Orioles' 100-game winning streak when leading after 7 innings more about "a mentality"

April 25, 2013|By Eduardo A. Encina | The Baltimore Sun

The Orioles’ 17-game extra-inning winning streak ended Wednesday afternoon, but the team’s 100-game winning streak when leading at the completion of the seventh inning is still alive and well heading into the Orioles’ 11-day, 11-game West Coast road trip, which begins tonight in Oakland.

When that streak – which dates back to Aug. 8, 2011 – reached the century mark after Tuesday’s 4-3 win over the Blue Jays, closer Jim Johnson noted that the streak coincided with the time when the Orioles began to turn things around.

So while the bullpen, which remains an anchor of the Orioles’ success, plays a large part in the streak there are several other factors that go into it – especially because over the course of 100 games the winning formula wasn’t always the same.

“It wasn’t the same guys every night,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “It changes. That’s why I talk about it all the time, things don’t follow the script. … It’s a mentality. It’s one of those things that can’t evaluate when they’ve got all these forms of evaluation with numbers and stats and pie charts and all that other stuff.

“But how do you evaluate mentality? How do evaluate what kind of teammate [someone is]? How do you evaluate what that mentality does to the team you’re playing? How do you evaluate presentation? How do you evaluate confidence? When it [ends], if it happens, our guys will be frustrated by it but not dwell on it and move on to the next game. Having that mentality allows you to do some things like that and not dwell on the negative. This is a team that, they don’t let streaks or inclinations – positive or negative – [affect them].”

Many Orioles players – pitchers and position players alike – didn’t even realize the streak had reached triple digits.

“For it to work that way 100 times in a row – or for anything to happen 100 times in a row in baseball -- is crazy,” left fielder Nate McLouth said Wednesday. “That’s as impressive a stat as I’ve heard. That’s a pretty staggering number.

“I think it goes back to the one-run game thing,” McLouth added. “We seem to play so many of them that, I don’t know if comfortable is the right word, but the anxiety level isn’t the same as if maybe you didn’t play as many. The more you’re in a situation, the more comfortable you are just based on experience.”

Orioles first baseman Chris Davis pointed to Tuesday’s game, when the Orioles led 4-0 before Edwin Encarnacion's three-run homer made it a one-run game, setting the scene for some tense late innings before the Orioles won in the ninth.

“I think once you get a taste for it and once you experience and learn how to cope with being in tight games all the time, there’s almost a sense of comfort," Davis said. "[Tuesday] night we had a four-run lead and it felt weird. Encarnacion hits that home run and ... I was just like, ‘OK, this is where we should be.’ Things are a little tense. I think it obvsiously is good for us because that’s what the playoffs are all about.”

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