The Chatter

Top 10 Orioles Moments From 2014

From walk-offs to impossible catches, here are the keys to our incredible season.

By Jess Mayhugh | October 15, 2014, 7:04 pm

-Baltimore Orioles
The Chatter

Top 10 Orioles Moments From 2014

From walk-offs to impossible catches, here are the keys to our incredible season.

By Jess Mayhugh | October 15, 2014, 7:04 pm

-Baltimore Orioles

Though I am as desperately crushed as the next Orioles fan that we weren't able to pull it out in the ALCS, I am still so grateful for all of the memories this team has given us this season. In summary, here were the keys to the Birds' success, with unforgettable moments for each:

Nelson Cruz homers Opening Day, a precursor of things to come. Our power hitter this season was the indelible Cruz, who knocked out 40 this year. The baseball vet even had seven RBIs in one game later in the season. He always seemed to come through in the clutch, like he did on Opening Day against the Red Sox. Bonus: He also gets his first Adam Jones pie:

Adam Jones shows off his fantastic athleticism. While some may criticize our team leader for being too quick to swing the bat, no one can deny his defensive skills in centerfield. While he had plenty of great catches throughout the season (including an impressive grab Opening Day), nothing compares to this play:

The incredible defense of Manny Machado. Before Machado had to exit prematurely (again!) this season, we got to witness some Brooks-like moves over at third base. This one, in which he threw out Albert Pujols, sticks out in particular:

Hitting the walk-off. This season, the Orioles experienced 10 walk-off wins—the most for us in the past few years. Of course, this has to do first and foremost with a stellar bullpen, but also our ability to hit across the roster: Kelly Johnson in the 9th against the Yankees, David Lough in the 12th against Toronto, Jimmy Paredes in the 11th against the Yankees, Steve Clevenger in the 10th against the Astros and usual suspects Nelson Cruz, Chris Davis, Matt Wieters, Nick Markakis, and Adam Jones. It sure made for some exciting baseball:

Our starting pitchers took games into their own hands. Even when our bats didn’t look too alive this season, our starting pitching was our saving grace. There were plenty of dominant performances by Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez, Bud Norris, and Kevin Gausman. One of the best outings all year was Chen’s game against the Mariners in July:

Our bullpen was lights out. The Orioles bullpen had the third-lowest ERA, 3.10, in the American League. Zach Britton had a 1.65 ERA and 37 saves after replacing Tommy Hunter earlier in the season. O’Day was an awesome set-up man all year, with a 1.70 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 68 games. And then there’s Andrew Miller, who the O’s acquired in July and struck out 34 batters in 20 innings. Hunter was solid later in the season, too. One of the best bullpen moments came in Toronto when Britton struck out the side, recording his 20th save:

Along with Orioles Nation, Nick Markakis gets his AL East Clinch moment. Whether you were a fan in the stands, watching at home on TV, or personally got pied by Adam Jones yourself, the Clinchmas night was something special. But it’s hard to think of anyone that appreciated it more than Nick Markakis, the longest tenured Oriole, who’s been with the team since 2006 (and didn’t get to experience the 2012 playoffs). His look says it all:

Delmon Young’s double in Game 2 of the ALDS. This was my personal favorite moment of the season, as it exemplified what had been true all along: We may get down, but we’re not necessarily out. With Detroit up 6-4, Buck Showalter, in a genius move (see below), pinch hits Delmon Young who ends up drilling a go-ahead, three-run double to give the O’s the lead. Pure bliss:

Buck Showlater’s strategic genius. Not enough can be said about the importance of Buck Showalter’s influence. It’s no coincidence that things have looked up since he stepped into the clubhouse. From roster manipulation to in-game strategic moves to post-game one-liners, Buck is baseball. Here, his gutsy decision to intentionally walk Nick Castellanos pays off, as the O’s get the double play and advance to the ALCS. Showalter described his move later by saying the game needed a “karmic shift.”

60 years of Orioles baseball. If we have learned anything this season, it’s that it’s more about the journey than the destination. And the 60-year journey of Orioles baseball was celebrated this year with an incredible ceremony at Camden Yards. While seeing all of the Orioles legends on the field was amazing enough, I especially loved the touch of having the 2014 Orioles come out at the end and embrace the past. (Start at 29:16 below.) Amazing moment. This year, like we have for the past 60, we say Go O’s!

Meet The Author

Jess Mayhugh is the digital editor for Baltimore, where she covers nightlife, sports, food, and events.

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