Tonight’s game sees the Baltimore Orioles making a rare appearance on Five as they take on the Yankees.Â The game itself will be something of a sideshow though.Â Yankee Stadium has staged many memorable games since itÂ opened in 1923, but this will be the last.Â A pre-game ceremony is set to begin at 00.05.Â Five’s coverage doesn’t start until forty-five minutes later, but that will still leave plenty of time for British fans to soak up what will no doubt be an atmosphere full of emotion.Â First pitch is due to be thrown at around 01.15.Â
The series so far
The Yankees entered this three-game series knowing that even a sweep would still leave them with only a small chance of continuing their stretch of play-off appearances.Â However, the mathematical possibility of making October, accompanied by the historic nature of the series, ensured that the Yankees would be going all out to win all three games against their AL East opponents.Â Two games in and they are on track to do just that.
If the first two games of the series are anything to go by, tonight’s game should be a pitching classic.Â The batters on both sides have struggled to put many runs on the board so far, with just six runs combined being scored.Â The Yanks edged the opener 3-2, while last night’s game was scoreless until the bottom of the ninth inning, when Robinson Cano hit a walk-off single with the bases loaded.
The Orioles send the little-known Chris Waters to the mound for tonight’s historic contest.Â The rookie has made nine starts this season since being called up to the Big Leagues at the beginning of August and his most recent outing was the best of the lot.Â He pitched a complete game against the Blue Jays on Tuesday, holding them scoreless as the Orioles prevailed 1-0.Â The lefty has a standard four-pitch repertoire containing a high-eighties fastball, a decent slider, a change and a curve.Â As the speed of his fastball suggests, he’s a control pitcher rather than a strikeout guy and is trying to make a favourable impression to earn a spot at the back of the O’s 2009 rotation.
For the Yankees, their scheduled starter was chosen a while ago.Â The veteran Andy Pettitte is the deserving choice to be the last Yankee starter at the House that Ruth Built.Â After going 13-9 through his first twenty seven starts, Pettitte has been lumbered with a loss in each of his last five outings and sports an unsightly 6.91 ERA during that period. Whether this is due to bad luck or an ageing pitcher running out of steam down the stretch is up for debate.Â What we do know is that Pettitte has an outstanding record at Yankee Stadium (94-42 with a 3.70 ERA) and if any single occasion could enable him to recapture his best form then this is it.
Tonight’s game will be a wonderful occasion regardless of the result, but let’s hope Yankee Stadium is blessed with a final game befitting of its legendary status.