Super pitching and even temperament carry Orioles to within a game of ALCS

It has been interesting to see the national media somewhat surprised at how low-key the Orioles are. They are getting a lot of questions about being subdued as a team and not getting too high or too low.

They simply have been that way all year. If fans could have joined Baltimore reporters in that clubhouse after games at times this year, you truly wouldn’t know whether they’d won or lost. I think it has become a team trait and a team strength. It helps them shake off tough losses like the two they’ve had in this series.

It helps win do-or-die games like the two they’ve won in this postseason. I hope I’ve stopped getting questions about the moment being too big for this team.

Sure, some hitters might be pressing, but they are pressing because they want to win so badly. For themselves and their fans. They have that want-to that Buck Showalter often talks about.

The only time I have seen this team let loose this year was after the game at Texas on Friday night. Should they win tonight, they’d probably do it again. But guess what? Any celebration will have a time limit. The American League Championship Series would start Saturday in Detroit. Should the Orioles win tonight, their charter flight awaits.

Somehow I think they could handle it. So could the Orioles fans around the world and back home.

Here are some stats from this series:

* The Orioles’ team ERA is 2.36.
* Their starters’ ERA is 1.82.
* The Yankees’ team average is just .216 with 13 runs scored.
* The Yankees are just 6-for-28 (.214) with runners in scoring position on the series and 1-for-12 (.083) the last two games.
* The Orioles have scored just nine runs with a team average of only .197 in the series.
* The Orioles are batting .194 (6-for-31) with runners in scoring position in the series, going 1-for-16 the last two games.

Here is an amazing stat: The two teams have played 43 innings over four games and been separated by zero or one run in 41 of those innings.

In five postseason games, the O’s team ERA is 2.12 and the starters’ ERA is 1.78. Four times in the postseason, the O’s starter has given up just one earned run. The other time, he gave up two.

So tremendous pitching has gotten the Orioles to within one win of taking out the Yankees and playing for a berth in the World Series.

By the way, the Orioles and Yankees split 18 games in the regular season. They’ve split four games in this series. There were 10 times in September when the Orioles tied the Yankees for first place. But they never moved ahead of them. They would with a win today.

Game 5 begins in a few hours.

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