Yankees to meet Orioles in ALDS

10/04/2012 11:55 PM ET
By Jon Lane

If you spent time in Vegas in early spring and placed a nothing-to-lose bet on the Baltimore Orioles to make their first playoff appearance in 15 seasons -- each of which resulted in no more than 79 wins -- by the time you're reading this you probably cashed in, lit up a cigar and braced for a ALDS showdown between two division rivals that are about as even as any teams in Major League Baseball.

In seasons past, the Orioles were patsies to not only the New York Yankees, but to the rest of the American League. It took awhile, but once Sheriff Buck Showalter flew into Charm City, the mood around the O’s from top to bottom did a complete 180-degree turn. The fruits of both Showalter’s and general manager Dan Duquette’s work ripened as part of a 93-win 2012 season during which many expected the O’s to dry up and blow away.

That never happened. The Orioles went a combined 37-18 in August and September while scaring the dickens out of the Yankees and their first-place standing. On the field the teams were even during the regular season, which sets up a compelling best-of-five American League Division Series that will be the first step in proving whether the Yankees have enough left, or if the Orioles are truly, unequivocally for real.

A snap-shot look at the regular season matchup and respective team leaders:

Yankees: 95-67
Orioles: 93-69

Season Series: An even 9-9 split.

Memorable Game
September 9: Curtis Granderson came off the bench to hit his 35th home run and drive in five runs, as the Yankees whalloped the Orioles 13-3 to regain sole possession of first place and earn a split of the season series. After alternating wins and losses, New York finished the season on a 17-6 run.

Old Friends
Buck Showalter (managed Yankees from 1992-1995)
Luis Ayala (played for the Yankees in 2011)

Team leaders
Yankees: Derek Jeter (.316)
Orioles: Adam Jones (.287)

Home Runs
Yankees: Curtis Granderson (43)
Orioles: Chris Davis (33)

Runs Batted In
Yankees: Curtis Granderson (106)
Orioles: Chris Davis (85)


Yankees: Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes (16)
Orioles: Wei-Yin Chen (12)

Yankees: Hiroki Kuroda (3.32)
Orioles: Wei-Yin Chen (4.02)

Yankees: CC Sabathia (197)
Orioles: Wei-Yin Chen (168)

Yankees: Rafael Soriano (42)
Orioles: Jim Johnson (51)

Follow Jon Lane on Twitter: @JonLaneNYC comments