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.
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports that Cardinals’ shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been sporting a new look around Busch Stadium with a pair of “strobe glasses,” technology-enhanced specs designed to help athletes focus on the ball. Like a strobe light, the lenses of these glasses affect a player’s vision by rapidly changing opacity, giving its wearers the illusion that the objects they see are moving more slowly than normal. Once a player adjusts to the new speed of play, they gain a greater sense of control and are able to time their actions with more precision.
Diaz isn’t the first MLB player to utilize the technology, just the first Cardinals’ player to do so. It’s been tested by Bryce Harper, Corey Brown, Tommy Joseph, Austin Hedges and Joe Mauer, among others around the league, and has been used for everything from refining a catcher’s reflexes behind the plate to tweaking a hitter’s ability to track a pitch. Per Langosch, Diaz has been using the glasses to hone in on the ball during pregame drills, increasing both his confidence and response time on the field and improving his defense at short.
The shortstop has been the focus of some concern this season after seeing a sizable dip in his production at the plate, and his five fielding errors, 0.6 UZR and 0.6 fWAR haven’t helped matters, either. He sustained a minor thumb injury during an at-bat on Friday night, and was left off of the Cardinals’ starting lineup on Saturday, though manager Mike Matheny didn’t rule out his ability to pinch-hit during the series. While the strobe glasses are a good start, Diaz will need more than a pair of specs to match the spotlight-worthy performance he turned out during his rookie season in 2016.
Red Sox’ left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez may finally get a chance at cracking the rotation again, assuming all goes well in Double-A Portland first. Rodriguez took the field prior to the club’s afternoon session with the Angels, firing 68 pitches in a simulated game as he prepared for an upcoming rehab assignment in Portland on Thursday.
The 24-year-old southpaw suffered a right knee subluxation during pregame warmups on June 1, and it’s been a slow path to recovery ever since. It’s not the first time Rodriguez has had issues with his right knee — he sustained a similar injury during spring training last year — and this time around, the Red Sox weren’t about to gamble with their starter’s health. Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that Rodriguez was put in a knee brace and underwent exercises designed to help him regain some mobility and stability while he worked back up to full strength on the mound.
He’ll still need to prove he can throw a 75- to 80-pitch outing in Double-A, and barring any significant setbacks, will likely rejoin the Red Sox’ pitching staff when they visit the Rangers next month. In the meantime, the club will continue to cycle starters through the No. 5 spot, which has seen no fewer than three different pitchers since Rodriguez hit the disabled list. The lefty is 4-2 in 10 starts this season after logging a 3.54 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and career-high 9.6 SO/9 through his first 61 innings.