I spy with my little eye a Rube Goldberg machine. And a winning baseball team, but not in this picture.
This game happened whilst I was at work. Naturally, since I was unable to see even a second of it, the Orioles won. We’re going to play I Spy with the MLB.com recap now and find some interesting things about this team.
Chris Tillman won again. It’s amazing to think that he’s doing so well given his struggles, but there’s something different about him that is plainly visible. Do you know what it is?
Joe Maddon does:
The Rays were unable to get anything going off Tillman until the seventh, when a pair of doubles — including a two-run double from Sam Fuld — forced his exit in favor of reliever Darren O’Day. The biggest difference, according to Rays manager Joe Maddon? Confidence.
“He’s definitely a more confident pitcher than maybe the last time we did see him,” Maddon said. “I thought he pitched well. He did not give in.”
What a difference believing in yourself makes, huh?
Also, just look at this quote from the same article and tell me what you see here:
That lead came courtesy of a five-run fifth inning, a rare offensive outburst from a lineup that has struggled for the better part of six weeks. Facing Shields, the Orioles put runners on first and second one out into the fifth inning, with Nick Markakis singling and J.J. Hardy taking Shields’ pitch off his ribs. After Jim Thome walked to load the bases, Adam Jones punched a two-run single into left field to give the O’s the lead. Matt Wieters worked a walk to reload the bases and Davis emptied them on a double into the left-center field gap.
First off, let’s get the concern out of the way – Hardy’s x-rays came back negative. He’s fine; it’s just a bruise. Now that we’ve gone through that, let’s look at exactly what the key element was here that allowed the team to score five runs in one inning (with four of the RBI on the day coming from Chris Davis).
I think it’s confidence again, and here’s why.
Once you see someone in your lineup get a hit, you begin to realize that the pitcher on the mound is hittable. Once you realize the pitcher is hittable, you believe that you can get a hit, too. When your entire team believes that you can all get hits, you actually focus and get them. The hits come in bunches, and you score runs. Only one run today came on a homer (Chris Davis hit a solo shot in the seventh), with the rest being a bunch of smaller consecutive hits. That’s exactly what this team needs to do to get the job done. Home runs aren’t always the answer, but confidence always is.
One more thing before we’re done – we know what was wrong with Gonzalez last night, even if he won’t blame his struggles on it – he has the flu, or something very much like it. Apparently several people in the clubhouse are struggling with the same illness, so here’s some metaphorical chicken soup for you all – YOU WON A GAME, PITCHED WELL AND DIDN’T SCORE ALL YOUR RUNS ON THE LONG BALL. YOU’RE GOOD AT BASEBALL. REMEMBER THAT. Feel better, everyone, and remember that you’re better than you think at this game!
Really, we need you to be confident. Oakland’s coming in tomorrow.