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Orioles beaten at own illogical game in devastating 3-2 loss

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Orioles beaten at own illogical game in devastating 3-2 loss

Posted on 11 October 2012 by Luke Jones

NEW YORK — Sixteen straight wins in extra-inning games.

A 76-0 record when leading after seven innings this season.

Both streaks finished.

All season long, the Orioles have defied logic in completing a 24-game turnaround to win the American League Wild Card to meet the New York Yankees in the Division Series.

Their 3-2 loss in 12 innings at Yankee Stadium was as illogical as anything from which they benefited in the 2012 season. And the crushing defeat leaves them on the verge of elimination as veteran left-hander Joe Saunders will go to the hill to try to keep the Orioles alive in Game 4.

Jim Johnson had faltered only three nights earlier in allowing five runs in the ninth inning of the Orioles’ 7-2 defeat in Game 1. The closer had converted 51 of 54 save opportunities this season to earn his first trip to the All-Star Game. There was no way he’d stumble again with a 3-2 lead in the ninth inning and his work on Monday night reinforced that claim.

He certainly wasn’t supposed to have any trouble against pinch-hitter Raul Ibanez, who Yankees manager Joe Girardi shockingly sent to the plate to bat for the struggling Alex Rodriguez. Lifting the future Hall of Fame third baseman for an admittedly hot-swinging 40-year-old was as bold as any of the curious moves made by the Orioles this season that worked out for no sound reason at all, it seemed.

And Baltimore saw firsthand what it felt like to fall victim to something seeming to be illogical as Ibanez deposited a 1-0 fastball into the right-field seats to tie the game.

“If you make your pitch, it doesn’t really matter,” Johnson said. “That’s what it comes down to. Ibanez, he’s a good low-ball hitter and obviously he has that hook swing. It’s just pitching. You’ve got to pitch down, change speeds and locate.”

The blast meant extra innings, a territory in which the Orioles hadn’t failed since April 11 when they were coming off their second straight loss in extra frames — ironically against the same Yankees — in two nights.

The Baltimore bats remained silent as they had for most of the night before Ibanez stepped to the plate to lead off the bottom of the 12th against left-hander Brian Matusz.

Lightning couldn’t strike twice, could it? Certainly not in extra innings where the Orioles have been king?

Ibanez crushed a Matusz fastball into the right-field seats on the first pitch of the inning, sending the Yankees home happy and up 2-1 in the five-game series, pushing the Orioles to the brink of elimination.

It was difficult to believe as the Orioles discussed in the clubhouse what had just happened to them moments earlier.

“You never want to experience a situation like that,” Matusz said. “Whether it’s a game-winning walk-off home run or in the first inning. The ultimate goal is to go out there and throw strikes and put up zeros. It’s not a good feeling, but you have to stay positive and move forward.”

As much as fans will point to the failures of Johnson and Matusz in not being able to subdue Ibanez’s bat, the Orioles’ inability to generate much of anything offensively doomed their opportunity to take a series lead heading into Game 4. New York pitching retired 21 of 22 Orioles hitters at one point Wednesday night and the club has plated just seven runs in the first three games of the series.

Their two All-Star hitters, Adam Jones and Matt Wieters, are by no means the only ones not hitting, but the pair has combined for just three hits in their first 33 postseason at-bats counting the wild card play-in game against the Texas Rangers. A fielding miscue by Jones that led to a run-scoring triple by Derek Jeter certainly didn’t help matters, either.

The Orioles lineup did little — rookies Ryan Flaherty and Manny Machado hit solo homers to account for the offensive production — to support the dominating performance from Miguel Gonzalez, who struck out eight and allowed one run in seven innings of work.

The offense simply hasn’t been good enough, and it’s a major reason why the Orioles find their backs to the wall. And the poor production placed them in a position for Girardi to send Ibanez instead of Rodriguez to the plate with a chance to tie the game with one swing.

Even with Rodriguez’s immense struggles, it didn’t seem to make sense to bench the highest paid player in the game, regardless of his struggles.

But it worked.

As a result, the Orioles now face the colossal challenge of winning two straight win-or-go-home games at Yankee Stadium to advance to the AL Championship Series. We’ll see if they’re ready to answer the bell in the way they have countless times this season, albeit with stakes that were never so high.

