Sep
11

Rooting for the Orioles (or Rays)

By

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

The Yankees will begin an important series against the Red Sox tonight, but another really important series will open some 400 miles south as well. The second place Orioles are hosting the third place Rays for three games this week, a series that will have a big impact on the AL East race one way or the other. Those clubs will also end the season with three games against each other in St. Pete. As I mentioned yesterday, both teams can’t win those games, and that’s good for New York.

Under the old playoff system, I probably would have rooting for either the Rays or Orioles to sweep all those games. It really wouldn’t have mattered who, the important thing would have been creating separation between the top two teams and the third team in the division. There wasn’t a significant enough advantage to winning the division over skating into the postseason as the wildcard under the old system, so just getting in was the focus. Clinch a postseason berth then worry about the division title was the annual mindset.

That isn’t the case anymore. Capturing that AL East crown is so much more important under the two wildcard system because no one wants to play a do-or-die, win or go home game to decide the season. That means the Yankees absolutely want both the Rays and O’s as far back as possible. Since both teams can’t sweep, the best thing for the Bombers would be for one of those two clubs to take two of three this week. Since Baltimore is one game back and Tampa two, it seems that the Rays taking two would help the Yankees the most. However, since most of us consider Joe Maddon’s club to be the bigger threat, maybe it would be better if the Orioles won the series. There’s no clear right answer here.

Either way, this is all predicated on the Yankees taking care of the Red Sox and everyone else they play from here on out. They have to start winning games consistently to maintain their slim lead. It just so happens that their top two competitors play more than one-quarter of their remaining games against each other, and they’ll theoretically hold each other back for the top spot in the division. The Yankees can only focus on winning their games, but us scoreboard watchers should be hoping that the neither the Rays or Orioles decides to whoop the other this week.

Categories : Musings
  • Better off Eddard

    With a healthy Markakis we’d want the Rays to take 2/3 but now we want to root for the Os to take 2/3 or sweep and put the Rays in a world of hurt. We can then deliver the knockout blow this weekend. The Sox have given up and are doing all they can to get Bobby V run out of town.

    • Monty Capuletti

      The Yankees are not delivering a knockout blow of any kind to the Rays next weekend. They play us tough and they regularly outmanage us, not to mention getting every two-out hit or well placed infield grounder whenever they need one against us. It won’t be easy, and we’ll be lucky to get 2 of 3

      • Now Batting

        While I agree the Rays are tough, I’m glad we’re facing them at home, where we’ve won both series.

  • Kramerica Industries

    I said it earlier, but I would prefer the O’s sweep.

    Baltimore has a tough series in Oakland later this week, and the Rays have what should be a tough series in the Bronx this weekend.

    This could be a season-killing road trip for the Rays if the O’s and Yankees have their way. And if the Yankees take care of business at Fenway, and the Orioles struggle in Oakland, well, it might be the biggest mulligan the Yankees have gotten in years.

    This is, of course, a pie-in-the-sky scenario. But the Yankees can control how well they play, and if they do that, they should be in good shape regardless.

  • blake

    Ideally the Yanks sweep and the Orioles take 2 of 3. Thatd put the Yanks up 2 games on the Os and 4 on the Rays……either way the Yanks need to take care of their business against a bad Sox team that will be trying like crazy to play spoiler.

    • Monty Capuletti

      Good point Doctor

  • Murderers’ Row Boat

    Rooting for the O’s. I spent several years living in B-more area and those fans deserve a good team. They know baseball and are passionate about it. I also want to see us kick their asses in the ALDS.

    • G

      That’s funny, in my last trip to Camden the Orioles fans were pretty much as bad as Red Sox fans…

    • Now Batting

      If they’re so passionate why were there more Yankees fans at every game I’ve been to down there in years prior?

  • JohnC

    A Yankee sweep and a series win by the Rays will put bot the O’s and Rays 3 games out going into this weekend, so I root for the Rays. Then we need to take 2 of 3 from the Rays this weekend.

  • Superstar

    I want the Orioles to win and sweep the rays. They’re the feel good story where you can’t hate them for winning. Plus they’re a lot less dangerous than the Rays, they don’t have the same type of dominating pitching that is key in the playoffs

  • 28 this year

    I root for three games that go 30 innings each.

    • Magilla Gorilla Mama Called me Roy tho

      tired arms

  • jjyank

    Can I root for Skynet?

    • Rooting for U.S. Steel

      Only if we get to see a ripped Linda Hamilton before we all die.

      JJ: Haven’t forgotten our wager. Was actually treated to a surprise trip to B’more this past weekend by my fiancee — even though she’s not a baseball fan, she had gotten two tix to Saturday’s game several months ago.

