O's late-inning efforts fit the bill against the Sox
Orioles 6, Red Sox 3
After 56 games the 2008 Orioles have the same overall record as the 2007 edition of the Birds: 27-29. However, numbers can lie, and they do, especially in baseball.
The truth about this year's team is that they're anything but a retread of last year's unit, as Monday night's late-innings, comeback victory over the visiting Red Sox, another evening worth remembering against one of the division's Evil Empires, showed.
There's a new No. 10 in town this season, and each of his big hits, like last night's bases-clearing double, offers hope for the future. There's a revamped bullpen that keeps the team in games right when the wheels are ready to fall off, allowing the go-down-fighting Birds a chance to rally; for the second straight series, the O's pen induced a bases-loaded double play to minimize late-inning damage. And there's a lighthearted, nothing-to-lose spirit that suggests these guys are actually having fun playing the game.
Has the decade-long question of whether fans of this constantly "rebuilding" team would rather watch a patchwork of veteran free agents or a core of young talent finally been answered?
If you must use numbers to make your case for the 2008 Birds, the best place to look might be the team's performance in one-run games. The O's have 12 wins this year in those situations against eight losses; last year's team put together just 13 victories all season in one-run games and suffered 31 losses. Monday night's game didn't come down to one run. It did, however, come down to one at-bat.
Said Adam Jones: "He threw a good pitch up and in [when it was] 2-1. I just laid off of it and was patient. It wasn't me that was under pressure; it was him."
[Image source: The Baltimore Sun. Click on link for original.]