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The Demise of the 2014 Baltimore
by Paul Brandley
What a wild ride this season has been! After putting
together a 96-66 record that won them the AL East title
for the first time since 1997 (take that, Yankees and Red
Sox!) and sweeping the dangerous Detroit Tigers in the
AL Division Series, the Baltimore Orioles’ glorious
season ground to a screeching halt against the red hot
Kansas City Royals.
One second–the Kansas City Royals?
The wild card team?
The wild card team that needed a come-from-behind,
walk-off victory to get to the Division Series for the first
time in over twenty-five years?
How could this happen?
As much as it pains me to say this, at the end
of the day, the Orioles were simply outplayed
by the Royals in a neck-and-neck contest
that really could have gone either way.
Kansas City Royals Defense
The Royals’ defense is going to haunt the Orioles for a
long, long time. No matter where the Orioles hit the ball,
no matter how hard they hit it, the KC defense was
The Orioles couldn’t even catch a break during Game
Three, which just so happened to be the anniversary of
infamous Cubs fan Steve Bartman’s interference that
sunk the Cubs’ playoff run in 2003: Steve Pearce’s frozen
rope to third was caught and Adam Jones’ foul ball was
gloved with a diving-into-the-stands play…both by third
baseman Mike Moustakas.
I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t confusing
Moustakas for Derek Jeter.
Fielding demons like Mike Moustakas, Alex Gordon, and
Lorenzo Cain caught balls that usually fall into gaps,
saving countless runs.
Kansas City Royals Pitching
This, in my humble opinion, was the
difference for Kansas City.
When you sweep a series where 30 innings
out of 37 total innings ended in a tie or a
one-run difference, it’s bullpen pitching that
makes the difference, especially when no
starter for either team went six complete
In the end, the
went 3-0 this series
with a 1.13 ERA.
Hats off to Royals
closer Greg Holland
for becoming only
the third pitcher to
accrue four saves in
a postseason series.
Kansas City Royals Offense
Where the Orioles were being robbed with
flashy defensive plays, the Royals were
cashing in. They were fortunate enough to
have some broken-bat bloop hits that found
the gaps that had eluded the Orioles. While
the Orioles hit only .429 on hard-hit balls (400
points below their season average), the Royals
hit a smoldering .789.
As disappointing of a series as it was for us Orioles fans,
it was a big win for all baseball fans everywhere. I’ll be
rooting for the Royals in the playoffs—they understand
the wait for dominance that we Orioles fans have
experienced far more than the Giants, who’ve made three
World Series in the last five years.
Where’s the fun in that?
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