The Orioles have won four in a row. Do I expect them to run the table under Buck Showalter? Of course not. Could they hit the road and fall flat on their faces. Of course they could.
That said, I’m perplexed by the number of fans who can’t simply enjoy the moment. This season has been a slow-motion car wreck. The team’s playing much better baseball and winning games in exciting fashion. Why not enjoy it while it lasts instead of bracing for the next downward turn and refusing to get too excited over a modest winning streak?
Nobody’s organizing a parade down Pratt St. or covering the lockers in plastic every night, but we’ve been given a rare opportunity to have some fun in 2010. And we’ve earned it after all the suffering. I say, grab it with gusto.
For whatever reason, I’m reminded of the M*A*S*H episode where the surgeons wanted to throw a party for the orphans and Henry Blake initially balked at the idea - I’m guessing that umpire Bob Davidson called it - because once it ended and the wounded arrived, it would be “one big belly drop.” Well, we’re big boys and girls here. We’ll deal with the next run of futility when it happens.
I’m not going to dissect the resurgence and break down every reason why it might be a mirage. I’m not going to obsess over how it could just be the honeymoon period, how the Angels were struggling and the Orioles caught them at the right time - as if the Orioles were on their A game at that time. And I’m not leaving this party early simply because I know everybody will eventually go home. Someone else will have to pee on the charcoal and ruin the cookout. It won’t be me.
What’s the point of complaining when they lose and complaining when they win?
That’s my complaint. Do what you want, of course, but I’ll revel in the moment and be thankful that it’s finally here, for however long it stays.
I pointed out last night how Nick Markakis’ hustle while going from first to third on Luke Scott’s single to center, without even drawing a throw, keyed last night’s win. Here’s another factor that might have gone unnoticed: Koji Uehara’s scoreless eighth.
Uehara blanked the White Sox on one hit, an infield single when he was late getting to first base. He struck out the first two batters he faced, giving him five in a row dating back to his previous outing.
Uehara has allowed one run in 9 2/3 innings in the second half, with one walk and 12 strikeouts. His ERA’s down to 2.41.
“The All-Star break helped, for one thing,” he said through your favorite interpreter, Jiwan Bang. “I was able to rest and that was good.”
Uehara tires easily, as we know. He looked a little gassed after racing over to first base on two straight plays. On the second, Ty Wigginton ran to the bag without flipping the ball to Uehara, and manager Buck Showalter joked about it later. Wigginton wasn’t taking any chances.
The Orioles didn’t get their $10 million worth out of Uehara after opening that door to the Asian market, and he can leave as a free agent after the season. It didn’t lock behind him. But he’s become a valuable part of their bullpen, as they envisioned back in spring training.
Does he feel like he has something to prove?
“Not in particular,” he said. “I haven’t thought about it. What I have thought about is all I have to do is show (Showalter) 100 percent every time.”
Uehara was a starter and closer in Japan. He doesn’t have a defined role here, but it hasn’t been a huge adjustment.
“All I’m thinking about is prepare for every game so I’ll be able to pitch,” he said.
He’s able to pitch because he’s avoiding the disabled list and handling the heat.
Maybe it won’t last, but I’m enjoying the moment. That’s the way I roll these days.