“We Were Supposed To Finish Last”- Orioles Star reveals How Team Stunned Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, And Detroit Tigers In 2014

Published 12/28/2021, 8:45 AM EST
Sep 16, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles players celebrate after clinching the AL East title after a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles defeated the Jays 8-2. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports


The nature of baseball is as much about strategy as about ability. It rewards tenacity, determination, and grit. All qualities we admire. And there is perhaps no better example of that in the MLB than the 2014 American League Division Series. A series where the Baltimore Orioles has no business sweeping the Detroit Tigers.

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A Mismatch of Expectations in the MLB

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The Baltimore Orioles, at the time managed by Buck Showalter had no business beating the Tigers. At least not according to the sportscasters at the time. They had won 96 in the regular season were rated highly coming into the playoffs but nobody really gave them a chance. The Orioles had been branded as Showalter’s band of second chancers and previously un-wanteds of the MLB in their upstart regular season, but they soon became the team to beat in the post-season.

They were making their way to a World Series berth for the first time since 1983. And the Orioles were in great form having clinched the division title at Camden Park in September. The next challenge to them was formidable.

Matched up against the Tigers boasting Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and David Price, the Orioles were underdogs heading into the series. But many would say this worked to the Orioles’ advantage because like Adam Jones saw at the time, the expectations didn’t weigh on them either.

The center fielder was quoted at the time saying,

“Everybody said we were supposed to finish last in our division, so we’re playing with house money.”

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The Orioles Sweep The Tigers

The Orioles had to have a great plan to overcome the challenge that the Tigers presented from the mound with Scherzer, Verlander and Price all throwing the rockets onto home plate. And Adam Jones recently spoke as to what the plan really was going to be.

“It wasn’t about beating Scherzer, Verlander and Price. It was about working the h*ll out of them and getting them out of the damn game.”

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Adam Jones spoke about how their discussions were around the fact that if the pitchers were making it to the 7th, or 8th innings, players of their caliber just had it in them to find a different gear and play out of their skin. The pitchers had to tire out by the 5th or 6th innings for the Orioles to have a shot.

Concentrating on their own strengths, the Orioles’ plan was to take them to the bull-pen.

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“If it gets to the bull-pen, we got ’em.”

Optimizing their strengths at the time, Adam Jones spoke about how they knew they weren’t gonna be able to slug Scherzer or Verlander so it was about getting them out of the game and then making sure the batting was up to the mark to ensure a win in that series.

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Aditya Deshingkar

156 articles

Aditya Deshingkar is a US Sports writer at EssentiallySports. An aspiring lawyer, Aditya is a final year student of the law program at GLC. Notably, as an avid sports lover, he shares a keen interest in NBA, MLB, and Formula 1.

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