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The Yankees and Orioles are set to battle in a winner-take-all Game 5 on Friday.
When: Friday, October 12 at 5 p.m. ET on TBS. Announcers: Ernie Johnson, John Smoltz, Cal Ripken Jr. and Craig Sager.
The winner-take-all game will begin right where it started: with a duel between Hammel and Sabathia. During Game 1, Hammel held New York to two runs in 5⅔ innings, while Sabathia hurled 8⅔ innings of two-run ball. New York took that game with an explosive ninth inning, but their bats have run cold since then; the Bombers have managed just six runs and have not been able to convert with runners in scoring position.
Adam Jones could be a thorn in Sabathia's side; the center fielder has hit .311/.367/.600 against the southpaw with three home runs in 49 career plate appearances. J.J. Hardy could also pose a threat, as he has hit .381/.381/.714 off Sabathia with a home run.
However, one of the Yankees' coldest bats could warm up on a date with Hammel. Alex Rodriguez, who has been lifted for a pinch-hitter twice in two games, has hit .333/.448/.833 against the righty with four home runs in 29 plate appearances. Ichiro Suzuki could also be pleased to face Hammel, as he has hit .533/.563/.600 against him in 16 plate appearances.
The winner of this game goes on to face the Tigers in the ALCS. If the Yankees win, Game 1 will be Saturday in New York; if the Orioles win, Game 1 will be Saturday in Detroit.