Saturday, May 19, 2012

Orioles Drop Nats Again, 6-4

The Orioles have been in the same position as the Nats were tonight many times over the last decade.

Down early by a large number of runs against a good team and we start to come back only to run into the buzz saw of the opponent's relievers and not quite get the job done.  The Nats had their chances tonight, but no cigar.

We lost this game many times over the past 14 years but tonight we were the team that wouldn't give in--that closed out the Nationals who had cut the lead to one. We now have a difficult assortment of relievers for the other team solve--different styles and strengths--some side-arm, some junk, some heat, some Strop.

Make no mistake, Washington does not in any way resemble Oriole teams of the recent past. They are talented, young, and hungry like we are---but the Orioles have been a little better these last two nights.

Adam Jones homered. Nick Markakis followed suit and the Orioles led 6-0.  Hammel was untouchable early and then ran out of gas. We slid by on Ayala and Patton. The Nationals came all the way back but we shut the door, 6-5. We have not given away many games this year. Johnson recorded his 15th save and the Orioles are 27-14.

What makes this group different from Oriole teams with losing records over the last 14 years?

There is a blueprint that Buck Showalter is quietly following. This team is very much like his Yankee teams and those of Joe Torre who succeeded him.

Adam Jones resembles a young Bernie Williams. Nick Markakis possesses the quiet competitive fury of Paul O'Neill.  Jim Johnson is emerging as a definitive closer similar to the rise of Mariano Rivera.

Those Yankees didn't have a Matt Wieters or anything close. Showalter won a lot of games with guys like Mike Gallego and Luis Polonia--role players who can get the job done. So did Earl Weaver.


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