Written by Wally Booth
If you would have asked me back on April 1st, on September 16th, if you had to choose one, would you rather have a Orioles or Ravens win on that day. The answer would have been simple. I would have said the Ravens because it would mean much more to them. Move forward to today. I came in to today with this thought. Man, the Orioles have to win this game today. Not only to keep pace with the Yanks and A's but for a confidence and momentum builder into Seattle as well. In a perfect world both teams would have won but today the more important game belonged to the Baltimore Orioles for a change in September. It was a gift for the Baltimore sports fans as the O's played at 4:05, right after the Ravens game. The Ravens lost a tough one today. There was a terrible pass interference called on Jacoby Jones bringing back what would have been a seal the deal touchdown. Instead it is called back and the Ravens settle for a field goal. The Eagles march down the field and score a game winning touchdown. Under normal circumstances this really brings down the rest of the day. Not today. There was another big game to watch in Baltimore at 4:00pm. I am not talking about the Jets-Steelers game or the Redskins-Rams game. I am talking about the Orioles game 3 finale at Oakland. This was the game I turned on immediately after the Ravens loss today. Yes it sucked that the Ravens lost but the Orioles had a much more important game to play today.
The Orioles started Randy Wolf today. His first start since coming over from the Brewers.Yes, I questioned this decision to start not only Wolf but the 3rd left handed pitcher in a row against a team that hits left handed pitching very well. That is why Buck is there and I am writing this. Wolf did not start out well giving up two runs early on a bomb off the bat of Josh Reddick. Wolf settled down after this and gave the O's four solid innings. He was pulled due to a pitch count. It was up to the bullpen after this. The O's turned to Hunter, Matusz, O'Day, Strop, and Johnson to close it out. Pedro struggled again. He just does not have the command he had early on. He needs to find that command going down the stretch. He went 2/3 of an inning giving up 2 hits, a walk, and an earned run and left with the tying run on deck handing it over to Johnson to close it out. Buck was not taking any chances.
The O's offense came alive today pounding out 13 hits and scoring 9 runs. Matt Wieters had 2 home runs today, Machado went 1 for 5 but it was a big hit driving in a run. The big surprise is Endy Chavez getting 4 hits, and drawing a walk, on base all 5 times and scoring twice. He has been a good addition since his return to the team. That has been the story this year. It is always somebody that you do not expect to that comes through for this team. If Chavez can hit like this over the last couple weeks of the season it would be a huge lift for this team. They are really going by the Ravens philosophy of the next man up this year. They have dealt with injuries all year long and somebody just comes in and fills the role. The resilience of this team is just unbelievable.
The O's now move on to Seattle for another big 3 game series. It is going to be very important for the Orioles to try to capture the first two games of this series as King Felix is lurking around for that 3rd and final game. You do not want to come into that game as the rubber match facing Felix. I would rather win the first two and if we beat Felix to sweep it that would be a huge plus. Chris Tillman takes the mound for the Orioles tomorrow to start the series. Tillman has dominated the Mariners twice this season, most recently tossing 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball on Aug. 6. The right-hander held Seattle to two runs over 8 1/3 innings in his season debut on July 4. Lets hope for more of the same tomorrow night.
I can tell you this. It is awesome to have a Sunday in football season to watch Orioles games that matter. What a great feeling that is. Let's hope the O's take at least 2/3 in Seattle, and then next weekend pound the Red Sox into the ground in Boston. Then after a Orioles hopeful series win in Boston on Sunday, we can turn to the Ravens Sunday night and do the same to the Patriots on Sunday Night Football and really send Boston fans crying for the whole weekend!!! I am really looking forward to it.
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