So the 2010 fall classic is now set…Giants vs. Rangers. I don’t think that anybody, least of all fans of the teams involved, would have picked this one at the beginning of the season. First off, I think it’s great for the game of baseball to have these two teams in the world series. The Philadelphia Phillies have been in it the past two years, and the New York Yankees…well, enough said. Certainly fans of those two teams are less than thrilled with the matchup in the world series, however not many people around the league are mourning too loudly for them.
The Orioles had the opprotunity to play both of these teams in 2010. They see the Rangers of course several times a year due to the fact that they’re al AL team. The inaugural series between the two teams in 2010 was a short two-game set deep in the heart of Texas. Unfortunately, Texas won both of them, although they were very different games. The Rangers beat the O’s 4-3 the first night, and 13-7 the second, hammering Brian Matusz’s injured moxie (at the time). In June the Orioles traveled out to San Francisco to play a three-game interleague set with the Giants. Ultimately, SF took two-of-three, however the one game that the Orioles won came behind a dominating performance by Jake Arrieta, my paisan. Arrieta held the would-be NL champs to one run over three hits, striking out three. Perhaps the most impressive aspect was that he only walked two batters over seven innings. (One of Arrieta’s struggles in the minors was walks.) While losing two-of-three isn’t a desired result, the one game that the Orioles won boded well for the future, as the future of the team definitely involves Jake Arrieta.
As the Orioles plugged along in the season, they found themselves back in Texas on the final weekend before the all-star break (this time for four games). Wouldn’t you know it, the Rangers decided to trade for Cliff Lee just before the series started, and they announced that he would start the Saturday night cap. Just the Orioles’ luck. The O’s went out and won the first two games of the series with the pen getting the win in both games (David Hernandez and Jason Berken). To top it off, not only was Cliff Lee going to make his inaugural Texas start against the Orioles, but the O’s had to call up Chris Tillman from the minors to start against Lee. However, the O’s took an immediate lead off of Corey Patterson’s first inning double, and Miguel Tejada’s RBI-single. Caesar Izturis followed up a Nick Markakis homer with one of his own (his annual home run), and Tillman was dominant. Ultimately, the O’s won 6-1 that night, and Jake Arrieta followed that up the next day by beating the Rangers 4-1 to complete a four-game sweep.
With this in mind, I’m sure that Texas wanted a degree of revenge when they came to the yard in August. If you can call a series split revenge, then I suppose they got it. But not before the Orioles beat Cliff Lee around again, with Brad Bergesen beating him 8-6 on that Saturday afternoon before a national television audience on FOX. The fact that the Orioles faced both world series teams means relatively little. However, they battled with both of these teams; they didn’t always come out on top, but they battled. The fact is that in all sports, only one team celebrates at the end of the season. So teams like the Orioles are in the same boat with the Yankees and Phillies. For what it’s worth, I’m pulling for Texas. Ron Washington is a former Oriole, and I felt that he was unecessarily pulled through the mud this year when news of his drug and alcohol addictions were made public. I can respect a person that knows he has a problem, and is doing everything in his power to fix it; I don’t feel that you should have to attest to your mistakes years after they’re made. However if the Giants win, I won’t feel too badly as former Oriole Aubrey Huff plays for San Francisco. With that said, if Texas wins it all this year it’ll be due in large part to Cliff Lee. And when they think back to Lee’s first game with them, they’ll have no choice but to remember the weekend where they wer swept by those Baltimore Orioles!