The Baltimore Orioles looked every bit a playoff team for eight innings. Game one of the ALDS was tied 2-2 going into the top of the ninth inning Sunday night. The Orioles battled the New York Yankees hit for hit and pitch for pitch. Then closer Jim Johnson came in and imploded.
Johnson gave up five runs in the top of the ninth to break a 2-2 tie. The Yankees have taken game one of the divisional series making Monday night’s game a must win for the Orioles. The Oriole can’t afford to fall to 0-2 in a five game series while also going back to Yankees Stadium to play the final three games. It wouldn’t be impossible to win three straight, but it’s not likely to happen.
For Johnson, this shouldn’t shake Orioles fans confidence in the record breaking closer. Nights like this will happen to the best closers, and Johnson is one of the best. One thing about Johnson is that he is a motivated guy and you can expect he will be anxious to come back out for his next appearance. I would expect Johnson to get a 1,2,3 inning in his next game. Sunday night was not a good night for Johnson, but if the Orioles can give him another shot Monday night, he will shut the door.
Monday night’s game two matchup will see veteran Andy Pettitte for the Yankees against the rookie Wei-Yin Chen for the Orioles. It’s going to be a tough match-up for the Orioles. Although past his prime, Pettitte has pitched in plenty of these games and proven this season he has enough left in the tank.
Chen has been one of the Orioles most consistent pitchers this season and has pitched well against the Yankees. However, Chen has struggled down the stretch and he may be tiring. Luckily Chen will be pitching on a week’s worth of rest so if he has anything left he should be able to show it Monday night.
Monday night’s game is about as must win a game you will get without it literally being must win. It will be a big night for Orioles fans and it may be the last game played at Camden Yards this season. Buckle Up Orioles fans!
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