After surreal win, it seems these O's won't go away

May 06, 2012|Kevin Cowherd

You're an Orioles fan and the big question on your mind now is: How long will it last?

A 9-6 win over the Boston Red Sox in 17 innings Sunday for their fifth win in a row and ninth in 11 games? Are you kidding me?

With Adam Jones taking Darnell McDonald's cream puff fastball over Fenway Park's Green Monster for the game-winning three-run blast?

And designated hitter Chris Davis on the mound for the Orioles, looking like Mariano Rivera as he strikes out Adrian Gonzalez with two on and one out before inducing a game-ending double play?

Was that surreal or what?

Who scripted this one, Fellini? John Waters? No, this one was too wild for either of them.

OK, you know the season is a marathon, not a sprint. You know it's too early to say: Yes, this is it, our long civic nightmare is over. The Orioles are back.

But boy, do these Orioles have your attention. And boy, are they fun to watch. How could they not be? Sweeping three games from the Red Sox in Fenway after taking two of three at Yankee Stadium?

Not too shabby. In fact, it's the first time in 20 years the Orioles have taken back-to-back series at Yankee Stadium and Fenway.

Twenty years! Jamie Moyer was still in his 20s back then!

So as an Orioles fan, sure, you want to buy in to all this madness.

You've been waiting for this — meaningful baseball, exciting baseball — forever. You're like someone who's been locked in a cellar for years and they just threw open the storm doors and you're gulping the fresh air.

But you're wary, too. Wary of giving your heart totally to this team lest you get burned again. Fine, I get it. Let's face it, you've been emotionally scarred. Fourteen straight seasons of losing baseball — bad baseball — would do that to any fan.

So even a thrilling win like Sunday's and two series sweeps of the hated Yankees and Red Sox hasn't won you over completely.

You're jaded, cynical, skeptical, pick whatever word you want.

In the back of your mind, you're thinking: will there be another mid-season collapse?

Will this team fold like a bridge table in July and August like so many other Orioles teams have?

I don't know the answer to that one. No one does.

But this much is clear: so far, the Orioles have thumbed their noses at all their critics. And I was one of those critics.

I didn't think the Orioles helped themselves much in the offseason. I didn't feel they signed any impact players. I looked at the roster in spring training and all I could see was a last-place team.

Maybe they'll still end up in last place. But they've given their fans a hell of a ride so far.

Maybe you were one of those Orioles fans who said: OK, this six-game road trip to New York and Boston will tell us a lot about this team. And it sure did.

The pitching has been the biggest difference — everyone on the Orioles, from Buck Showalter on down, tells you that.

The starters are going deep into games. The bullpen has been magnificent. And now they have another closer, the noted righty Chris Davis, to team with Jim Johnson.

Right. In Davis' dreams. Although the guy has a 90-mph fastball! And decent control! Who knew?

Not to mention he shows all the emotion of a tax collector on the mound. How nonchalant was Davis in the post-game interview with MASN's Jim Hunter? He slipped on the headphones and acted like: ho-hum, yeah, just another day at the office. I loved it.

And how about those shots of the Orioles dugout when Davis was on the mound? It looked like every player was on the top step, grinning and doing everything but cracking up at the absurdity of a position player mowing down the vaunted Red Sox lineup.

Which, by the way, is not so vaunted anymore. Not with the Red Sox in last place, losers of five in a row.

But what a game it was for the Orioles. Six hours, seven minutes. Seventeen innings. Eight Orioles relievers in the game until Showalter finally turned to Davis and said: “Get loose, you're pitching.”

And how about that gem of a defensive play in the 16th inning, when Adam Jones took Mike Aviles' double off the wall in left-center, fired it to J.J. Hardy at short, who then threw a bullet to Matt Wieters at the plate to tag out Marlon Byrd and end the threat.

What a game. What a win for the Orioles. What a start for this team.

No matter how long it lasts, it sure has been fun to watch.

kevin.cowherd@baltsun.com

twitter.com/kevincowherdsun

Listen to Kevin Cowherd Tuesdays at 7:20 a.m. on 105.7 The Fan's "The Norris and Davis Show."

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