Baltimore Orioles: The Fat Lady Sings on the 2014 Season


Oct 15, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez (50) talks with catcher Caleb Joseph (right) during the sixth inning against the Kansas City Royals in game four of the 2014 ALCS playoff baseball game at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

It is time to stack firewood, get the snow shovels out of the shed, and put the extra comforter on the bed. The Baltimore Orioles 2014 baseball season is over with another 2-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals. The sweep-and-swept postseason is done; let it snow.

1. 11. 2. 7. Final

At least the offseason this year will be a couple of weeks shorter. Before long at all, we’ll be speculating on The Baltimore Wire about the 2015 season, while also writing quite a bit in reflection on what was a very fine 2014 campaign – the best in years.

But first, what just hit us? What went wrong this past week?

More than anything else, the Royals have a team that is more than just a bit good. Their pitching and defense is really tough, and they’ve got that intangible thing going on that great teams have – the ability to find a way to win even when not everything is perfect.

The Baltimore Orioles are generally that sort of team also. They won 99 baseball games this year. Given their recent history, they are a Cinderella story; but KC’s Cinderella story was just a bit bigger – six runs bigger over four games, to be exact.

A few old Orioles ghosts came out of the closet over this series.

After all the fantastic pitching over the last half of the season, the failure of starters to get deep into games returned. There was only one quality start in the seven playoff games.

The difficulty of maximizing scoring opportunities was present in every game. How many times did the O’s have critical ducks on the pond that could not be scored?

Filling in the holes on defense presented itself – in the final game with an error on Caleb Joseph who did not handle a throw – something seen before. Steve Pearce did not have a great defensive series in scooping throws or making throws. All the while, the Royals were making great defensive plays.

Zach Britton turned into Jim Johnson, though the bullpen cannot be blamed for this series loss.

But overall, the Orioles pitchers simply allowed too many baserunners and were pitching constantly from the stretch while worrying about stolen bases – of which the Royals swiped only one. But speed can kill in a variety of ways.

Regarding too many baserunners: The Royals had runners on base in 28 out of 35 innings over these four games. They put the leadoff hitter on base in 19 out of those 35 innings as well. It is amazing there were not more runs scored.

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As Orioles fans, we can be all ticked-off about a variety of things that could have made a difference here and there – some legitimate, some just spitting into the wind. But at the end of the day, we have to just acknowledge that over this series, Kansas City was a better team. They won the games, and they were not just lucky – the ball did not just always bounce better for them. They earned it.

We’ll switch gears, come back tomorrow, and talk Orioles baseball.