The Yankees and Orioles have played 22 games this year counting the regular season. They're 11-11. So it makes sense their division series is going the distance. The Orioles pulled out a 2-1, 13-inning win last night and there were high-fives all around when it ended (left). So it's CC Sabathia vs. Jason Hammel today at 5 in Game Five.
(Tons of inquiries why the Yankees aren't in prime time. The ALCS starts Saturday and the earlier start gives the Tigers extra time to get to New York, or the Orioles extra time to get to Detroit.)
Neither team is hitting but it's certainly pronounced in the Yankees' lineup. Joe Girardi has to get Raul Ibanez in the lineup tonight. That means either Curtis Granderson sits or (gasp) Alex Rodriguez sits and Eric Chavez plays third. And we still have to see if Derek Jeter is going to DH or play short. Joel Sherman of the New York Post, in fact, says it's time for A-Rod to take a seat and goes over the rest of the lineup possibilities. A-Rod is 0 for 11 with 9 Ks against righties in the series. Yeeesh.
Tonight is the end of the seasonlong sparring between the Yankees and Orioles. Writes great friend of the blog Mike Vaccaro in the Post: "This is the climax to one of greatest two-team races you will ever see. This is Affirmed and Alydar in 1978, a metaphor the Yankees wouldn’t mind continuing since close as Alydar came all across that spring, he never could run down Affirmed. This is one of those Olympic swimming races that somehow ends with one racer touching a wall one-one-hundredth of a second sooner than the other guy."
At 8:30 in DC, it's the Nationals and Cardinals in Game Five. After their Game Three dud, the Nationals won their first home playoff game since 1933 on Jayson Werth's walkoff homer in the ninth off Lance Lynn that produced a 2-1 win. Great column by Thomas Boswell in the Washington Post about how this was the first great playoff moment in the District in generations.
In the Washington Times, former Buffalo News intern Amanda Comak writes that the home run "carried with it the hopes of a team, of a fan base, of an entire city hoping the team’s season would live at least one more day."
It was an incredible, 13-pitch at-bat with an incredible radio call by Charlie Slowes on the Nationals network that starts at the 40-second mark of this clip.
Be sure to cast your votes for tonight's Game Five winners below.
Photo: Associated Press