I took a half day on Thursday and then a full Friday off in order to catch the Orioles in the postseason. After 5 years of being a season ticket holder, these are my first postseason games from that investment. In reality, these are my first postseason games ever.
I didn't make it to the '70 postseason. My Lolo did, and he found it cold. I didn't make it to '83. My brother went and found fun heckling the White Sox. I didn't care too much about baseball in '96 or '97. Then the Orioles went through 14 years of misery. I am not going to miss out on this.
Me and my older brother file into Camden Yards about 4 PM, 90 minutes before game time. The stadium has a rather subdued atmosphere. This isn't like the feeling of Opening Day where everyone is absolutely excited for baseball. Postseason play leaves the spectators anxious and hungry for a win. They end up mute waiting for the fun to begin.
Yet, everyone is still excited. What will we get? A great game or bitter disappointment?
The ceremonial first pitch was done by Manny and Weiters, two key Orioles who are missing time because of injuries. Then, Chris Tillman, the ace of the staff, started the game right striking out the side in the first. The fireworks started when the Oriole came up to bat. Nelson Cruz hits a two run homer to stake the home team to 2-0 lead. It didn't last a half inning, because Detroit came back with back-to-back homers to tie the game. After that, the pitching took over.
Tillman pitches well but inefficient for the next couple innings. In particular, Detroit's Iam Kinsler sees 30 pitches in several at bats fouling off many of them. Tillman was done after 5 innings of work and 105 pitches. His Detroit counterpart, reigning Cy Young winner, Max Scherzer, kept the Orioles bats quiet after the early inning trouble. They didn't get to him until the 8th.
My brother was worried all throughout the game. After a JJ Hardy homer gave the O's the lead, it was nail biting time. Literally. I was biting my nails hoping we shut down this potent Detroit offense. I had faith, because this was the type of Orioles game that they seemed to play. A homerun, strong starting pitching, and then the bullpen to get the job done. The Orioles will have to play that game.
Then deAza hits a one out double in the eighth to knock Scherzer out of the game. Detroit's bullpen is notorious and this half inning proves it. The Orioles batted around scoring 8 runs to put the game away.
The calm, subdued atmosphere was gone. It was loud and electric. I hate that Seven Nation Army chant, but it was still fun to do as the runs kept coming. Then a new chant picked up: "We Won't Stop! We Won't Stop! We Won't Stop!" This is the slogan for the Orioles postseason and it is apropos. Orioles won't stop scoring. Orioles won't stop beating your stinky pitching. Orioles won't stop until the game is over. It was a 4-3 game at the start of the inning. It became 12-3 bludgeoning.
High fives all around as this happened. The guy and his son next to you who you told that