Friday, April 08, 2005

Yankees-O's: A Laugher Again?

One of the bigger snoozers in baseball is a Yankees-O's series. While the O's find ways to make things difficult for the Sox, the Yanks manage to walk all over them. Is there any reason to think this year may be different?

One thing that's given the Junkees an advantage is the O's horrid pitching. You have the underacheiving Sidney Ponson, and a bunch of kids in Daniel Cabrera, Erik Bedard, etc. In the past there was also the occasional washed-up veteran, like Pat Hentgen.

But last year, the O's got Ray Miller to take over as pitching coach. Tim Kurkjian points out that for the 93 games when Miller was coach last year, the O's had the second-best ERA in the league. And he's been getting some of the kids to work on change-ups, etc. So maybe they can beat the Yankees this year.

And in terms of offense, the O's lineup is as good if not better than the Yanks. Brian Roberts is solid as a leadoff hitter. Melvin Mora, traded by the Mets in '99, is making Steve Phillips look like a bigger moron every day. And then you have all the power bats: Tejada, Palmeiro, Lopez, and of course, Sammy Sosa. And guys like Luis Matos and Larry Bigbie are due for breakout years soon. Unlike the Yankees, the O's don't really have any holes in the lineup.

But ultimately, I think the Yanks will prevail again. I see the O's struggling against Wright, whom most of them haven't seen yet. RJ will be RJ again, and maybe the O's salvage a win against Pavano.

But that doesn't bother me. They won't be facing Baltimore in October.

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