2014 Baltimore Orioles seasonThe 2014 Baltimore Orioles season was the 114th season in franchise history, the 61st in Baltimore, and the 23rd at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Birds would finish in first place in the American League East Division and return to the playoffs for the second time in three seasons, claiming their first division championship since 1997. The Orioles swept the Detroit Tigers in the Division Series and advanced to the AL Championship Series, where they were swept by the Kansas City Royals.
New Oriole Nelson Cruz led the majors in home runs with 40; following Chris Davis' 2013 championship this was the first time in franchise history two Orioles (or Browns) had won back-to-back home run titles. As a team the Birds hit 211 home runs to lead baseball, their third consecutive 200-homer season (another franchise first).
Preceding offseasonEntering the offseason, the Orioles had 11 arbitration eligible players, three contract options, and several outgoing free agents. They looked to make additions to their starting rotation, to add a "big bat", as well as to improve their bullpen, which was strong in 2012, but "average" in 2013.
Outgoing free agents
Incoming free agents
March/AprilOn March 31, the Orioles won their 2014 regular season opener against the Boston Red Sox, but then proceeded to lose their next four games. After a full week and a 4-2 loss to the New York Yankees, the Orioles were in last place in the American League East and 3 games below .500. Orioles All-Star 3rd baseman Manny Machado, still recovering from off-season surgery, did not play in any games for the Orioles during the month of April; but Orioles catcher Matt Wieters got off to an uncharacteristically fast start hitting .338 with 4 homeruns and 15 RBIs. The Orioles finished the month with 11 wins and 12 losses.
MayTommy Hunter started the season as the Orioles closer and was successful in 11 of his 12 save opportunities, but he blew 2 consecutive saves on May 10 and 13 and then was placed on the 15-day disabled list. On May 11, the Orioles placed catcher Matt Wieters on the disabled list. Wieters was hitting over .300 and would ultimately be lost to the team for the entire season. The Orioles finished May with 15 wins and 15 losses but moved up to 3rd place in the American League East. The one bright spot in an otherwise mediocre April–May was the torrid hitting of new Oriole Nelson Cruz; by May 31 Cruz led all of MLB with a staggering 20 home runs and 51 runs batted in.
JuneOn June 6, the Orioles lost to the Oakland Athletics, 4-3 in 11 innings, dropping them 6 and 1/2 games out of first place. It would be the farthest out of first that the Orioles would be all season. Adam Jones batted .348 with nine homers and 20 RBIs in June. Utility player Steve Pearce, who had appeared in only 3 games for the Orioles in April, batted .361 in June with 5 home runs and 13 RBI's. The Birds finished the month with 16 wins and 12 losses, trailing the first-place Blue Jays by one game.
JulyOn Saturday July 5, the Orioles split a double-header with the Boston Red Sox and moved into sole possession of first place in the American League East and would remain in first place for the rest of the season. By the All-Star break, the Orioles had increased their lead to 4 games and three Oriole players were voted by the fans to the American League squad: Matt Weiters (his third), Adam Jones (his fourth) and Nelson Cruz (his third). This marked the first time in club history that three Orioles were voted onto the American League squad in consecutive years. By the end of the month, new Oriole closer Zach Britton had 11 saves for the month and the Orioles led the American League East by 1.5 games.
AugustOn August 9, reserve catcher Caleb Joseph hit a homerun in the Orioles' 10-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals; making him the first Oriole's catcher to homer in 5 consecutive games. Orioles 3rd baseman Machado injured his right knee on an awkward swing against the New York Yankees on August 11. After going on the disabled list and trying to rest his knee, he decided to have his knee surgically repaired thus ending his season. Oriole shortstop J. J. Hardy batted .322 for the month with 5 homeruns and 18 RBI's. First baseman Chris Davis filled in for Machado at third and hit 7 homeruns with 17 rbi's for the month. The Orioles ended the month of August with four consecutive wins; increasing their lead in the American League East to 9 full games over the second place Yankees.
SeptemberThe Orioles started the month with a 6-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins but still maintained an 8 and 1/2 game lead over the second place Yankees. Newly acquired outfielder Alejandro De Aza also started the month with the Orioles and before September was over he would hit 3 triples, 3 homeruns, drive in 10 runs and bat over .300. On September 7, the Orioles beat the Tampa Bay Rays 7-5; Nelson Cruz went 4-for-5 with two home runs and 7 RBIs. On September 12, Orioles' first baseman Chris Davis was suspended for 25 games for testing positive for amphetamine. Davis claimed he tested positive due to the use of adderall—for which he previous had a "therapeutic use exemption" but did not have for the 2014 season.
On Tuesday, September 16, the Orioles clinched the American League East Championship by beating the second place Toronto Blue Jays 8-2. The Orioles had not won an American League East title since 1997 and Tuesday marked the first time since 1969 that the Orioles won a division title in front of their fans at home. Steve Pearce, who had replaced Chris Davis at first base, blasted a three-run homerun off Toronto right-hander Drew Hutchison to give the Orioles a 3-1 lead in the first inning. Oriole right-hander Ubaldo Jiménez, who hadn't been in the starting rotation for a month, picked up the win. On September 25, the Orioles gave up a walk off hit to Derek Jeter in his final game at Yankee Stadium. The Orioles finished the season with 211 homeruns. 2014 is the third consecutive season the Orioles hit more than 200 homeruns and the first time in franchise history that they did it 3 years in a row. The Orioles 401 walks were also the fewest walks as the modern Orioles and their 44 stolen bases were their fewest since 1961.