Jim Thome is the voice of experience in the Orioles clubhouse. When it comes to playoff games, that is certainly true. He has played in 67 in his career. The rest of the players in the O’s clubhouse had a total of 58 going into Game 1 of the American League Division Series.
Thome was asked how crucial tonight’s game is as the Orioles try to even this series.
“We just play one game at a time. We don’t look two games ahead,” Thome said. “They’ve got a very good ball club, we know that and so do we. When you have a series like this, there is a sense of urgency and hopefully we come back (today) and get a W.”
Thome said the Orioles would not panic or be down after Sunday’s loss.
“No, our guys are always very positive,” he said. “When you get into playoff baseball, you know there are breaks that fall one way or another. They got the break and kept battling. For us, the same way. We just need to stay focused and come back tomorrow.”
In 16 career playoff series, Thome has an average of just .218 but has hit 17 homers with 37 RBIs over 220 at-bats. We’ll see if he gets to start against a lefty in Andy Pettitte tonight. He is 10-for-38 with two homers and six career RBIs with a .791 OPS against Pettitte.
As for the ninth inning last night, Thome said the Orioles remain firmly behind their teammate Jim Johnson and there is a simple reason for that.
“His resume,” Thome said. “What he has done. He’s a guy we feel very confident in giving the ball to. His track record, his year proves it. We like him on the mound and we’ll continue to give him the ball and I’m sure everybody in here feels the same way.”
Here is a stat that may be encouraging to O’s fans: When the Yankees win Game 1 of a Division Series, they actually have a losing record in those series. The Yankees are now 12-6 in ALDS Game 1’s. Of the previous 11 times they’ve won Game 1, they won the series five times and lost six.
Wei-Yin Chen gets the start for the Orioles tonight. Click here to see what he said about pitching tonight.