The Baltimore Orioles have to be kicking themselves. In the words of former NFL head coach Dennis Green, Baltimore let the New York Yankees off the hook. The Orioles had a golden opportunity to beat the Yankees in their AL Divisional Series and let it slip away.
Hindsight is always 20/20. Baltimore and New York met a week ago so there has been plenty of time to reflect. The Yankees were able to do just enough to beat the Orioles in five games. Every game could have gone either way.
When the series was over it was believed that Baltimore had given New York a good run, but the better team won. The Yankees had talent and experience over the Orioles. New York did what they always do to Baltimore. They let the Orioles hang around then shut them down when it counted most.
Then the Detroit Tigers swept the Yankees to win the AL pennant. The Tigers caught a New York team that wasn’t hitting and never gave them a chance to get their offense going. Detroit did what Baltimore should have done. They put the Yankees away.
The Orioles and their fans have to be thinking to themselves that they should have won their AL Divisional Series. It was there for the taking. Never had New York been more vulnerable. All Baltimore had to do was hit the ball. That was it. The Orioles did not.
It is hard for anyone to say that the Yankees are better than Baltimore. The teams split their regular season games and were tied at two games apiece in the ALDS. If not for a complete game victory by New York’s C.C. Sabathia, the Orioles would have advanced to face Detroit. After watching the Tigers sweep New York one can’t help but feel Baltimore would have given Detroit a better series.
When a team like the Orioles gets an opportunity to face an opponent not firing on all cylinders they have to take advantage. The Yankees had not been hitting well going into post season play. New York’s Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher, Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez were all struggling. There was no reason to believe that they would break out soon. The Yankees were ripe for the picking.
Baltimore is a young team without much playoff experience. Despite this they played well enough to beat New York. The only thing that was missing was an instinct that senses when an opponent is on the ropes. If the Orioles had it they would have eliminated the Yankees last week.
Instead, they had to watch as New York went meekly in four games to Detroit.
Baltimore let the Yankees off the hook.
The Orioles have to be kicking themselves now.