“It’s pretty much win or go home tomorrow, isn’t it?” Jones said. “There’s pretty much no turning back. We’re going to have the same attitude, the same mentality we’ve had since the first day of spring training. We’re going to have fun, let it fly, and live with the results.”

 

 

 

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Hammel to start potential Game 5 and other Game 4 pre-game notes

Posted on 10 October 2012 by Luke Jones

(Update: Joe Saunders was named the Game 4 starter following the 3-2 loss to the Yankees on Wednesday night.)

NEW YORK — As the Orioles prepared to play Game 3 of the American League Division Series against the New York Yankees on Wednesday night, their starting pitcher for Game 4 remained a mystery.

Manager Buck Showalter will wait until after Game 3 to decide between left-hander Joe Saunders and right-hander Chris Tillman to make Thursday’s start at Yankee Stadium. Saunders would be working on five days’ rest while Tillman hasn’t pitched since last Wednesday against Tampa Bay in the final game of the regular season.

“We were kind of hoping you would tell us,” said Saunders, drawing laughter from the media gathered prior to Game 3. “Because we don’t know yet. Whoever it is, me or Chris, we’re going to go out there and do our job.”

To the surprise of nearly everyone outside the organization, Saunders pitched 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball against the Texas Rangers in the AL Wild Card game last Friday to help land the Orioles in the Division Series. Saunders made one start against the Yankees in the regular season, allowing two earned runs in 5 1/3 innings of work at Camden Yards on Sept. 8.

In six career starts against New York, the 31-year-old Saunders is 3-1 with a 5.82 earned run average in 34 innings.

Along with Game 3 starter Miguel Gonzalez, Tillman was one of the biggest surprises of the second half and finished the regular season with a 9-3 record and a 2.93 ERA.

In two starts against the Yankees this season, Tillman was 1-0 with a 6.75 ERA in eight innings of work. His start at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 2 was cut short after three innings due to elbow stiffness.

Most consider Tillman to be the favorite to receive the ball as long as neither pitcher is required to pitch in relief behind Gonzalez on Wednesday night. However, the challenge of facing lefties such as Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson make the lefty Saunders a more appealing option despite his overall numbers being inferior to Tillman’s this season.

“I think you’ve just got to treat it like any other start,” Tillman said. “You can’t put too much pressure on yourself. It’s not fair to yourself [and] not fair to the team.”

In other news, Jason Hammel will receive the ball for Game 5 against Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia if necessary on Friday. The two faced off in Game 1, which resulted in a 7-2 win for New York.

Showalter was asked about the decision in August to move left-hander Brian Matusz to the bullpen, who provided a major lift in the absence of then-injured southpaw Troy Patton and with the struggles of power arm Pedro Strop. The Baltimore manager revealed Matusz will likely return to a starting role upon reporting to spring training in Sarasota next February.

“Compared to the options we had and the trade market and some other things, we thought Brian could do as well if not better than some of the others coming in,” Showalter said about the decision. “Brian will more than likely go into the spring as a starter and then we think he can go back and do this [if needed] but he needs to get his innings. It was also a carrot for him to come back to the big leagues, so there was a lot of want-to there.”

NOTES: The Orioles were 6-3 in the Bronx this season, outscoring the Yankees by a 49-32 margin. … Their six wins in New York were their highest season total since winning eight in 1976. Baltimore won all three series in Yankee Stadium in the same year for the first time since 1976. … Making their third appearance in the ALDS, the Orioles are 3-1 on the road with two of those wins coming in Seattle in 1997 and one in Cleveland in 1996. The Orioles won each of those series. … Center fielder Adam Jones was announced as a candidate for the 2012 Hank Aaron Award on Wednesday afternoon. It recognizes the top offensive performers in each league. Fan voting opened at MLB.com Wednesday and runs through Oct. 16. Winners will be announced during the World Series.

