So anyone have any nails left after the last two nights?
This playoff race got serious in a hurry. After last night’s game, I found myself remembering a quote from Nate McLouth. It came in the extreme quiet of the Orioles clubhouse after they had lost for the third night in a row to the Yankees last week. It felt like the lowest point of the O’s season and McLouth’s comments then didn’t seem so significant.
“We still have the full schedule to play out and a lot can change in two or three days,” McLouth said. “You could be looking at a totally different picture. Yeah, it’s tough, but what are you going to do? Get over it as quick as you can and be ready to roll tomorrow. We have to get past this one quick.”
Since that game, the Orioles are 4-1 and things have changed pretty quickly. Make no mistake, the O’s would not be in the playoffs if the season ended today. But when we all woke up last Friday morning, it felt like the season had ended.
Now the Orioles are one game out of the second wild card spot. For a while, they were in it because teams ahead of them stumbled. But the last two nights, they won at Fenway Park. They won two games that had an October feel. They beat a red-hot team. They looked good enough to make the playoffs and we have not been able to say that for a while.
Chris Davis may have helped whatever MVP chances he has over the last two nights. The voters will probably remember a game-tying homer Tuesday night and a game-winning two-run single last night. Clutch, indeed.
Kevin Gausman showed us a glimpse of his impressive future when he blew away the Red Sox in the seventh and eighth innings, striking out five of the first six batters in the highest-scoring lineup in baseball. The heat, the change and a good slider were all there. He overmatched the Red Sox and it was, frankly, thrilling to watch.
Yes, Adam Jones needs to get it going. He has now gone a season-long eight games without an RBI. But don’t count him out. Some did that with Matt Wieters and he has sure come up big the last two nights.
These last two nights have felt a bit like it did watching the 2012 Orioles late in the year. You got the feeling someone would make a play - at bat, in the field or on the mound - to get a win. And they did, in all three phases.
The Orioles have been counted out by a few fans many times. But here they are with 11 games to go still a threat to make postseason for the second straight year.
This team has character. Bring on the final 11 games.
How you feeling now, Birdland?