Now that I've taken my message board beating for picking the Texas Rangers to defeat the Orioles in the wild-card game, no one seriously believes that I would have the guts to pick the Yankees to win the Division Series.
And I don't.
Not only did I pick the Orioles to win the series, I picked them to win it in four games, just to leave myself a day to rest before heading to Oakland or Detroit for the American League Championship Series.
The oddsmakers have installed the Yankees as a fairly solid favorite, but they had the Orioles as the longest of longshots to win the American League pennant back in the spring, so what do they know? The statistical information that helps determine the betting lines has borne no relation to the on-field performance of the Orioles all year, so there's no reason to imbue it with much credibility now.
Here's my totally unscientific rationale: The Orioles hitters have been at their best against the better pitchers in the league, particularly Game 1 starter CC Sabathia, who has given up at least four earned runs in each of his three starts against them. He is 0-1 with a 6.38 ERA. And, finally, the O's have their pitching rotation lined with with everyone on ample rest.
Still, the best-of-five series probably will come down to the 2012 version of Oriole Magic vs. the Yankees' irritating history of getting the big hit or break at just the right time. If there is any justice in the baseball world, the Orioles – who are on the side of all that's good and pure in the world – will prevail and make a big mess of the visitors clubhouse at Yankee Stadium.