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Looking ahead to two more Game 5s

Oct 12, 2012, 9:11 AM EDT

Washington Nationals' Jayson Werth rounds the bases after hitting a game-winning walk-off solo home run against the St. Louis Cardinals during Game 4 of their MLB NLDS baseball series in Washington

Four best of five playoff series, four Game 5s. Life is good.

We do it again two more times tonight, with the following action on tap:

Orioles at Yankees, 5:07 PM ET, TBS:  It has been an offense-free zone for both teams, but it’s not surprising given the big names and big contracts that the Yankees are catching all the heat right now. Alex Rodriguez has been terrible but, really, Curtis Granderson has been worse. And it leaves Joe Girardi with a tough call tonight: do you play an elimination game without your future Hall of Famer and your 40+ home run center fielder in the lineup? Do you go with Eric Chavez and/or Brett Gardner in an effort to shake things up?  I doubt he’d make both of those calls, but benching A-Rod would not surprise me at all.

But maybe it’s the Orioles who need to worry more about their offense tonight, as they face CC Sabathia, who shut them down in Game 1. And, while they’re not getting the headlines Rodriguez and Granderson are getting, Matt Wieters and Adam Jones have been godawful too. They’ll need to figure something out if the O’s are going to advance to a meeting against the Tigers in the ALCS.

Cardinals at Nationals, 8:37 PM ET, TBS: Two things that I sort of don’t believe in in baseball: momentum carrying over and experience carrying the day.  The Nationals — thanks to Jayson Werth‘s dramatic walkoff homer — have the former and the Cardinals — thanks to having the 2011 World Series hardware in their trophy case — have the latter, but that’s not really gonna matter tonight, as momentum is your next day’s starting pitcher and experience doesn’t put runners on the bases.

For the Cardinals it’s Adam Wainwright, for the Nats its Gio Gonzalez. Each are coming off strong Game 1 performances and each are facing lineups who couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a boat in Game 4. The concern has to be more on the Nationals side, however, because even in victory yesterday the bats were mostly silent, whereas the Cardinals have been doing quite alright otherwise.  One gets the feeling that this will be a close, low-scoring game, however, decided by the bullpens.

  1. burm61 - Oct 12, 2012 at 9:18 AM

    Let’s GO O’s!

  2. sometimesimisscandlestick - Oct 12, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    This has been a great post season for the fans so far. Four really good division series. The only thing that would have made it better is for the wild card to be best of three.

  3. stex52 - Oct 12, 2012 at 9:29 AM

    I missed the games last night do to a commitment. Will not happen tonight. Now that close, low-scoring games have been officially predicted, I expect two blowouts.

    But I’ll be watching in any case.

  4. sjtorpitt - Oct 12, 2012 at 9:30 AM

    Bench for Chavez, and keep Grandy. That way there are 2 more lefties to keep in the lineup vs Hammel.

  5. sjtorpitt - Oct 12, 2012 at 9:31 AM

    Bench Arod for Chavez***

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 12, 2012 at 10:12 AM

      That should solve all of their problems. (Chavez 0-5, 2Ks)

  6. willclarkgameface - Oct 12, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    Let’s go O’s is right!

    And let’s go Cards. Like every other GM in the league, let’s root for the Cardinals to take the Nats down and show Rizzo that he’s not really the smartest GM in the room. He’s Mr. Toughguy, from Chicago, not taking care of business by talking shit. Whatevs man.

    It was the most pussy move to pull your best horse out of the race to protect him like a nervous mother. That shit ain’t street, Rizzo.

    • kkolchak - Oct 12, 2012 at 10:26 AM

      Your choice of language says a lot about both your mentality and your maturity–and complete lack of the latter.

  7. southofheaven81 - Oct 12, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    Girardi needs to sit A-Rod, Granderson, Swisher and Cano down in a room today, and remind them that the four of them have a COMBINED batting average that’s just BARELY better than the ba of their 38 year-old shortstop with one good leg!!! Let them sit alone in that room for an hour & decide what the hell they’re going to do about that.

    • mybrunoblog - Oct 12, 2012 at 9:57 AM

      I agree. Gut check time. These guys have disappeared Houdini style. Really awful performance buy these three. Going to be a long winter if these guys spit the bit again tonight with RISP.

