The Orioles won their 90th game today.
90 wins. Let that sink in for a moment.
With a decisive, dominant, deafening win over the Boston Red Sox tonight the 2012 Orioles became the 19th Orioles team in Baltimore history to attain a 90 win season; they lowered their magic number to three and remained one game behind the New York Yankees for the AL East title.
Tonight was just amazing.
Sitting in the pressbox is rather indescribable. When you are there you are at the game but you are focused, you are working. There is no cheering and you get a very focused on what you are doing. You see the game a different way, the vantage point is second-to-none allowing you to see the shifts and movements of everyone on the field. The big thing is, you can’t cheer.
That was hard for me tonight.
When Ryan Flaherty hit a grand slam in the bottom of the first I looked directly at one of the pressbox attendants. He knows that I am not a journalist by any means. I do not have the steely resolve of the professionals around me. We both smiled and I raised my hand, shaking as if to say: “I am about to explode with excitement right now.”
The Orioles went on to embarrass the Red Sox with a 9-1 drubbing. Chris Tillman pitched eight innings of enlightened baseball, retiring the last 14 batters he faced and only allowing two walks after the leadoff single that started the top of the first. The Red Sox looked dead, lifeless and they seemed to sleepwalk through the game. When Bobb Valentine removed Aaron Cook after the first inning he walked very slowly to the mound a man who knows his fate.
As exciting and amazing as the win was, the Orioles work is still not done. The Rays lost tonight, but the Yankees and Angels both won. The Yankees however may have lost something greater as second baseman Robinson Cano was hit on the hand and will have x-rays in the morning. It was an ugly injury that was reminiscent of the injury that would sideline Nick Markakis for the rest of regular season. IF the Yankees lose Cano for the next few games then their lineup looks a lot more pedestrian than before and it could have massive implications for the playoffs. The Orioles are currently still sitting in a very strong position and are three games away from sewing up a playoff spot.
Tomorrow, however, that all goes away as the Orioles will go ot and play another against these Boston Red Sox. Tonight’s game was a remarkable spectacle, nine runs with 12 hits all without Matt Wieters in the lineup who had the day off to be with his wife to attend the birth of his son. Moreover, nine runs and 12 hits with no Wieters nor Adam Jones – who was the only Oriole to go hittless tonight. Yes, tonight’s game was amazing – but work is not done and the Orioles, though comfortable are far from safe, nothing is clenched and the team needs to keep going.
Five more games, they need only three.
It continues tomorrow.