Baltimore Orioles: Matt Wieters makes Orioles Magic come alive


For the Baltimore Orioles and Matt Wieters, nobody cares about the fact that you went 0-for-4 with RISP if you win. Nobody’s talking about the fact that you left nine men on base this morning – because last night’s game ended in a victory. Heck, this morning’s narrative isn’t really about manufacturing runs or anything of the like…mainly because of the manner in which last night’s game ended.

The term Orioles Magic of course came to be in the late 1970’s, and it referenced how the O’s always seemed to have a flair for the dramatic in their last at-bat at Memorial Stadium. Orioles fans all know the song, although over time it simply became a generic thing about attending games on 33rd St and eventually Oriole Park at Camden Yards. However needless to say, there’s been something about the Buck-O’s which has made the song and the term resonate again. It’s special, because it normally refers to special moments. 

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Call to the Pen

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  • Kevin Gausman might well have pitched the best game of his professional career for the Orioles last night. Gausman’s line: 7.2 IP, 6 H, 0 R 1 BB, 5 K. You can’t pitch better than Gausman did last night – you just can’t. He mowed down Atlanta hitters let and right, and the sad thing is that in the long run he had nothing to show for it in terms of being in line to pick up the win.

    This game of course featured the return of Nick Markakis to Baltimore as a visiting player, and that was agnowledged by both the fans and Markakis. As he strode to the plate to lead off the game, the Camden faithful rose to it’s feet in a standing ovation. Markakis, ever the humble gentleman, eventually stepped out of the batters box and doffed his cap to the fans. Each time Markakis would come to bat during the game, he’d get a nice hand – a trend I expect to continue all week. And it’s well deserved.

    The Orioles took a scoreless tie into the ninth inning with Atlanta last night, and Zach Britton was summoned from the ‘pen in the top of the ninth. After recording one out, Adonis Garcia came to the plate and promptly gave Atlanta a 1-0 lead with a solo homer. When there’s no score, all it takes is one mistake by a reliever and suddenly someone’s in line to win. Britton’s sinker didn’t sink properly on one pitch, and we saw the result.

    However in the Orioles’ home yard they bat last – home team bats last, remember?! Adam Jones got on base in the last of the ninth with an excuse me swinging bunt. I don’t think he meant to hit the ball up the third base line, and Atlanta certainly wasn’t expecting it. However he placed it just perfectly enough to where Atlanta closer (and former Oriole) Jim Johnson couldn’t throw him out at first base. The Orioles ended up with runners at the corners following a Wieters single, and they tied the game on a J.J. Hardy sac fly-RBI.

    Again folks, home team bats last! Unfortunately for fans, media, and players, the game didn’t ust end in the tenth inning. However we did see Atlanta manager Freddie Garcia do somethin curious, a stunt which he also pulled in the eighth inning: he IBB’d Chris Davis with a runner on second. When he did it in the eighth I felt is was warranted given that it didn’t totally mean the game at that point. However I thought it was curious in the tenth given that Machado hits-for-average much better than Davis. All the Orioles needed at that point was a base hit as opposed to a home run – but both times it worked in Atlanta’s favor.

    Whenever a game goes to extras people start wondering when it’s eventually going to end. Are we in for a marathon game of some sort? Is someone eventually going to score? The good news for the Orioles is that once again they get their last at-bat at home. And with Matt Wieters coming up to lead off the eleventh, the Birds still had a fighthing chance.

    On a 1-0 count Wieters decided it was over. And as the ball cut sharply through

    Courtesy of Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

    the humid Baltimore night, on it’s back were the legions of Orioles fans who through the years had followed this team through thick and a lot of thin. All of those people of course remember the magical ride on which this team took them last year. And the fact is that they weren’t ready to simply regress into the lean years of the past quite yet.

    It was gone as soon as it came off the bat. Wieters knew it, the fans knew it, Nick Markakis knew it, and the Orioles knew it. And as the Orioles celebrated a walk off victory, perhaps a ray of hope shined down from Baltimore’s night sky onto it’s Orioles. Is this season over? Not a chance.

    The series continues tonight at Camden Yards, with Ublado Jimenez on the mound for the Birds. This is kind of a key start for Jimenez, who’s had two tough outings in a row since the break. Jimenez wil be opposed by Atlanta’s Julio Teheran, with game time being set for just after 7 PM.

    Next: Baltimore Orioles: The return of Nick Markakis

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