Baltimore Orioles: Forever Young


First off, after Delmon Young’s heroics yesterday I tweeted that what we had seen in from the Baltimore Orioles and their fans over the past two games represented everything that was right with sports. We saw a city that was squarely behind it’s team, perhaps in a manner that it hadn’t done in years. And we not only saw a team that embraced the city back, but one that was determined to win despite any odds.

Wei-Yin Chen pitched a couple of solid innings, but started to struggle the second time through the order. Chen’s line: 3.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 0 BB, 3 K. Chen mowed Detroit down the first time through the order, but five consecutive hits in the fourth added to his early exits. And given Detroit’s ability to hit southpaws, Chen probably knew going in that he’d be on a short leash. However, he did have an early 2-0 lead on Nick Markakis’ two-run homer in the last of the third. An instant replay review was inconclusive.

Victor Martinez’s RBI-single cut that lead to 2-1 in the fourth, however Martinez would later score on J.D. Martinez’s two-run homer. Nick Castellanos would follow with a solo shot of his own, and Detroit suddenly had chased Chen and led the Orioles 5-2. However in a move that foreshadowed the ending, J.J. Hardy would keep the Orioles alive with an RBI-single to cut the lead to one.

Kevin Gausman relieved Chen after his departure, and in his post season debut he did a great service to the Orioles and their bullpen by holding them over through the middle innings. The lone run he gave up was an RBI-double to Victor Martinez. However while at the time that looked to be an insurance run for Detroit (who led 6-3 at that point), it also came with a caveat. Famously slow runner Miguel Cabrera tried to score from second base as well, as he was gunned down at home plate. Adam Jones relayed the ball into Jonathan Schoop, who nailed Cabrera; that play swayed the momentum of the game, and perhaps the series.

With one out in the last of the eighth Adam Jones was hit by a pitch, which sent an angry sentiment through the Camden faithful. Following a Nelson Cruz single, Steve Pearce’s RBI-single scored Jones and cut Detroit’s lead to 6-4. That brought J.J. Hardy to the plate, and with the game potentially hanging in the balance he walked on five pitches.

The passion at the yard was at a near frenzy by then, and the 48K plus in attendance could sense that something magic was about to happen as Buck Showalter looked at Delmon Young down the bench and said “grab a bat.” 

Young’s success in the post season is well documented, which is partially why Showalter asked him to pinch-hit for Ryan Flaherty. However I’m not sure anyone in the crowd or in the Orioles’ dugout expected Young to get a first-pitch slider and for him to jump on it right away. In a moment that could only be called the inverse of the closing moments of Casey at the bat, Delmon Young sent a deep liner

Courtesy of Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

past the left fielder J.D. Martinez all the way to the wall.

It was obvious from the get-go that the game was going to be tied. However as Hardy rounded the bag third base coach Bobby Dickerson made perhaps his best decision of the season and sent him home. The throw home was on line, but as Hardy slid into home plate and kicked up a cloud of dirt, he was emphatically called safe by home plate umpire Scott Barry.

Without being overly melodramatic, it was a scene out of a storybook. And quite frankly, it was legendary. I’m not sure that anyone who was even in the neighborhood of Camden Yards yesterday had ever heard it that loud. Delmon Young has been a role player and a pinch hitter for most of the season. But needless to say he cemented his name into Orioles’ post season history with what he did yesterday. We won’t know for sure where this moment stands in Orioles lore until it’s put into the context of the full season. However needless to say, it was pretty special.

Zach Britton somehow managed to tune out the Camden faithful with a cool head in the wake of that moment and closed out Detroit 1-2-3 in the ninth. The Orioles now head to Detroit with a 2-0 series lead, and they’ll work out on the field at Comerica Park at 2 PM this afternoon. Game three of course will be at 3:45 PM on Sunday in Detroit. If the series has to go to game four, it would be at 12:07 PM on Monay – IF the Kansas City/Anaheim series is still on. (If that series has ended the O’s would play at 1:37 PM.) If the series has to come back to Baltimore for game five, it would be at 5:37 PM. (If the Kansas City series is complete it would shift to 8:07 PM.)

So bearing that in mind, I have a rare Saturday off – probably my first since prior to Spring Training. No better way to spend it than watching some college football, starting with the Terps at noon today!