We will have four Game Fives in division series play this year for the first time ever.
The Orioles defeated the Yankees 2-1 in 13 innings tonight at Yankee Stadium to keep their season alive and force a decisive fifth game tomorrow afternoon.
The Orioles grabbed an early 1-0 lead when Nate McLouth hit a solo homer off Phil Hughes in the fifth inning, but the Yankees evened things up in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI ground out by Robinson Cano. The game remained tied all the way until J.J. Hardy delivered an RBI double off David Phelps in the top of the 13th inning.
Joe Saunders was shaky, yet effective for the Orioles, allowing one run on three hits and four walks over 5 2/3 innings. But the members of Buck Showalter’s bullpen were the real heroes on this night, as they held the Yankees scoreless for 7 1/3 innings while giving up just four hits and one walk. Darren O’Day came up huge yet again, this time tossing 2 2/3 shutout frames. Pedro Strop struck out two over two scoreless innings in his first appearance of the series while Jim Johnson tossed a perfect bottom of the 13th for the save.
Derek Jeter went 2-for-6 and Jayson Nix went 2-for-3, but the rest of the Yankees were a collective 3-for-35. Curtis Granderson went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts and is now hitting .063 (1-for-16) with nine strikeouts in the series. Alex Rodriguez went 1-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts and was removed for a pinch-hitter in the second straight game. He’s 2-for-16 with nine strikeouts in the series. We may see an interesting lineup for the Yankees tomorrow with the season on the line.
The Yankees will send their ace C.C Sabathia to hill tomorrow while Jason Hammel will pitch for the Orioles. First pitch will be 5:07 p.m. ET. The winners will advance to face the Tigers in the ALCS.
The Cardinals went from winning 100 games last season to 82 entering Wednesday evening’s game, and they might not even make the playoffs. Still, the organization will bring back manager Mike Matheny for the 2017 season, Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Owner Bill DeWitt, Jr. said, “Mike’s done a really good job for us. There’s no thought that we’re going to go in any different direction.”
GM John Mozeliak also expressed his support, saying, “Mike takes a lot of heat, and I’ve defended him and I will continue to. I really feel like some of the things that we’re dealing with aren’t fair to put on the manager.”
Mozeliak continued, “I do feel like all of us are always held accountable for what we do here, so there’s nobody excluded from that. But having said that, I don’t look at him as someone that we are where we are because of that.”
Matheny has received criticism for his bullpen usage, but the Cardinals have only 15 blown saves as a team, the fourth-lowest total in baseball this season.
The Phillies’ bullpen led to yet another loss on Tuesday. Severino Gonzalez, Luis Garcia, Joely Rodriguez, and David Hernandez combined to allow six runs in five innings, allowing the Braves to come back and win 7-6 after falling behind 6-0 after the first two innings.
The game prior, the Phillies’ bullpen surrendered 14 runs in four innings in a 17-0 loss to the Mets. The game before that, the bullpen yielded four runs in four innings, nearly squandering the Phillies’ 10-0 lead after four innings. And last Thursday, the Phillies had taken an 8-6 lead in the top of the 11th, but Edubray Ramos served up a walk-off three-run home run to Asdrubal Cabrera. It’s been a tough month.
Manager Pete Mackanin ripped the bullpen when speaking to the media after Tuesday’s game. Via Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly:
Neris was going to close for us. I thought about using him with two outs in the eighth. But, at some point, somebody else has to do a (bleeping) job. Somebody else has to (bleeping) step up. In two games now, every reliever I brought in has given up a (bleeping) run. That’s unheard of.
The Phillies currently own the fourth-worst bullpen ERA in baseball at 4.97. Only the Rockies (5.12), Reds (5.07), and Diamondbacks (4.98) have been worse.
In fairness to the bullpen, aside from Jeanmar Gomez (who lost his job as closer earlier this month) and free agent signee David Hernandez, the bullpen is intentionally comprised of young, inexperienced pitchers as the Phillies are still rebuilding. If the Phillies were aiming for a playoff spot, it would be one thing, but the struggles are to be expected when one throws 24-year-olds into the deep end.