The Orioles lost their 51st game tonight in their 70th game, and their winning percentage sits at .271. If they play at this rate over the rest of the season, they'll end at 44-118. By a quick count, I have written recaps for 39 of the 69 games played (tonight will make 40). 11 of the 40 have been wins, which is a .275 winning %. So I'm pretty much even with their record. I don't want to write about a loss tonight. I'm on pace to write 92 recaps, only 25 of which will be wins. We have plenty of time for losses. Tonight I want to talk about Nick Markakis, because he is really the only player on this team who is keeping me from going completely insane.
Nick entered the game hitting .302/.391/.430. That OBP is 9th best in the AL (16th in the majors). 22 doubles? 4th in the AL, 6th in the ML. And his 39 walks are 7th in the AL, 17th in the ML.
In a season that is miserable to watch, miserable to talk about, and which is making us all question the future even more than ever, Nick Markakis doesn't let us down. The players are miserable and pressing, being led by a lame duck manager that refuses to even try to lead. But Nick doesn't let that affect his performance, not at all.
Tonight, in a game marked with inconsistent starting pitching, horrible pitching from the bullpen (except you, Jason Berken!), defensive miscues, and squandered offensive opportunities, Nick Markakis just went out and did his job. He hit his 23rd double of the year in the 6th inning, moved to third on Ty Wigginton's fly ball, and was stranded.
After watching Miguel Tejada botch at play at third (he didn't get an error on the play, but he didn't make the play when he could have) and Scott Moore allow a run score by throwing away a double play ball, Nick made a very good catch up against the wall to end the 8th and stop the damage. And he came up to bat in the bottom of the inning with Miguel Tejada on first and promptly singled him to third. Then, for good measure, he stole second. Tejada would score on a sacrifice fly, but Nick was again stranded.
It's easy to understand why the players on this team aren't motivated. It has to be miserable for them to go out there every day. But it hasn't affected Nick, even though we all know he's just as frustrated as everyone else, maybe even more. It's possible that Nick is re-thinking or regretting signing that extension, but I'm sure glad he did.
I'm sorry I didn't talk about tonight's game. If you want to read about the game, I suggest going to Roar From 34 and reading along with the live blogging he did from Camden Yards. It's much more interesting than the actual game was.