Are the Baltimore Orioles a team of destiny?
Pretty grandiose title this morning if I do say so myself…! Some might look at that and ask, “REALLY, a team of destiny?!…all the Orioles did was win one game.” And that’s very true; however in looking at the circumstances surrounding this game, one might not blame someone for wondering.
Most of Birdland was transported back in time to last September when Manny Machado was laying on the Tropicana Field turf after injuring his knee after his third inning injury last night. Machado sprained his right knee, which incidentally is the knee that was not surgically repaired last year. He’s listed as day-to-day, but we might know more today. However needless to say, the injury did not look good and for a time many fans had to wonder if this was the end of the line for the Baltimore Orioles.
Part of that had to do with the way the game was going at the time. Bud Norris wasn’t exactly on the ball in his start last night, but when you sum it all up he did keep the Orioles in the game. Norris’ line: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 5 K. Norris likes to pitch inside, but he wasn’t getting the inside strike calls last night. Then again, neither was NY starter Chris Capuano. After the two teams traded runs in the first, New York took the lead in the second on a bizarre play. Chase Headly appeared to get caught stealing second, but when Carlos Beltran broke for home and an throw allowed him to score. Headly himself would come around to score as well, and NY had a 3-1 lead.
Following Machado’s injury Adam Jones would rip an RBI-single to left field, cutting New York’s lead to 3-2. This was an Oriole team and a fan base that was about as deflated as deflated looks at this point. Even though the Birds were within one run, what did the future hold? Chris Davis came in to guard the hot corner for Machado, but how long would Machado be out? The rest of the season? Part of next year? There did appear to be an element of unfairness to the whole thing. But these Birds, led by their sly manager Buck Showalter, seemed to be saving their best for last.
Nick Markakis led off the fifth with a single, bringing Machado’s spot in the lineup (in the form of Chris Davis) to the plate. Davis’ struggles at the plate have been well-documented this year, and at this point most of Birdland was still wondering what could have been. But what could have been quickly became what in reality was, as Davis lined a homer onto Eutaw St to give the
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Orioles the lead at 3-2.
At that precise moment in time, the Baltimore Orioles and their fans were quickly reminded that this was a first-place team. Injuries will occur, and guys might have to sit for awhile, but the strong will always survive. Folks, that’s the personification of the great city of Baltimore, and for what it stands.
Adam Jones would add an RBI-double in the last of the seventh, and he would later score on Nelson Cruz‘s two-run homer. The Birds would proceed to bat around in the eighth, with Jonathan Schoop would smack a three-run homer to left, and Chris Davis would score on David Lough‘s infield RBI-single. When the smoke cleared, the Birds had bested NY by the score of 11-3.
Let’s not kid ourselves into thinking that Manny Machado might not be out for awhile. A knee sprain is probably the best news they could have gotten, however alternate arrangements will have to be made in the interim.
But I’m reminded of Buck Showalter’s comment in the wake of Nick Markakis breaking his hand against NY in 2012 – “…we’ve been a sum of the parts team all year.”
This is not to say that Machado will miss the rest of the season either; at this point we just don’t know. The Orioles will just have to find ways to win without him. They didn’t have a problem doing that last night for sure. The series continues tonight with Wei-Yin Chen on the mound, and he’ll be opposed by Shane Greene.
So are these Orioles a “team of destiny?” If they are, we can’t say so right now. But the fact remains that each one of those players in last night’s game weren’t about to let the season start to slip away simply because a great player went down. That’s the type of attitude that separates the men from the boys when it comes to good teams. When all’s said and done perhaps we’ll look back at this moment in time.