** CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler says that the "fun-loving" Orioles have nothing to lose in Game 5 of the ALDS.
They want to win. They even expect to win, no matter what anyone else might say about Game 5 Friday afternoon in the Bronx.
But this isn't must-win, not for them. They did that last week in Texas.
"I tell you what, that play-in, there's no more stressful game than that," Darren O'Day said. "We've been there. I think it's to our advantage."
** Sports On Earth's Emma Span wrote that the Orioles' win last night was a game of endurance.
Everyone on both teams has been quick to credit the pitching for all the low scores in this series, but there were plenty of bad at-bats and slumping sluggers to go around as well. Other than the ninth inning of Game 1, when the Yankees blew up Baltimore closer Jim Johnson, neither team has scored more than two runs in an inning, and neither more than one an inning over these last two games.
** FoxSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi says there is "justifiable concern" in New York heading into Game 5 because of the Yankees' struggling bats.
Another damning indictment of the Yankees’ lineup can be found in the numbers associated with the team that won Game 4: The Orioles managed two baserunners over 25 plate appearances, between Nate McLouth’s fifth-inning homer and Manny Machado’s 13th-inning double. In effect, they mustered two hits in eight innings. And the Yankees couldn’t beat them.
** In his Game 5 preview, SI.com's Cliff Corcoran weighed in on the ultra-competitive nature of this series so far.
The reason for those tight scores has been the difficulty both teams have had scoring at all. Again leaving out the Yankees’ five-run Game 1 outburst against Johnson, which amounted to an entire game’s worth of scoring for both teams in the course of just seven at-bats, the two teams have averaged just 4.25 runs per game combined, with the Yankees scoring a total of eight runs in the other 42 innings of the series, an average of 1.7 runs per nine innings, and the Orioles scoring just nine runs in the series as a whole, or 1.9 runs per nine innings.
** SI.com's Albert Chen says it shouldn't be a surprise that this series will go five games.
The record will show Game 4 of this American League Division Series was the longest postseason game in Orioles' history, but let's be clear: this was not a classic. This wasn't Game 3, a 12-inning epic for the ages. This was exhausting and painful, for the Yankees players, who squandered countless opportunities to put the game away (New York hitters were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position); for the Orioles, who had their own chances (they were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position); and for the faithful who stayed until the merciful end.
** ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick writes that the longer things go, the better these Orioles get.
It would be an understatement to call this series a war of attrition. Between the on-field action and the rain delays, the teams spent 10 hours and 3 minutes at the yard during the first two games in Baltimore. Over the past two nights at Yankee Stadium, they've slogged it out for 25 innings and more than 7½ hours of play.
In a move that had to be frustrating to Yankee manager Joe Girardi, struggling third baseman Alex Rodriguez insisted on wearing 3-D goggles during his at-bats, claiming he needed an extra dimension.
Chavez should play third base in his place. Chavez hit .298/.365/.543 with 16 homers in 245 at-bats against righties during the regular season. A-Rod hit .256/.326/.391 with 10 homers in 317 at-bats.
"When I'm watching the hockey playoffs, even if you don't necessarily follow the teams in the deciding games, those are the fun ones to watch," Orioles outfielder Nate McLouth said. "And they're the fun ones to play in, too."