Sorry--can't hold it in. From 1998 thru 2011, last nights game and perhaps the last 3 games would have just been another 'oh well' for the Orioles and their faithful.
But in 2012, the O's enrolled in the 'We are Contenders' Club and everything changed. After a gut-wrenching 3-2 series loss to the hated Payroll in the playoffs, we all expected another year of growth and excitement in 2013 as the O's continued their march to a long awaited trip to the World Series.
I can't think of a more disheartening, aggravating, horrible 4 game series in 2013 than the one just completed. After winning game 1, (the tease) the O's went on to blow two games late; and then last night with a nice comeback within their grasp, their alleged 'closer' completely blew the game single-handedly in a choke for the ages. What Jim Johnson did last night should not happen to a contender, in a hugely important game, against a detested rival, this late in the season, with so much on the line. And this wasn't just an outlier performance. He has been doing this all season long.
Giving up a leadoff line drive hit to as Michael Kay described 'the Yankees automatic out' was red flag #1 that Johnson was about to have yet another of his terrible outings at the worst possible time. Then throwing away a lousy bunt with a lob to nowhere trying to get the easy out at 2nd. After a successful sacrifice, he then procedes to throw a terrible wild pitch to baseballs biggest creep, Alex Rodriguez to plate the winning run. Game set and match.
Come on Johnson, if you didn't want to pitch to AFraud, walk him intentionally. Watching this game, was like a root canal without novocaine; fingernails scraping a chalkboard; falling off a cliff in a dream and worrying that you won't wake up before hitting bottom. The late inning heroics of Markakis and Valencia all gone poof because the 2013 Oriole bullpen has gone from best to worst in the AL in one short season.
The math says, yeah, the O's are still in the hunt, along with 5 other teams; and yeah we get to play hapless Toronto (we'll see about that won't we) while the Yanks take on Boston; But the Yanks came into Baltimore with a bullpen that had been strafed by the Red Sox and a lineup that had continually been modified by one injury after another. Yet they prevailed--no they embarrassed the inept Orioles at every corner, in front of surprisingly small crowds,given the opponent, the lateness of the season and the importance of the games. Still the 'let's go Mo' chants were overpowering the 'let's go O's chants in the 9th innings of the last 3 games.
Watching Hunter cough up a leadoff HR in the 9th of a tie game; watching Jones confusing route in trying to track down Granderson's triple; and last nights complete epic fail by Jim Johnson was too much for this O's fan to take. You wonder how many more ways can the Orioles invent new ways to lose ugly; to stab their fans in the heart with yet another loss to a team that among other things gets to use a cheater and a bum every night.
Just had to vent. This has been awful. Just plain awful. Feel free to pile on, or tell me I'm nuts. I really don't care. As a heart-on-sleeve O's fan, how much more of this torture can one take---if making the playoffs is the goal and not just making excuses that the team is fine because they are over .500 for the 2nd straight year. Well, yaaa-hooo to that.