If the Orioles lose Thursday night, the season – a crazy, unexpected thrill ride of a season – is over.
The Orioles know that. They also know they've survived plenty all year.
"It's pretty much win or go home tomorrow, isn't it? There's pretty much no turning back," said center fielder Adam Jones. "We're going to have the same attitude, the same mentality we've had since the first day of spring training. We're going to have fun, let it fly and live with the results."
They were in this position last Friday, when they had to beat the Rangers in Texas to advance to the Division Series. And they did – with lefty Joe Saunders winning that one. He gets the call again Thursday ahead of Chris Tillman, undoubtedly because manager Buck Showalter believes there's no substitute for experience in that situation.
"Joe obviously is coming off a real good start in a pressure situation, a game that we had to win, and he'll find himself back in that spot again," Showalter said. "Joe is a guy that gives you a chance to win. And he'll compete. And he knows we feel good with him out there."
There are major concerns here, obviously. The Yankees have the momentum. They have the experience. They have the home-field advantage and need to win just one of the next two games.
But closer Jim Johnson, who has now contributed to two losses in his last three postseason outings after having a great regular season, says the Orioles have the ability and mentality to come back and win.
"We've been doing it all year. It's unfortunate, obviously, the way things ended up," Johnson said. "You have to just come back tomorrow. And you trust the guy in the locker next you and the guys that put the uniform on. We all have each other's back."