If you’ve been locked in a cellar for the last couple of weeks, the 1st place Orioles were met with the daunting task of proving themselves against four perennial playoff teams in a stretch of 15 straight games. 16 games later, after their 15-inning marathon comeback win over the Royals last night, our O’s are exactly where they had been: 1st place. It’s been fun. Really fun.
Now the O’s are in the business of continuing their winning ways. Sure, they passed a big test. But for a winning club every single series is magnified in the struggle to keep pace. Last night’s win on the road against a talented Royals team, therefore, felt just as big as that win against CC Sabathia. There’s no longer any tests to pass, hurdles to mount, or monkeys to shake off. It’s simple now: win games, win series.
Since The Loss Column has been around, we haven’t had an opportunity to talk about the Orioles in this manner. In fact, the site dates back to 2006, fresh off the crushing disappointment of the 2005 season, the specter of which will remain until the O’s pass their only real test: a winning season. It’s been so long since we’ve talked about the Orioles winning that it’s hard to find the appropriate attitude to have about this team, lest the fragile karmic balance be disturbed. But there’s one thing about which I’m extremely confident: if this team manages a winning season, Buck Showalter should be an outright lock for Manager of the Year. I think it’s clear that he’s had about as big an impact on a club as is possible for a manager.
With that, I’ll leave you with some telling quotes before Brian Matusz goes for the sweep this afternoon:
- Buck on the Maier-esque home run: “I don’t know if it was somebody in midnight blue or black and orange there. I’ve got an educated guess, so our goal was to play well enough so they can’t get a ticket.” Yup.
- Xavier Avery, confident spark plug, on that same home run: “Hell yeah I had a shot. But they had that tenth man out there helping them out.”
- Adam Jones will make you pay if you heckle him: “People behind me were yelling at me. But after I hit that one, they shut up.”