Back from the left coast and recharged like an iPhone 5, I’m ready to dive right into what is the biggest series to date so far for the Birds of Baltimore.
It starts tonight “In The House Cal Built” as the first place Boston Red Sox and their annoying fan base invade the friendly confines of OPACY for a monster three-game weekend series.
Sitting exactly four games back of the Sox, the Orioles are coming off a post AS break roadie going a respectable 4-3 in their trips thru Arlington, Texas and Kansas City.
Of course, I say respectable because the trip started off with a bang only Jenna Jamison in her prime would know as the O’s swept the Rangers real good. Clutch hitting, combined with some outstanding starting pitching was the Texas recipe that propelled Buck’s Birds to a season high 13 games over .500 as they headed to KC for a 4 game series.
And in game 1, newly acquired Scott Feldman had his best start as an Oriole going a strong 8 innings in the 9-2 thumping of the Royals.
But what transpired over the last three days in the house George Brett built has Orioles Nation on high anxiety alert.
It all started Tuesday night when the Birds could only muster two stinking runs on former Oriole Bruce “don’t call me Wei Yen” Chen. Plenty of opportunities were left on the Kauffman Stadium infield as the O’s had the tying run at 3rd base with NO OUTS. Add in the first half MVP, Chris Davis was batting and everyone in the 410 thought it was as easy as a Billy Cundiff field goal that they would AT least tie the game. But like the former Ravens “kicker”, it wasn’t meant to be as Davis struck out followed by J.J. Hardy’s weak ground out and Henry Uttutia soft ground out to end it.
But no worries, right? The Orioles have been the best team in the AL in coming back after losses to win. And it looked like that tried and true formula was ready to unveil itself as Wei-Yen Chen was down right filthy after giving up a 1st inning HR to Eric Hosmer and the O’s were up 3-1 going into the bottom of the 8th inning. But Hosmer hit another bomb (2-run shot) that tied the game and those gutty, little Royals walked it off in the 9th.
And Thursday night’s “performance” reeked of a lazy, can’t wait to get home team and it showed in the 7-1 loss. Lifeless was one of the countless adjectives that was trending on twitter after the final out was secured. That is why I tweeted “This 4-3 road trip was as mis-leading as Ryan Braun‘s apology. #Orioles”
Listen, I’m not one to fall off a wagon after a couple losses. I’m not even one that uses the phrase “must win” unless it’s a mid/late-September tilt with a division foe you are trailing. That’s the beauty of baseball. Never too high, never too low. But what I will say is that this series AT HOME vs. my most hated team in all of sports means more than your average series and here’s why.
If the Sox and their uncontrollably, annoying “fans” come in and take 2 out of 3, then the Orioles will find themselves five games back, which doesn’t seem like a lot right now. But remember the Rays of Tampa never lose now and at print time poses a 3.5 game lead on the Birds for the Wild Card spot. I’m under the belief that only 2 teams will make it out of this rugged division to the playoffs and I still think (and said so before the season) that the Rays will win the AL East.
So with that fuzzy math, you can see why that every game with the Sox is as important as any.
Head to head record in the division could also be a determining factor for tie situations as well. Of course the Orioles just last month took 3 of 4 from the Sox at the Yards and anything short of taking 2 of 3 could further hinder their chances at becoming that 2nd team to make it out of the AL East. And it’s not like the Sox have been killing it of late going a mediocre 5-5 in their last ten and just lost 2 of 3 (last night rained out) to the aforementioned white-hot Rays.
So let’s fill the Yards this weekend with Orange and Black and send those new Red Sox hats paired with the tight Manny Ramirez free t-shirted donks back up (or down) Interstate 95 with a sour taste in their mouths.
Hell, let’s make that sour taste the orange koolaid variety shall we?