Baltimore Orioles: Did the O’s really just SWEEP the Tigers?


Oct 5, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Baltimore Orioles designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) is interviewed in the locker room as the team celebrates their win after defeating the Detroit Tigers in game three of the 2014 ALDS baseball playoff game at Comerica Park. The Orioles move on to the ALCS with 2-1 win over the Tigers. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

At the end of July when the trade deadline was approaching, I was travelling and listening on sports radio for updates and analyses. And with the news of the trade that involved David Price going to the Detroit Tigers, the consensus was pretty much that they were fully loaded with a formidable rotation for success in a short series. They were now the favorite team to win it all.

The only thing the Baltimore Orioles did at that time was add an extra relief arm in Andrew Miller to a bullpen that was already well above average. Though it was acknowledged that he was indeed a good addition, the price was considered rather high – while not really addressing the concern of a starting rotation with no ace.

In the final weeks of the season with the Angels holding on to the top spot with the most wins in the American League, it was becoming obvious that the Orioles were headed for a direct best-of-five collision with the Cy Young award trifecta of Price, Max Scherzer, and Justin Verlander.

Really, what chance did the Baltimore Orioles have against this, even with the most powerful home run hitting team on the planet?  Good pitching stops good hitting, right? So great pitching should shut it down entirely.

After Delmon Young’s three-RBI double that won game two, I was really, really hoping for him to be the offensive star in game three. I had the article title in mind: “One Delmon Young Trumps Three Cy Youngs.”  Shucks!

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But indeed, three Cy Young winners were trumped. How did this happen?

The Tiger trifecta did not pitch poorly, especially David Price yesterday. Of course, the bullpen particularly killed Detroit in the first two games. And that was the obvious need for the Orioles entering the series – to get into the bullpen. They were able to do that twice, and in the final game the O’s had a starter in Bud Norris who was one click and one pitch better than Price.

Let’s look and compare the two teams’ combined starters statistics; and for this comparison I am also including a regular starter from each side who relieved – Anibal Sanchez for the Tigers and Kevin Gausman for the Orioles. So combine Sanchez with the three Cy Youngers, and combine Gausman with Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, and Norris.


So all in all, the statistics were fairly even between the starting pitchers of the two teams. It really was the bullpen that blew two games for the Tigers, along with some decent clutch hitting by the Orioles. It should not be forgotten that Adam Jones served a ground ball single through the infield just prior to Nelson Cruz’ home run on Sunday.

And over the series, the Orioles were 9-for-21 in RISP (.429), while the Tigers were just 4-for-15 (.267). This again demonstrates the fewer changes the Tigers had to score, while noting the Orioles better acumen at taking advantage of situations given them.

But in the end, the two numbers that count are 3 and 0.

Final. 0. 63. 3. 11