Throwback Thursday: Baltimore Orioles complete 2014

Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Today is of course the day that it all unofficially begins – pitchers, catchers, and injured players report to spring training for the Baltimore Orioles in Sarasota. The guys who are reporting today will be with the team from now until at least the beginning of October. The first workouts on the field at Ed Smith Stadium will be tomorrow, and the off season kind of unravels into the return of MLB from there. However today is also another special day: Throwback Thursday!

One of the more unhearalded moments in the 2014 season was the final game of the regular season itself, a 1-0 win in Toronto. In a nutshell, Jonathan Schoop‘s home run in the fifth inning attested for the lone run of the game, and Miguel Gonzalez shut down Toronto’s bats – for all five innings he pitched.

Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Buck Showalter made it very clear going into this game that he was looking at it as a way to get work for a few different guys. In fact, at the time the Orioles were still in the process of finalizing their post season roster, so this was one final opportunity to look at various players. Ubaldo Jimenez obviously didn’t make the roster for the post season, although he struck out the side in the one inning he was in the game.

However more than anything else, this served as a pick-me-up of sorts for the team. They came into the game on the heels of a modest three-game losing streak, including having lost two to Toronto the two previous days in dramatic fashion. For a team going into the post season, the last thing you want to do is finish with a thud in the regular season. Add to that the fact that it was a division game and a close one at that, and it comes out as a big victory.

As soon as the game ended, I remember tweeting how I felt that this was a big victory for the O’s, as it allowed them to return to Baltimore on a high note and await ALDS game one which was set for the following Thursday at Oriole Park at Camden Yards against Detroit. Luckily we’ll never know how the post season would have turned out had the O’s actually lost that game. For all we know they would have finished by winning the World Series. But the fact remains that it was a game with no stakes for the most part, but which ended up being a big win of sorts for the O’s.