Watching a day game is a perfect way to spend a day while skipping work. Watching the Orioles get an early lead is also a perfect way to spend a day skipping work. Watching that lead evaporate in 10 pitches not so much. Slipping slowly into despair? Not a great substitution for work. Sudden joy and elation? Beats work anytime!
For game 2 of the ALDS between the Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers, I took my nephew. It's his first postseason game -- my second! I dragged him out of school around 10 AM to catch this game at noon. Orioles don't do day games very well, but they're gonna need to in order to make it through the next round. They'll be getting nothing but day games until the ALCS, so its sink or swim in the daylight.
The atmosphere in the morning is different than the night before. It was like everyone was still hung over and the coffee hasn't kicked in yet. Uggh. We all feel like we need a pick-me-up. Hopefully, the Orioles don't and won't.
On mound is Wei-Yin Chen, the only lefty started Buck Showalter will throw against Detroit. This is a team that mashes lefties. Chen cruised the first time through their lineup. He was staked to a 2 run lead by a Nick Markakis homerun, which barely cleared the fence. The second time through the Detroit lineup, Chen only threw 10 pitches and put the Orioles in the hole 5-2. He gave up doubles, a three run homerun, and a solo shot. It was a blitz, and he was yanked for the young Kevin Gausmann.
All through that brutal half inning, there was a Detroit fan sitting a few rows back cheering. He clapped for the double. He clapped for the three run homerun. He cheered for the solo shot. He was starting to become annoying.
This year was a good for me in attending Orioles games. The first game of the package, the third game of the season, the Orioles lost, but if you told me that they would sweep the World Series champion Boston Red Sox, I would've told you they wouldn't. And they didn't. Yet, since then, I have gone to nothing but wins. The closest loss was a 2-1 win versus Toronto in which the Orioles won in extra innings despite Tommy going boom and blowing a save.
While the Tigers beat out 5 runs, I felt my personal winning streak slip away. I fell into despair. The three beers didn't help. As the game continued, the Orioles would get men on base and fail to produce runs. The Detroit fan would cheer the failure, and I would slide deeper into my despair. My nephew would encourage me with signs for getting to the Detroit bullpen, but I don't think that would happen. Even when they took out their Cy Young winner in the fifth Detroit still threw a good pitcher for a couple of innings shutting out the Orioles.
Finally, at the depths of my despair, the eighth inning rolled around and the Orioles got to their bullpen. Adam Jones who isn't doing well was hit by a pitch causing their bullpen to be called in to get the final 5 outs of the game.
Jones moved to third on a Nelson Cruz single then scored on a Steve Pearce single.
JJ Hardy walked to load the bases.
While all this transpired, the crowd was sensing something special. They got loud. I was busy yelling into my neighbors ear, that Buck should put Delmon Young in for the ineffective Caleb Joseph. Buck is smarter than me. He brought him to pinch hit for the ineffective Ryan Flaherty.
I am a Flaherty fan, and I approved.
In comes Young. First pitch swinging. Bases clearing double. Orioles take the lead. The crowd goes wild.
It was amazing. From the pits of despair to elation! Yet, I could not comprehend what I saw. It was the most amazing thing to have witnessed. I was in a daze. It would take me another day to crawl out of the pit of despair, but the Orioles had taken the lead.
The eventually closed out the game for a win. Camden Yards was really, really loud.
We await the final game of the series.