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Orioles announce ALDS Game 3 lineup

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Orioles announce ALDS Game 3 lineup

Posted on 10 October 2012 by WNST Staff

Orioles Lineup:

LF Nate McLouth

SS JJ Hardy

RF Chris Davis

CF Adam Jones

C Matt Wieters

DH Jim Thome

1B Mark Reynolds

2B Ryan Flaherty

3B Manny Machado

 

-P Miguel Gonzalez (9-4, 3.25)

 

Yankees Lineup

SS Derek Jeter

LF Ichiro Suzuki

DH Alex Rodriguez

2B Robinson Cano

RF Nick Swisher

1B Mark Teixeira

CF Curtis Granderson

C Russell Martin

3B Eric Chavez

 

-P Hiroki Kuroda (16-11, 3.32)

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Predictions of Jones, Wieters playing October baseball in New York come true

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Predictions of Jones, Wieters playing October baseball in New York come true

Posted on 09 October 2012 by Luke Jones

There was a time not long ago when many predicted Adam Jones and Matt Wieters would eventually be playing postseason baseball at Yankee Stadium.

The only difference in that prophecy was the Orioles’ center fielder and catcher would be wearing the pinstripes of the New York Yankees after moving on from Baltimore in free agency in a few years. Instead, after an improbable 93-win season, the Orioles head to New York tied 1-1 with Game 3 of the American League Division Series set for Wednesday night.

To survive and advance, the Orioles need only to repeat what they did on three separate occasions at Yankee Stadium in the regular season. Winning two of three means Baltimore advances to play either the Detroit Tigers or the Oakland Athletics in the AL Championship Series.

The Orioles were reminded of their 6-3 record at Yankee Stadium often after their 3-2 victory in Game 2 Monday night, but there was no hubris in describing the task in front of them. The club knows it won’t be easy.

“Everything’s heightened now,” Jones said. “We’ve just got to go there [and] win the inning. It’s not [simply saying], ‘Oh, we need to win Game 3.’ It’s not about that. We need to go out and win every inning of Game 3 first.”

Predictably, the Orioles are viewed as the underdog in this series against the playoff-tested Yankees. It’s understandable when remembering Jones and Wieters were still in grade school the last time Baltimore found itself in this position.

But don’t tell the Orioles they’re the young shepherd boy carrying a sling and a stone into battle against the powerful giant in the Bronx. The analogy doesn’t apply in their minds after finishing only two games behind the Yankees in the AL East and tying the season series at 9-9 this year.

“The David and Goliath or whatever you’re talking about, that’s not something that’s a mentality for us in there,” manager Buck Showalter said. “There are no flukes in baseball. There are no Cinderellas. You play too many games. You play 162 games. And that mentality might go for a short span, but it doesn’t play for very long, believe me.”

The success at Yankee Stadium came at different points in the season as the Orioles finished off three-game series wins in early May, early August and early September. Baltimore outscored New York in those nine games by a 49-32 margin.

The Orioles acknowledged those results in the regular season don’t mean anything now as they walk into a hostile environment to deal with the Yankees’ mystique that can leave opponents intimidated against a club that’s won 27 World Series titles. But the quiet confidence expressed by many players following Game 2 convinced anyone who’s followed the club all season that they won’t be intimidated.

“We played well there, but we haven’t played postseason baseball there,” Jones said. “That’s going to be a totally different atmosphere. Their fans are going to be crazy. Just like our whole stadium was packed full of orange and black, there’s going to be that dark blue. I know there’s going to be some orange and black up there, but you know the scenarios are going to change. It’s going to be their home-field advantage, but we’ve got to go there and try to silence that crowd as much as we can.”

Hearing Jones and Wieters talk about a playoff trip to Yankee Stadium has been surreal for anyone who dared dream of the Orioles finding themselves in the postseason over the last few years. Many feared Jones and Wieters would be long gone by the time the club would be in a position to play October baseball.

Of course, much of that trepidation disappeared earlier this season when Jones inked a six-year, $85.5 million contract extension. Wieters isn’t eligible for free agency until after the 2015 season, but their long-term commitment to Jones has reaffirmed the organization’s commitment to keeping their young talent in Baltimore.

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Orioles-Yankees lineups for Game 2 of ALDS

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Orioles-Yankees lineups for Game 2 of ALDS

Posted on 08 October 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — The Orioles will send left-hander Wei-Yin Chen to the mound in hopes of evening the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees at one game apiece.

Here are Monday night’s lineups as the Orioles face off against Yankees veteran left-hander Andy Pettitte for the first time since Sept. 19, 2010. The Baltimore lineup surprisingly includes left-handed designated hitter Jim Thome, who hasn’t faced southpaw pitching very often this season.

