A walk-off win and a contract agreement with their first-round draft pick.
What will the Orioles do for an encore?
A 2 hour, 20 minute game would be a nice gesture - ending with another victory, of course.
They’ve posted seven at home under manager Buck Showalter, and four have been of the walk-off variety. Adam Jones accounted for two of them with a single into left field and last night’s bunt to third.
For the sake of accuracy, it wasn’t a suicide squeeze. Nick Markakis didn’t break for home until Jones made contact.
Mark Hendrickson referred to last night’s win as a “team effort,” and he’s right. Plenty of credit to go around, including the left-hander, who got out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the sixth.
“A lot of different guys contributed, which is good,” he said. “There was some resilience by us tonight, especially against David (Aardsma) when he came in with the lead in the 10th. We still battled and found a way to win.
“It’s nice to win, but I think anybody who’s been watching us since Buck’s been here sees we’ve been kind of resilient, we’ve stayed in games and had chances to win. Ultimately, over the course of the season that’s what we’ve got to do.
“Just the way we battle. There were opportunities there. We’ve been in ballgames. Even in some of the games we’ve lost, we’ve been in them, and that’s what we’ve got to do. Just give ourselves a chance to win. Through the course of the season, you are going to have your blowouts here and there, but for the most part, to have a game like this and find a way to win, it just adds confidence to everybody in here. We just keep working and building off this.”
Asked what’s been the difference since Showalter arrived, Hendrickson replied, “There was some accountability that was given to us as players and I think that shows in our mental preparation. I think paying attention to the minor details. The focus is there. I think the concentration is there and I think you are seeing that on a lot of little things we were not doing as a team early in the season. And that’s probably been the biggest change for us since he’s taken over, just guys really focusing on little things.”
“No,” he replied, “I think it’s just you bring somebody in who has had some experience, who has had some success at this level. That’s instant respect. I think there must be some fear factor involved in that, which is good because sometimes when you have a young team, that’s what you need. And obviously that’s showed in our play. That’s been a positive and we are going to try to build off it each game.”
Accountability. Focus. Concentration. Paying attention to the details.
I thought that stuff was included in the spring training handbook, but I won’t dwell on it. As long as it finally sunk in.
Maybe that should be the theme for the 2011 Orioles: Fear Factor.
Showalter can hire Joe Rogan as bench coach.
Nice job by the bullpen, with the exception of Alfredo Simon.
Not to dump on the guy, but I can’t imagine that Showalter is leaning on the dugout railing and thinking, “That’s my closer next year.”
Should we dismiss the idea of re-signing Koji Uehara and giving him the job?
In his last 13 appearances, Uehara has allowed one earned run in 16 innings for a 0.56 ERA, with two walks and 19 strikeouts.
Michael Gonzalez hasn’t allowed any of his 10 inherited runners to score this season, and his fastball is touching 96 mph. He’s a completely different pitcher from the one we saw in Sarasota - the one who kept insisting that his shoulder was fine.
Small World Dept: I just hired a guy to paint my daughter’s bedroom, and his son, Jeff Poff, played baseball for Orioles scout Dean Albany.
I’m holding him accountable, too.
I’m confident that he’ll maintain focus and concentrate on the little details.