In these dreary late-season days you take optimism wherever you can find it. Thankfully, the Orioles provided an easy source during their weekend series with the Yankees.
We're not quite to "Wait 'Til Next Year" territory; more like "Wait a Couple of Years." Nevertheless, a series win over the Yankees - incredibly, the Orioles' first road series win this season against an A.L. East opponent - is good no matter when it comes.
The Yankees will always spend their way into contention, which never makes a "we're on the way up while they're on the way down" comparison in accurate. Still, it's encouraging to see our youth outperform their age.
On Friday, our young ace, Chris Tillman, matched a soon-to-retire veteran who has given the Orioles fits throughout his career, Andy Pettitte, to help the O's win.
As I wrote in a previous post, Pettitte has become the second all-time winningest pitcher against the Birds in large part because our own pitching has been so poor during the bulk of the left-hander's career. Tillman won't necessarily return the favor to the Yankees with his win total against them, but he will block the path of future Bronx pitchers looking to match Pettitte's numbers against the Birds.
Saturday's game was even more encouraging as Brian Matusz stared down A.J. Burnett for seven innings and hardly blinked. Matusz, a rookie on the rise, gave up one earned run while Burnett, a pricey free-agent acquisition seemingly on a sharp decline (just Google "Burnett struggles" for evidence), gave up six earned runs.
Granted, it's still pretty muddy around these parts, but at least for one weekend there was some joy in Mudville as well.