The 42-year-old is 5-for-28 against left-handed pitching this season but does have three home runs.

BALTIMORE
LF Nate McLouth
SS J.J. Hardy
RF Chris Davis
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
1B Mark Reynolds
DH Jim Thome
3B Manny Machado
2B Robert Andino

SP Wei-Yin Chen (12-11, 4.02 ERA)

NEW YORK
SS Derek Jeter
LF Ichiro Suzuki
3B Alex Rodriguez
2B Robinson Cano
RF Nick Swisher
1B Mark Teixeira
C Russell Martin
CF Curtis Granderson
DH Eduardo Nunez

SP Andy Pettitte (5-4, 2.87 ERA)

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I just took a vicious gut punch and can’t wait to do it again

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I just took a vicious gut punch and can’t wait to do it again

Posted on 08 October 2012 by Glenn Clark

There is no 15-7-0 this week. I’m a man with priorities.

My priorities Sunday were quite simple. I wanted to get through pre-game and post-game shows, enjoy a Ravens win and get to Oriole Park at Camden Yards as quickly as possible to watch a playoff game with my family.

At the end of the night, those priorities were realities even if the day didn’t play out exactly the way we had hoped it would.

Sunday night was everything baseball in Baltimore should be. It was an incredible gathering of friends and family for a vitally important civic event in a town where family names have baseball connections. We’re familiar with these types of nights in Baltimore, we just know them as “football games”. We’ve waited not so patiently for another one on the baseball diamond for a decade and a half.

It finally came Sunday night and it was absolutely as intense and electric and meaningful as any lifelong (or even Johnny-come-lately) Baltimore Orioles fan could have imagined it would be.

You know what’s amazing? I stood in the outfield for two hours during a rain delay and never heard a single complaint. Not about the lines for beer, not about the weather itself, not about the massive crowds making it difficult to maneuver or find space to stand comfortably.

Hell, we had waited 15 years. What’s another couple of hours?

After the New York Yankees were introduced to a less than partial crowd, there was a break before introducing the home team to their fans. The break might have been mere seconds, but it felt like time stood still. I remember the first time being alone with a girl at 16 years old, but I don’t remember my anticipation ever being as great as it was in those moments. The opportunity to show appreciation for ending one of the most miserable runs a fan base has experienced was a moment not soon to be forgotten.

That moment was followed up by a ceremonial first pitch thrown by Perry Hall High School shooting victim Daniel Borowy and guidance counselor Jesse Wasmer, the man who stepped in and defined heroism in fending off the shooter that August morning. As a PHHS grad who has remained very close to the school in recent years (and who both went to school with and grew up down the street from Jesse to boot), I will admit that I lost it a bit during the moment. Even those without Gators ties could certainly revel in the significance of the occasion. THIS is truly a representation of what Orioles baseball should be. The most important things happening in our community should be tied to, recognized by and celebrated with the franchise that has remained in our city since 1954.

This was a moment that far transcended sports.

As Game 1 of the ALDS went along, it felt like every pitch was the most important ever thrown in the history of the sport. Each tantalizing inch around the plate was crucial, with fans hanging on every centimeter afforded to CC Sabathia but taken away from Jason Hammel. When the Birds were able to break through and plate two runs off the bat of Nate McLouth in the 3rd inning the staff at OPACY could have set off actual fireworks and they might have gone unnoticed by a crowd that could only be described as bat-sh*t bonkers.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Steve Johnson’s health factors into decision to keep him off roster

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Steve Johnson’s health factors into decision to keep him off roster

Posted on 07 October 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Manager Buck Showalter decided to sleep on it before finalizing his 25-man roster for the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees.

Even then, he admitted it was a very difficult process to leave several good arms off the roster, including pitchers Steve Johnson, Jake Arrieta, and Zach Britton.

“It’s hard to handicap what’s more particularly [difficult] — this guy or that guy — they’re all hard,” Showalter said. “We put a lot of thought with keeping mind you have to be cautious if you have an issue physically with somebody.”

The decision to leave the local product Johnson off the roster was especially difficult with his contributions down the stretch as a starter filling in for Game 1 starter Jason Hammel. Making four starts and appearing in 12 games this season, Johnson went 4-0 with a 2.11 earned run average in 38 1/3 innings.

