BOSTON - The Orioles are going for the sweep today at Fenway Park. They already won the series. They already won the series in New York on the first leg of this trip. But they’re not satisfied.
One of the best quotes to come out of the victorious clubhouse yesterday was provided by center fielder Adam Jones.
What’s been the biggest difference in the Orioles this season?
“Heart, the accountability,” Jones replied. “We play for a manager in (Buck) Showalter who is no-nonsense. If you come out and play hard, he loves you. If you go out and dog it ... Even if you make mistakes, he loves you as long as you play hard. Physical things happen, but you can always be prepared. If we’re prepared, you can’t be mad.
“I think all 35 men in here, including the coaches in here, we’re all prepared coming into the game. That’s all you can really ask for.”
These players have really bonded. They pick each other up. And yes, they do feed off each other.
For instance, there was the seven-run third inning yesterday, which included six straight hits with two outs.
“It started with (Nick) Markakis. He got the two-out hit,” Jones said. “I get another knock, then (Matt) Wieters gets a hit, Then C.D. (Chris Davis) gets a hit, then (Wilson) Betemit, and (Mark) Reynolds gets the three-run home run. It’s just feeding off the guy in front of you, and I think we’re just feeding off everybody.
“If we get Reynolds starting to swing the bat, you never know what could happen, because he could hit seven, eight home runs in a week easily.”
Now, about the way this team has bonded ...
“We just feel like we have a good group of guys here,” Chris Davis said. “We like being around each other. We like going out there and playing every day, and we have a lot of guys that can do a lot of different things and can give us the opportunity to win every day. And we’ve shown that lately.
“The fact that we know we’ll pick each other up says a lot about this team. You go out there and make a mistake, you have eight other guys out there saying, ‘Come on, let’s go, we’ve got your back.’ That goes a long way in a long season.
“There’s a lot of stuff that’s going to happen that one guy can’t handle himself, and that just says a lot about our team.”
Nice guys finish last? Maybe not this year.