"He makes you play like you got a pair."

That quote has stuck with me for two months. It came from the mouth of Orioles' center fielder Adam Jones at the All-Star Game. It was his response when I asked him about manager Buck Showalter.

The message seems to be resonating with these Orioles, doesn't it?

The Orioles headed into the season picked to finish last in the AL East by pretty much everyone outside Baltimore (and some in Baltimore, I'm sure). They had to face the stiff competition of the AL East.

After a good start, they were labeled a fluke. There have been injuries -- like Nick Markakis,  twice. Their negative run differential was held over their head. Every time the Orioles lost even two straight, masses assumed it the start of an Indians-like free fall.

Even this week, Jones' quote sticks with me. Starting pitcher Jason Hammel had to leave Tuesday's game early. No matter, the Orioles went out and knocked the ball around the yard for a 9-2 win. Wednesday night, Manny Machado made this play to end the Rays' 9th:

And then Machado went out and started the game-winning rally in the bottom of the ninth. For more on Machado, make sure to check out Danny Knobler's column from Baltimore. I just had to get this quote out there, because it applies to these Orioles so perfectly.

"He makes you play like you got a pair."

Darn right, and it's working.

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