However, the rookie injured his left knee after landing awkwardly from taking a comebacker hit by Boston’s Dustin Pedroia on Sept. 29. Johnson deemed himself ready to go this week and would have likely started a potential division tiebreaker against the Yankees on Thursday had the Orioles finished in a tie at the end of the regular season, but some uncertainty remained in the mind of Showalter.

“As good as we think Steve could feel, there’s some unknown there with the knee,” Showalter said. “But, we’re going to keep him here. We’re going to send probably a couple guys down to Sarasota to the instructional league to be in that camp there, but we’ll decide that after the game. Every one of those guys, as I told them today, has to have the mindset that they’re playing tomorrow, because they could be.”

Johnson will remain on call should there be a health issue with Hammel or another pitcher on the 25-man roster while a few others such as Britton and outfielder Xavier Avery will be sent to Sarasota to compete in the instructional league to stay sharp in case they’re needed later in the postseason.

For Sunday night’s game, Miguel Gonzalez and Chris Tillman will be available out of the bullpen if necessary. Gonzalez is tentatively slated to start Game 3 at Yankee Stadium.

The Orioles elected to keep Tommy Hunter on the 25-man roster as a power right-handed arm and potential long reliever. He has pitched effectively in relief, posting a 0.71 ERA out of the bullpen in 12 2/3 innings covering 10 September appearances.

“If we presented good options as a starter, we felt like Tommy could be a real contributor as a reliever, too,” Showalter said. “He’s certainly done that since he’s pitched out of the pen. He can give us some length out of there if we need it. The off day plays into it a lot.”

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Orioles, Yankees ALDS Game 1 rosters, lineups

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Orioles, Yankees ALDS Game 1 rosters, lineups

Posted on 07 October 2012 by WNST Staff

Here is the Baltimore Orioles’ lineup for Game of the American League Division Series against the New York Yankees…

Nate McLouth LF
J.J. Hardy SS
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Mark Reynolds 1B
Manny Machado 3B
Chris Davis RF
Lew Ford DH
Robert Andino 2B

Jason Hammel SP

Here is the Orioles’ full 25 man ALDS roster… 

INFIELDERS/OUTFIELDERS/DH (11)

Robert Andino INF

Endy Chavez OF

Chris Davis RF

Ryan Flaherty INF

Lew Ford OF

JJ Hardy SS

Adam Jones CF

Manny Machado 3B

Nate McLouth OF

Mark Reynolds 1B

Jim Thome DH

CATCHERS (2)

Taylor Teagarden CA

Matt Wieters CA

PITCHERS (12)

Luis Ayala RHP

Wei-Yin Chen LHP

Miguel Gonzalez RHP

Jason Hammel RHP

Tommy Hunter RHP

Jim Johnson RHP

Brian Matusz LHP

Darren O’Day RHP

Troy Patton LHP

Joe Saunders LHP

Pedro Strop RHP

Chris Tillman RHP

Here is the Yankees’ lineup for Game 1…

Derek Jeter SS
Ichiro Suzuki LF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Curtis Granderson CF
Russell Martin C
Raul Ibanez DH

C.C. Sabathia SP

Here is the Yankees’ full 25 man ALDS roster…

PITCHERS
Chamberlain, Joba
Hughes, Phil
Kuroda, Hiroki
Logan, Boone
Lowe, Derek
Pettitte, Andy
Phelps, David
Rapada, Clay
Robertson, David
Sabathia, CC
Soriano, Rafael

CATCHERS
Martin, Russell
Stewart, Chris

INFIELDERS
Cano, Robinson
Chavez, Eric
Jeter, Derek
Nix, Jayson
Nunez, Eduardo
Rodriguez, Alex
Teixeira, Mark

OUTFIELDERS
Gardner, Brett
Granderson, Curtis
Ibanez, Raul
Suzuki, Ichiro
Swisher, Nick

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Perry Hall guidance counselor to throw out first pitch for Game 1 of ALDS

Posted on 07 October 2012 by WNST Staff

BALTIMORE — The opening game of the American League Division Series will begin with a salute to a local hero.

Sunday’s ceremonial first pitch will be thrown by Perry Hall High School guidance counselor Jesse Wasmer, who will be accompanied by Perry Hall student Daniel Borowy, in what’s sure to be an emotional scene.

