The Prophet of Birdland spoke, and the Orioles delivered: 90 wins. It seemed impossible in March. I am not sure that it wasn't impossible. But as we all know, the players we saw in March are not the players we are seeing in September, and many have had roles shifted around. All seem to have bought in. The party continues. The magic number is 3 with 5 to play, but most importantly, there is a chance to return to a tie in the division with a win tonight.
No big deal, the Orioles only have to face Felix Doubront, who hasn't been good this year. Well, a 4.91 ERA is not good at all, but then again, his most recent start was against these Orioles on Sunday, as we have probably all tried to block out from our minds. It was a game in which Doubront struck out 11 Orioles batters in 7 innings and only gave up four hits.
So, does that mean he's no longer due to have a good outing, or does that mean he's suddenly learned how to pitch - or at least his current style of pitching is precisely calibrated to destroy the hopes of Orioles fans? Or maybe the O's hitters have learned something from the previous game against him? Look, if you believe that last one, you haven't seen these guys this year. Even when they win they never seem to figure most of these guys out.
Holding the line for the Orioles will be Steve Johnson. The Son of Dave deserved a chance to start and he showed why in his last start. Now he gets another. Five low-scoring innings won't win any Cy Youngs but it ought to be enough to get the O's a win tonight.
The energy will certainly be there in Camden Yards. The game is sold out into oblivion, the combination of the Brooks Robinson statue night, a winning Orioles team, a Red Sox series, and the fact that it's the penultimate home game of the season having made everyone and their brother want to be there. Many of them are there. Some are not. Whether you are following this game from the stadium or from elsewhere in the world, here's hoping we will all be seeing an Orioles win.
It's still kind of hard to believe that we're here, but we are. There's just a little bit farther to go, and hopefully they can take one more step closer to the postseason tonight.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||BOSTON RED SOX|
|Nate McLouth - LF||Jacoby Ellsbury - CF|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Scott Podsednik - LF|
|Adam Jones - CF||Dustin Pedroia - 2B|
|Matt Wieters - C||Cody Ross - RF|
|Chris Davis - RF||Mauro Gomez - 1B|
|Mark Reynolds - 1B||Jarrod Saltalamacchia - C|
|Manny Machado - 3B||Ryan Lavarnway - DH|
|Lew Ford - DH||Pedro Ciriaco - 3B|
|Robert Andino - 2B||Mike Aviles - SS|