“That’s the first thing I thought about when I walked in, was that playoff series and how fun it was,” Orioles outfielder Nate McLouth said before Friday’s game. “When we lost that Game 5, it was tough, but being however many months removed, I can still kind of look back on it and just think about how fun it was and how much of a great experience it was. But I also remember how it felt to lose.”
McLouth played a pivotal role in Game 5, hitting a towering fly ball down the right-field line in the sixth inning against Yankees ace CC Sabathia. The ball was ruled foul initially, and the umpires upheld the call after a video review. Had the ball been ruled fair, it would have been a home run and tied the game at 1-1. The Orioles lost 3-1.
McLouth, who wasn’t in Friday’s starting lineup against Sabathia, remembers thinking the ball was foul when he saw it from the batter’s box. He said Friday that during the review of the call, Russell Martin, then the Yankees’ catcher, told him he thought the ball was fair. After seeing the replay a few times since, McLouth isn’t sure.
“I’ve seen a couple replays of that since, and I’ve never seen [a call] that close, where you really can’t tell,” he said. “I thought watching it, and I had a perfect view of it, that it was foul. But then watching the replay, it was weird because it was really close. Looking down the first-base line, if the ball never disappears, then more than likely it’s foul because it doesn’t cross the pole. It never disappeared to me, but the more I watched it, it was a high and it was coming down by the foul pole, it was just crazy how close it was.”
Some other items of note:
-- Cuban defector Henry Urrutia is slated to DH in an extended spring training game Saturday. The paperwork needed for him to be assigned to an affiliate is complete, but he’s been nursing a hamstring strain.
-- Top prospect Dylan Bundy (right elbow discomfort) began a throwing progression Thursday.
-- Second baseman Alexi Casilla, who is batting ninth tonight, is 12-for-21 (.571) in his career against Sabathia. Shortstop J.J. Hardy is 6-for-14 (.429) and center fielder Adam Jones is 14-for-41 (.341) with 3 HRs and 10 RBIs against Sabathia.
-- Orioles RHP Miguel Gonzalez is 2-0 with a 2.63 ERA (17 K, 1 BB) in two regular-season starts at Yankee Stadium. Gonzalez also held the Yankees to one earned run over seven innings in Game 3 of last year’s ALDS here.
-- Orioles center fielder Adam Jones is the first player in franchise history – including the St. Louis Browns era – to open two consecutive seasons with hit streaks of nine games or more. He hit safely in the first 10 games of last season.
Here are both teams’ starting lineups for Friday's game:
Nick Markakis RF
Manny Machado 3B
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Chris Davis 1B
J.J. Hardy SS
Nolan Reimold LF
Steve Pearce DH
Alexi Casilla 2B
Miguel Gonzalez RHP