Baltimore: Where the Yankees Go to Get Well

The bats come to life after slow weekend in Toronto

By Josh Alper
|  Wednesday, Jun 9, 2010  |  Updated 10:30 AM EDT
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Baltimore: Where the Yankees Go to Get Well

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Baltimore doesn't really register as the kind of town to visit if you're looking to get well. Perhaps that's just because of too much time spent with Omar, Marlo and the rest of the gang from "The Wire" -- who you can play paintball with this weekend if the mood strikes you -- but it certainly doesn't feel like the kind of spa destination one visits when they want to rejuvenate themselves after a rough stretch.

It seemed to work out okay for Mark Teixeira, though. He's from Maryland, which probably helps him feel comfortable, but the real reason is that facing the Orioles has been a surefire tonic for everyone in the major leagues this season. Teixeira, the subject of much conversation over the last few days, busted out with three hits, including a homer, on Tuesday night and the rest of the Yankee bats also woke up upon returning to the U.S. in a 12-7 victory.

One game isn't enough to call off all the dogs, especially one game against the Orioles, but it was certainly nice to see Tex add a couple of walks to those three hits. He spent all three games in Toronto chasing bad pitches well out of the zone but didn't bail out pitchers who needed the help on Tuesday and it paid off for him.

The only bad news to come out of the night is that there are now only eight games left against the Orioles this season. It would be nice if the Yankees could follow up every losing spell with a few games against the cuddly birds of the Northeast Corridor. They're now 9-1 against the O's this season, 27-21 against everyone else, and last week's sweep in the Bronx wound up costing Dave Trembley his job as Baltimore's manager.  

These indignities are making it awfully hard to watch the Orioles. They were long one of the first-tier teams in baseball, larded with bold-faced names like Ripken, Palmer and Robinson (both Brooks and Frank), and Camden Yards was so successful when it opened that most new stadiums simply stole its blueprint rather than come up with an idea of their own. The park was always full, it was always loud and beating the Orioles in three straight games there in the 1996 ALCS launched a run of success that leads directly to the current team.

Now, though, Camden is mostly empty and the Orioles are awful. Thanks to Stephen Strasburg, they aren't even the top dog in their own backyard anymore. It's a sad fall from grace.

Pity the Orioles, but don't sneer at the Yankees fattening up on them. Beating up on the weaker entries is what good teams do and it wouldn't be the least bit surprising to see their success against the O's pay off when they hand out playoff berths come Game 162.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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