Wednesday, May 14, 2008


That's right the Orioles have swept the Boston Red Sox out of Camden Yards. And maybe they sent a few of those fans with them.

For the second day in a row, the Orioles rallied from down 3-0 to knock off the defending champs. Yesterday, it was the pitching that came through with the late game heroics. Today, it was the bats.

After being silenced by Jon Lester for five innings, the Orioles closed to within 3-2 with a pair in the sixth. Then Jay Payton hit a grand slam in the bottom of the seventh to win the game for the Orioles.

Matt Albers pitched a quick scoreless eighth and George Sherrill closed for his 15th save as the Birds made a winner of Daniel Cabrera, who is now 4-1. Dustin Pedroia was 1-for-4 for the Sox.

As far as I'm concerned Jay Payton can be on the next bus out of town. His stay here will last no longer than the end of the season. He isn't a factor in the long-term of what is to come with this franchise. But each and every day he becomes more and more valuable to this team. Because as a fourth outfielder on a contender he serves a true purpose and has a real role. And each and every day this team looks more like a team that might have enough to keep it in contention for a lot longer than anyone thought when they left Oakland a little less than a week ago.

Maybe the focus should change. Maybe everything that's remaining shouldn't be blown up.

There is lots of young pitching in the future. Some of it has already arrived. The concern is whether or not the young offensive players are of the same caliber. I say give them some time and let them develop. Don't rush them. There seems to be a belief that a player needs to be a player in his early 20's. No need. Let guys like Jay Payton be space fillers until they are ready.

I was extremely excited about the Orioles future before this season began. I figured it would take until at least 2010 for them to be at all ready to compete. But through 38 games, this era is competing. They are making it fun again. It's quite possible that there will be more bruises before this team is totally ready to be a championship contender. But this team has made it fun to be an Orioles fan again. They've taken the embarrasment away.

Now let's see what can be built.

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