That is all the Orioles need to do, it is what they have to do, and it is what they are doing.
The need to keep winning to inch ever closer to that magic number 82. After today's come-from-behind victory, and series win, in Detroit the Orioles sit at 66-55 a mere 16 games under .500. With every win the Orioles make a winning season a little less fantasy and a little more reality. Orioles fans know never to get too happy or excited about a team that has ownership of some of the worst finishes in major league history, 2002's 4-32 come to mind. The Orioles however have not been this much over .500, this late in the season since 1998 when the irds were 10 games over .500 with 35 games to go. The Orioles went 11-24 to finish that season.
The Orioles need to keep winning. Every win makes one more skeptical fan a believer, gets one more national media talking-head on their side, and makes this amazing season just that much more sensational.
The Orioles have to keep winning because few teams are doing the team any favors. The Tampa Bay Rays have decided to play like the playoff contenders everyone thought they were by embarrassing the Los Angeles Angels over the weekend sweeping the Angels as part of a recent four game winning streak. The Yankees have won seven of ten and seem to have the nasty habit of winning on day the Orioles win and losing on the same days as well so no real ground can get made up. Moreover, the Athletics and Tigers (despite the series loss to the Orioles this weekend) really don't look to be going anywhere either. If the Orioles wish to stay in this race they need to just keep finding ways to win.
Some continue to say that the Orioles' season is nothing but smoke and mirrors. So what, because if this is an illusion then it is one of the best magic tricks I have ever seen. Take today's game. Wei Yin Chen, the Orioles' most solid starter coughed up five runs in the top of the first burying the team before they even had a chance to get to bat. The Orioles, of course, would score seven unanswered runs over the next three innings to take the lead and get the win. Through the radio you could hear the stunned silence of the Detroit crowd. They did not expect this, they did not expect the Orioles to do what they did.
Jim Johnson recorded his 37th save of the year with another perfect ninth inning. That would give Johnson the second highest amount of saves in a single season for the Orioles. Only randy Myers and his 45 saves in 1997 sit ahead of him.
The Orioles just keep winning. They need only 16 wins to guarantee a winning season, but if the Orioles wish to make the playoffs I figure the need at least another 21. 21 wins would give the Orioles 87 wins on the year and I think that will be good enough to do it, especially when you consider that the bulk of those assumed wins would be coming in the September against the AL East.
The Orioles have been pronounced dead at least half a dozen times this season and yet here they are 11 games over .500 and deep in the throes of a postseason chase. Forget the run differential, forget Pythagoras because all that matters right now is wins - and this team just keeps winning.