thrown well in these first two playoff games. Over 11 1/3 innings, they have combined to give up 10 hits and three runs for an ERA of 2.38.
O’Day has a good day: Darren O’Day just pulled off a Houdini act to keep this game tied 2-2 in the seventh. He inherited a two-on, none-out situation and pitched out of it, fanning A-Rod to the roar of the crowd to end the frame. Matt Wieters gets a huge assist, making a scoop of a short-hop throw and then tagging out Russell Martin at the plate. That was a huge play.