      Had I known we were going to be in the DC/Baltimore area, I would have tried to give you a down payment on the drink. Some interesting local brews down there…

      And… belated congratulations on your undisclosed good news!

      • jjyank

        Haha thanks dude.

        Next time then. I was out of town this past weekend anyway, visiting some college buddies in Boston. I’ll be around from here on out, though.

  • Magilla Gorilla Mama Called me Roy tho

    Go Orioles. Tampa pitching and the Trop scare me. I will match healthy Yankee bats against the Orioles in Camden Yards. Bring back Bernie.

  • steve s

    Both Balt and Tampa play Bos (6) and Tor (4 Balt; 3 Tam); and each other 6 times so assume those games will basically be a wash. The toss up games for Balt then are Oak (3), Sea (3) and for Tampa are Yanks (3) and White Sox (4). The more difficult schedule (because of the White Sox games which are also on the road) belongs to Tampa so I say root for Tampa to take 2 of 3 at Balt and take it from there.

  • MannyGeee

    I would think we would want the Rays to take 2 of 3 in a spectacularly drawn out and exhausting fashion for their starting rotation, as we could use that edge this weekend against a ‘tired’ Rays team.

    That said, Tampa going on another late season run like last season scares the shit out of me, and them starting that run against the birds this week and carrying it through to this weekend is not completely out of the question.

    either way, the Yanks need to take care of the Fightin Valentines this week.

    • MannyGeee

      sorry, the O’s to win 2 of 3. with 3 extra inning games

  • mt

    I see fans predicting a Yankee sweep – hard to do even against crappy teams (witness Blue jays taking 2/3 from us at home) – also shaky Phelps (or possibly nova coming off DL) starts in this series. Red Sox may perk up because it is Yanks. Yes, they hate Bobby V and may have tanked but don’t you think Pedroia and Lester would love for Yanks not to make playoffs, taking the edge and scrutiny somewhat off their collapse in 2011. I think Red Sox will come to play.

    Given how atrocious Yanks have been the last two weeks with admittedly some better play over the last four or five games, I would love to win 2/3 from RedSox and Rays to win 2/3 (that would knock O’s to 2 back – we need some more room).

    • MannyGeee

      PEdrioa & Lester only care about Pedroia & Lester. Any ‘soul’ that team had left with Youk’s giant head and Ortiz’ achillies. This team is the epitamy of ‘playing out the string’…

      Trust me, no one sees more Sox than me (possibly Brian from NH) being in New England for the past 15 years… this team is fresh out of fucks to give about anything but finishing up in Boston and getting some tee times in right now

  • MannyGeee

    Caption Game TIME!!!!!

    Joe: and THATS why they call me the Silver Fox down there on Ybor Island….
    Buck: Really? So that website really DOES send out ‘Blue Diamonds’ in discreet packaging…. huh.

  • Bavarian Yankee

    “The Yankees will begin an important series against the Red Sox tonight, but another really important series will open some 400 miles south as well.”

    A’s playing the Angels this weekend, another important series. It would be great for the Yanks if the A’s sweep the Angels or at least win the 4-game series.

    Great pennant races in the AL this year and 5 teams are competing for 2 wildcard spots. Right now the difference between winning the division and missing the postseason is only 2 games for the Yankees.

    • Bavarian Yankee

      “A’s playing the Angels this weekend”

      weekend? What was I thinking? I’m on vacation right now so every day feels like weekend to me ;)

  • Rocky Road Redemption

    I don’t believe in “wanting” one team to win over any others. Whatever you think of the Os they’ve sustained this insane success all year long, and the Rays are the Rays-a very good team.

    Whenever you try and play match up with what opponent you want to face it never seems to work out. I don’t really care about who ends up closer to us after this series as long as both are farther back than when the series started.

  • http://fendersonandhampton.com Cuso

    All that matters is what they can control.

    Namely, the games in Fenway Park.

    • jjyank

      Agreed. It would be nice if they beat each other up, but the Yankees are still in first. If they win games, they’ll stay there, regardless of what happens elsewhere.

  • jesse

    I’m rooting for a meteor to land in Baltimore.

    Either way, sweep the Sox.

  • Jose M. Vazquez

    I don’t particularly expect any gifts or freebies from the RS in this series. In fact, they will be trying to ambush us and cut us at the pass. We may have to play even harder than we played against Baltimore.

    • Jose M. Vazquez

      cut us off at the pass. As far as the Orioles and Rays, the latter are more dangerous. I hope Baltimore wins two of three.

  • Mandy Stankiewicz

    The sox knocked us out of 1st in 2010 and celebrated like crazy, even though their season was officially over. Not expecting any beantown favors.