It was a deflating moment for the Baltimore Orioles as they watched Raul Ibanez round the bases as he and the New York Yankees walked off with the all-important game three win.
The Orioles, who were winners in the ALDS’ second game, came within just one out of taking the commanding series lead. Now in the hands of the Yankees, Baltimore faces a do-or-die game four at Yankee Stadium (7.05pm ET, today).
Will the Yankees Regret Starting Phil Hughes Over CC Sabathia?
The Orioles have yet to announce who they will be sending to the mound in game four but ultimately it may not come down to their starting pitching at all. The offense will face up against Yankees’ starter Phil Hughes, who at 26 years old, already has a wealth of postseason experience.
Again, this is where winning game three really favors the Yankees and their chances. They know they can afford to lose Hughes’ start and still have the advantage as they will send CC Sabathia and his 15 wins to the mound for game five.
Ultimately however, the Yankees will look to close out this series with Hughes on the mound.
This season, Hughes has certainly had his ups and downs. Early season struggles had him unable to last more than seven innings for the first two months of the season. He had a 1-3 record in the month of April but worked his way back to success with a 4-1 record in the month of June. He started 32 games for the Yankees and was a vital piece as the fourth man of the New York starting staff.
Despite his struggles, Hughes still managed to put together pretty solid numbers on the season. He had a record of 16-13, pitched 191.1 innings, walked 46 while striking out 165, had a WHIP of 1.26 and an ERA of 4.23.
At home in Yankee Stadium, Hughes pitched much better than on the road.
- Home Stats: 16 GS, 3.74 ERA, 11-4 W-L, 26 BB, 85 SO, .238 AVG
- Road Stats: 16 GS, 4.76 ERA, 5-9 W-L, 20 BB, 80 SO, .279 AVG
With the exception of facing the Toronto Blue Jays six times, the Baltimore Orioles were the team that Hughes had the most regular season starts against. He pitched four games against the O’s finishing with a 2-2 record. He gave up 27 hits, 12 earned runs, four walks and five home runs in 22.2 innings. Baltimore hitters batted .284 against him and he had an ERA of 4.76.
Will Hughes and His Tendency to Give Up Home Runs Wake Up the Baltimore Bats?
One of the biggest reasons for Hughes’ lack of success against the Orioles is his susceptibility to give up the home run ball. Unfortunately for Hughes, the Orioles were the second best team when it came to scoring runs via the long ball.
Hughes gave up a total of 35 home runs this season, four of which went to the Orioles. On the inverse, the Orioles as a team hit 214 home runs this season resulting in 47 percent of their total runs scored.
Ultimately this reliance on the home run could end up costing the Orioles in the postseason and against the Yankees. As it turns out their home run trend has actually not continued throughout the postseason. Including their one game playoff against the Texas Rangers, Baltimore has hit just two home runs in four games this postseason, both of which came in their most recent game against the Yankees. In all, the team has scored just ten total runs.
Phil Hughes Stats vs. Baltimore Hitters
The best news for Hughes is that even though he has a tendency to give up home runs, that overall in his career he has had pretty good success against the Orioles and their hitters.
Only Taylor Teagarden is hitting .333 against Hughes and he only has three at-bats against him. Adam Jones has 22 at-bats against Hughes and is hitting just .182 with one home run and three runs batted in. Matt Weiters is the only other Baltimore hitter with a significant number of at-bats against Hughes with 15 and he is hitting just .267 against him, also with one home run and three RBI.
Orioles at New York Yankees Picks
Baltimore was a surprise story even before they made it into the playoffs. They competed with the Yankees for almost the entire season and fell just short of surpassing their division rivals for the AL East crown. Then, they needed to defeat the Texas Rangers, a team that went to back-to-back World Series in 2010 and 2011. In winning this game, the Orioles stunned one of the best offenses in baseball and carried all of the momentum into their series against New York.
Although the Yankees got the best of the Orioles in game one, what likely will be the downfall of this Cinderella team is the way in which they lost game three. They had the lead late but fell in the most devastating fashion.
Walk-offs have a way of affecting a team especially when they are coming into a ‘win or go home’ situation. For this reason, it seems the Orioles magical run may be coming to an end. Take the Yankees to win @ -150 on the moneyline with BetOnline Sportsbook and to close this series out in four games at home.