Really! He does – just ask Nick Markakis.
The Orioles broke tonight. After bending for 168 games, they broke. After catching the Yankees over and over throughout the season and playoffs, finally in game 23 against New York, they broke. After an unbelievable season of statistical anomalies that will be talked about for decades – of one-run game wins and extra-inning victories – they finally broke 3-1.
More accurately CC Sabathia broke them. Certainly he was the difference maker for the Yankees versus the Orioles. Demonstrating an ability to pitch with pinpoint accuracy (except curiously on one 0-2 pitch against Markakis), he simply proved to be too much to beat.
It is often said that baseball is a game of inches. Indeed it is. While trailing 1-0, a long ball from Nate McLouth was ruled to have just missed the foul pole in right field. It may well have knicked the pole, but certainly an inch toward fair would have made for a different ruling.
That about sums up where the Orioles are at relative to the Yankees – almost even. Not a day late and certainly not a Buck short … just off by an inch here and there.
The Orioles had a great chance in the 8th inning – scoring their one run and loading the bases with one out. But a clutch strikeout of McLouth and a weak groundout by J.J. Hardy sealed the deal for the monster on the mound.
There can be no denying, the Orioles are a very good team; and the Yankees are at this moment a very good team plus one inch. Wanna bet on the future and which team is going which direction? Would you take the one who has developed a plethora of young talents and team chemistry, or the one with the #5 all-time home run hitter benched in the 5th game of the playoffs?
This Orioles team and this baseball season does not owe anything to any of us who are Orioles fans. We have been blessed and thrilled beyond any of our expectations.
To BirdsWatcher readers: Don’t go away over the winter. Domenic and I will be writing regularly throughout the off-season to reflect on the incredible year now completed, and we’ll anticipate and speculate about moves over the winter. Before long, FanFest will signal the thawing of the Maryland tundra, and Spring Training will renew all our hopes at a level beyond anything reasonable at any time for many years.
I believe we are not even out of the first inning of this new era of Orioles Magic. This is going to be a great ride, so stick with us here at BirdsWatcher.com.
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