On Aug. 27, after Borowy was shot in the back by another student in the school cafeteria, Wasmer responded quickly and bravely to tackle the gunman, preventing further injury to anyone else.

First pitch is scheduled for 6:15 p.m.

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Hammel confident in taking ball for Game 1 of ALDS

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Hammel confident in taking ball for Game 1 of ALDS

Posted on 06 October 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — The last time we saw Orioles starting pitcher Jason Hammel on the mound at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, he was limping off the field with severe disappointment after reinjuring his right knee in his second start back from surgery.

He’ll now take the mound Sunday night in Baltimore’s first home playoff game in 15 years as the Orioles welcome the New York Yankees to town for Game 1 of the American League Division Series.

So, did Hammel ever expect to find himself in this position after hurting his knee again nearly a month ago?

“Honestly, no,” he said. “At that point, I was very disappointed with the way it felt. It was exactly the same feeling. We were a lot slower moving it along this time, very careful with it. … I’m confident that the knee will not be an issue.”

Following that outing on Sept. 11, it appeared all but certain the Orioles’ best pitcher in the first half of the season had thrown his last pitch of the 2012 season. Hammel took his time working his way back into shape, explaining how doctors and the training staff directed him to take an extra week after feeling he was 100 percent again.

After throwing a simulated game in Florida on Monday and a bullpen session Friday in Arlington, Hammel was tabbed the starter in the series opener by manager Buck Showalter just a few minutes before meeting with the media prior to Saturday’s Division Series workout at Camden Yards. He’ll sport a bulky brace on his right knee, but Hammel said it doesn’t restrict his movement despite resembling one a football player might wear.

Hammel wasn’t afforded an opportunity to pitch in a major league game since tweaking his right knee early last month, but the Orioles have expressed supreme confidence in him based on his ability to keep his arm strong while being sidelined after undergoing knee surgery in mid-July. He finished the regular season with an 8-6 mark and a 3.43 earned run average in 20 starts.

The 30-year-old now pitches in one of the biggest games of his career after only making three starts since the All-Star break, with two of those being cut short due to injury. Showalter believes Hammel has finally reached a level of confidence in which he won’t be thinking about the knee and will be focused on a much bigger test Sunday.

“It’s as much mentally, knowing [his health] shouldn’t be a challenge for him,” said Showalter, who confirmed Hammel will not be on a restricted pitch count. “The challenge will be the Yankees, and they’ll let him know how he’s pitching. We’re excited about getting ‘Hamm’ back.”

The Orioles are expressing confidence in Hammel that he will resemble the pitcher they saw in the first half of the season, which landed him on the “Final Vote” list for the 2012 All-Star Game.

Hammel carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning of his first start with the Orioles on April 8 and pitched a one-hit shutout on June 16 against the Atlanta Braves. The right-hander thrived in the first half of the season despite dealing with a loose piece of cartilage in his right knee that eventually forced him to have the surgical procedure.

Now deeming himself fully healthy, Hammel is hoping to recapture the magic he enjoyed early on that made everyone forget about the unpopular reaction to the Jeremy Guthrie trade that brought the former Colorado Rockies pitcher to Baltimore in early February. But it won’t be easy against the Yankees, who Hammel held to seven earned runs in 16 innings covering three starts this season.

“Jason’s a competitor,” catcher Matt Wieters said. “When he had his time off and came back for his last start, his stuff was right there and his competitive spirit was there until he did have the setback. I know the knee feels good and when he gets out there, that competitive spirit’s going to get going and he’s going to be fine.”

It’s that same competitive spirit employed by the Orioles all season on their way to a 93-69 regular season and a win over the Texas Rangers in the first ever AL Wild Card game.

And much like a plethora of other moves and decisions made by Showalter and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette, the choice to start Hammel appears unconventional and risky, given the infrequent work he’s received since early July.

“Obviously, I want to be a part of this,” Hammel said. “The guys have done an outstanding job of getting us to this point. I’ve only pitched for half of the season. It shows a lot of dedication from a lot of guys to go ahead and put me out there since I haven’t pitched in a long time. But, I’m a professional and I take care of what I need to do to get ready.

“We’re ready to go.”

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