Ornithologically CorrectLoyal readers know that I'm a Yankee fan. As a group, Red Sox fans and the many Yankee fans that drop by to read my work here are intimately familiar with the AL East. The fact is, with the exception of a few odd years, the Sox and the Yanks have been the class of the division and have seen little in the way of stiff competition from the other clubs since the early 90's. The Jays occasionally jump up to surprise, but the Orioles and the Rays have been laughing stocks for longer than I care to remember right now.
As a Yankee fan, I see the Orioles as a sad case of poor investments coupled with mind-bogglingly unconscious management. The owner is in denial, the parade of decision-makers haven't made very good decisions, and the farm is dry. Whenever the Bombers head to Camden they are greeted by droves of Yankee fans in the stands. This happens in a lot of markets with respect to both the Yankees and the Sox, but nowhere does the phenomenon hold truer than Baltimore in recent years.
This is a once proud franchise that can boast a number of history's greatest teams and many of its most celebrated players. These days that is easy to forget as good teams travel to the Inner Harbor to enjoy crab cakes, beer, and scoring obscene amounts of runs against the O's. The Red Sox are in town to do some damage and try to stretch the lead in the division a bit after seeing the Yankees gain ground while feasting on the runts of the litter in the AL. Matsuzaka gets Bedard in what promises to be the most compelling game of the series.
Despite playing in one of the best hitters parks in the sport, the Orioles are an abysmal offensive club. The OBP is fair, but the Orioles don't hit for power and are generally only able to score runs by scrapping via the single or walk and the stolen base. Essentially, the Baltimore boys are a station to station ballclub. The only threat that these birds offer Daisuke is the potential for a big day on the basepaths. Steals are a problem for Matsuzaka and baserunners have seemed to bother him all year long. That said, I just don't see the Orioles having enough to beat our hero. Here's my prediction:
There is the potential here for a stellar game, however. I think there is an 8 inning, double digit K, shutout performance lurking in this situation, but I'll stick with my prediction above. Go Matsuzaka, go!