clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Game 11: Orioles (6-4) @ White Sox (5-4), 8:10pm

New, comments
This is what it looks like when an outfielder makes a catch. You may have forgotten after seeing the White Sox in the 10th last night.  Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-US PRESSWIRE
This is what it looks like when an outfielder makes a catch. You may have forgotten after seeing the White Sox in the 10th last night. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-US PRESSWIRE

All it took was one improbable comeback victory for the stories to start being written. After last night's victory, Adam Jones told reporters: "A couple years ago, we were down 4-2 on the road, we were probably losing 4-2. It's a different team, we're a different breed right now." He may even be right, though it seems to me that fans have been telling ourselves variations of, "Last year they woulda lost this game!" in the beginning of most recent seasons, all of which have ended in 90+ losses. Well, I guess in 2010 we didn't say that, because the Orioles started out 2-16. 2010 was when they really were losing all those games.

There's not much question that the Orioles are a different team. Only six players who logged significant playing time in 2010 are still on the roster. Is there something in the difference that suggests the Orioles are a better team? Of course, it's too early to make any definitive judgments. Ten games against anyone is not meaningful as a sample size, especially not when 40% of those games have been against AL Central teams that aren't Detroit. Still, preliminary indications are encouraging, which is honestly better than I expected to see at any point this year. Probably better than you expected too, unless you are dan o'hare.

Does last night's victory have any carryover effect for today or the rest of the season? The classic Earl Weaver saying is that momentum is the next day's starting pitcher. Wei-Yin Chen has made one start in MLB. And even if you get good momentum from your next day's starter, sometimes it's still not enough. The day after the epic Birdland Day 11-10 comeback victory against Boston in 2009 saw Brad Bergesen go 8 innings and only give up one run, but the Orioles blew a four-run lead in the 9th and ultimately lost 6-5 in 11 innings. Residual good feelings were quickly snuffed out.

Maybe momentum is only as good as the next day's baseball team, and as it turns out, that's the same baseball team that took the field yesterday, with a couple of adjustments, like playing Nolan Reimold, and not having Chris Davis play against a left-handed pitcher, since John Danks is the lefty starter for the White Sox. Turns out Davis actually is playing, though. Given that the other players who might stand at first base are Wilson Betemit (playing third, making Mark Reynolds the DH) and Nick Johnson (looking punchless), I guess that must be done.

A famous Yogi Berra-ism is his comment that 90% of baseball is half-mental. Whatever percent is mental, perhaps Jones is right, that there is some boost in the clubhouse. Maybe it will mean nothing, but maybe it will mean something that the team believes in themselves after an improbable comeback. Kind of like the baseball version of the placebo effect. Stranger things have happened. You and I have seen some of them in the not-too-distant past.


Lineup

BALTIMORE ORIOLES CHICAGO WHITE SOX
Nolan Reimold - LF Alejandro De Aza - CF
J.J. Hardy - SS Brent Morel - 3B
Nick Markakis - RF Adam Dunn - DH
Adam Jones - CF Paul Konerko - 1B
Matt Wieters - C A.J. Pierzynski - C
Mark Reynolds - DH Alex Rios - RF
Wilson Betemit - 3B Alexei Ramirez - SS
Chris Davis - 1B Dayan Viciedo - LF
Robert Andino - 2B Gordon Beckham - 2B