For fans who have had this record on constant spin for 14 seasons, there is no discernible difference from this start opposed to many of the others in recent Aprils. Because right now the Orioles are 3-3 and are headed on a brutal, 10-game, three-city, three-time-zone road trip to three very tough places to play: Toronto, Chicago and Los Angeles.
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This road trip will be a real test. When the club comes back to face Toronto, we’ll all know whether the Orioles’ starting pitching is improved or if it was just lucky enough to run into a bad Twins team to start the season.
If you listen to the Orioles, though, this Yankees series was a test. And they passed despite the losses. Because they lost to a great team twice in extra innings.
“Getting swept is tough but we are going to compete with those guys all year as well as the other teams in our division,” said starter Jake Arrieta. “The last two games were a pretty good example of that. I think it is just a matter of making one more pitch or getting one more guy on base. There’s a lot of variables there but we are going to find ways to get it done. It’s just a matter of not letting this get to us too much.”
Adam Jones is usually one of the most frustrated Orioles after they lose to the Yankees. But Wednesday night, he exhibited a slightly different tone.
“We played three good games. Just didn't come out on top," Jones said. "We played three really good games. It was only our sixth game of the year. There are some things we still have to work on. Take the day off tomorrow, go to Toronto and take it out on their pitching staff.”
He took some consolation in the fact that the last two games were extra-inning losses: “We fought. We put ourselves in the situation. We came back and we just kept fighting, fighting, fighting. They had the big hit, and we didn't have the big hit. We had the opportunity to get it, and we didn't get it.”
Really, this has been a trend for more than a decade. The Yankees know how to win these close games, the Orioles don’t. Those who observe this team over the years see that.
Teams can make their own breaks. The Yankees often do; the Orioles mostly don’t.
Jones said he believes that is coming.
“I think we can take the momentum of these last three games. We played hard. We just didn't get the breaks,” he said. “We didn't get the big hit. Just make the play. They're all factors. Just worry about ourselves and not worry about any other team.”
We’ll see at the end of this road trip whether that is wishful thinking – which it seemingly has been in countless Aprils -- or something the Orioles did build on.