    • Lukehart80 - Oct 12, 2012 at 10:03 AM

      Yes, I’m sure that would be an eye-opening meeting for those four players that would totally make a difference in how they perform tonight. Probably none of them is aware that they aren’t hitting very well, but they would realize that (AND be quite inspired) if they saw video of a teammates’ ground ball rolling through the infield for a hit.

      I won’t be surprised at all if a couple of those guys collect big hits and lead the Yankees to a win tonight, but it’s not going to be because they sat alone for an hour contemplating what Derek would do.

      • southofheaven81 - Oct 12, 2012 at 10:30 AM

        Howabout hustling for a triple one at-bat after re-injuring his leg? How about busting out & getting a double last night that ended up tying the game?

        I don’t care if it’s a cliche, Jeter is out there making things happen while these four have gone to sleep. The starting pitching in NY has been phenomenal, time to give them some run support!

      • Lukehart80 - Oct 12, 2012 at 11:39 AM

        I don’t disagree that Jeter has been better at the plate than those other guys (though a mess in the field), but I don’t think the others need some sort of lecture about it, and I don’t think hustle has been an issue.

        They’re going to hit tonight or their not, on the merits of their pitch recognition and swing, not on the merits of what anyone tells them between now and the game (unless someone is pointing out a mechanical flaw).

        That “why can’t you be more like Derek” stuff is grade school nonsense.

  8. broncsfan72 - Oct 12, 2012 at 9:39 AM

    GO CARDS!!!!!

  9. sdelmonte - Oct 12, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    I think that we will see more close games in the next round. Everyone said that these teams were evenly matched, and for once conventional wisdom was right. In any combination of the remaining teams. pitching has a chance to dominate. And moments of late drama are that much more likely.

    Strictly from the “best drama” viewpoint, I would love to see the Cards and the Giants, the last two champs, square off. Especially with the chance of a Cain vs Wainwright matchup. Though Cain vs Gonzalez would be sweet too.

    And while my Mets fan heart wants the Yankees gone on a point of obnoxious principle, a rematch of the Yanks and Tigers, with all that great starting pitching, would be very entertaining. Tigers-Os would have some interesting storylines, but the prospect of Justin and CC facing off once more makes me salivate.

  10. spudchukar - Oct 12, 2012 at 10:47 AM

    Nats will have the crowd, a 21-game winner who has to be better then his game 1 performance, and some renewed confidence, the Cards have…well…the knowledge that they have done it before, but Wainwright needs to be better with his fastball and cutter and cannot just get hitters out with his “yakker”. Will Storen be available to the Nats tonight, probably, but one has to wonder why he pitched the ninth inning Wednesday in an 8-0 blowout.

    • natstowngreg - Oct 12, 2012 at 11:26 AM

      The Nats’ offense remains quite frustrating; watching the pitchers get Cards out, with not a lot of confidence that the offense could take advantage. Yesterday’s game reminded me of how the Nats got the NL East lead in the first month of the season. Starting pitching, just enough offense to win (usually provided from the 7th inning on). Though back then, they didn’t have the complete lineup (still don’t, but Kurt Suzuki has done a nice job as the most recent fill-in for Wilson Ramos).

      Last time Wainwright pitched at Nats Park, he got shelled. Last time Gio faced the Cards at Nats Park, he pitched a shutout. Yeah, that was almost 6 weeks ago. I can’t see Wainwright getting shelled on the road again, and I can’t see Gio having the yips at home.

      In any event, as part of “the crowd” for tonight’s game, I’ll root for a Nats offensive explosion, but expect a 2-1 stress-inducer.

  11. watermelon1 - Oct 12, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    I didn’t know where else to post this, but…

    How come one AL division series gets a day of rest before the ALCS, while the other doesn’t?

    I understand if one series ended in 3 or 4 games, and the other series went 5… then that’s in the control of the teams.

    But both series went 5 games… and now one team has more rest than the other. One team has to play game 1 the day after finishing a game 5.

    This seems like such an easy thing to avoid.

    • zacksdad - Oct 12, 2012 at 12:27 PM

      With the new wildcard format they had to squeeze some extra days out of somewhere. I guess they already had the schedule done and did not want to extend the end date of the playoffs.

  12. Loose Changeup - Oct 12, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    Sabathia, career, regular season: 3.50 ERA 1.22 WHIP 0.8 HR/9
    Postseason: 4.56 ERA, 1.56 WHIP 1.1 HR/9

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