The first playoff game in the city of Baltimore since 1997 didn’t go well for the Orioles and now they face the distinct possibility of falling behind 2-0 in their ALDS series vs. New York with the series heading to the Bronx. And the Yanks are -138 WagerWeb.com favorites for Game 2.
New York catcher Russell Martin led off the ninth inning with a tiebreaking home run off Jim Johnson, CC Sabathia turned in a sparkling pitching performance and the Yankees pulled away to a 7-2 victory in the opener of their AL Divisional Series.
Sabathia allowed two runs and eight hits in 8 2/3 innings to help the Yankees take the edge off the Orioles’ first home playoff game since 1997. The left-hander went 0-2 in three starts against Baltimore during the regular season, but in this one he returned to form and improved his lifetime record against the Orioles to 17-4.
With the score 2-all, Martin drove a 2-0 pitch from Johnson into the left-field seats. It was the first of four straight hits off Johnson, who led the majors with 51 saves. Raul Ibanez and Derek Jeter followed with singles, Ichiro Suzuki drove in a run with a swinging bunt and one out later, Robinson Cano hit a two-run double.
Suzuki has at least one hit in 10 of his 11 career postseason games and has reached base in all of them. He’s also hit in 20 straight games at Camden Yards, a streak that began in 2008.
It was a rare off night for Johnson, who took advantage of a new career opportunity at age 29 to join Francisco Rodriguez, Bobby Thigpen, Mariano Rivera and Dennis Eckersley as the fifth reliever in American League history to record 50 or more saves in a season. He converted 51 of 54 opportunities, and fit the description of “dominant” despite striking out just 41 batters in 68 2/3 innings.
Andy Pettitte will bring 42 games of playoff experience into Game 2 on Monday night as the starting pitcher for the Yankees. Orioles rookie Wei-Yin Chen will be making his postseason debut
Chen, who had a sub-4 ERA through his first 27 starts, took over the No. 1 duties with right-hander Jason Hammel’s knee injury and had a seven-start stretch from July to early August in which he pitched to a 2.89 ERA. He struggled down the stretch with a 5.05 ERA in six September/October starts — the worst ERA in an otherwise impressive rookie campaign, but is coming off of a quality 6 1/3-innings outing last Monday against the Rays.
A broken fibula shortened Pettitte’s season to 12 starts and 75⅓ innings. Pettitte has a 3.77 ERA as a Yankee. His regular-season ERA in pinstripes is 3.95. But he is a quite different pitcher than the one who started his first playoff game Oct. 4, 1994, against Seattle. When Pettitte takes the mound for Game 2 it will mark his first start against Baltimore since Sept. 19, 2010.
Pettitte will be making his 43rd postseason start, the 15th in the division series. Eleven of his 14 division series starts have come in Game 2, so he’s seen this situation from every angle possible. Pettitte is 6-3 with a 3.63 with the Yankees in the division series. Pettitte is 19-10 with a 3.83 ERA overall in the playoffs, posting the most wins, starts and innings pitched of any player in MLB history.
Vegas trends: Over is 5-0 in the last 5 meetings in Baltimore. Over is 6-0 in the last 6 meetings. Under is 4-0 in Pettittes last 4 road starts vs. Orioles. Yankees are 4-1 in Pettittes last 5 road starts vs. Orioles. Yankees are 19-7 in Pettittes last 26 starts vs. Orioles. Under is 8-3-1 in Pettittes last 12 starts vs. Orioles. Yankees are 23-9 in the last 32 meetings in Baltimore. Yankees are 56-24 in the last 80 meetings.