The year 2023 is coming to a close, with the time now here to celebrate the arrival of 2024. Despite winning 101 games in the regular season, the hope is that 2024 ends in a better fashion for the Orioles than 2023 did, with the team falling flat in the playoffs.
Since the Orioles won 101 games, there was still plenty of excitement during the season for the team and the fans to bask in and enjoy. In the spirit of the new year, let's look back at our favorite games of the past year. What better way to do that than with a round table? The Birds Watcher team got together and chose our favorite games of the 2023 season. Without further ado, here they are!
Joshua Davis, contributor
My favorite game for the season was the September 17th walk-off win against the Rays. It proved the Birds were going to win the AL East before they clinched it a week and a half later. Most pundits had Tampa Bay winning the series and clinching the top spot, but they underestimated the O’s young squad.
After going behind twice the Orioles would walk it off in the bottom of the 11th. The win gave Brandon Hyde and the boys a firm advantage over the Rays, and it would lead them to the best record in the American League
Cameron McGuire, contributor
Favorite game: Friday, May 5th @ Atlanta.
When thinking about my favorite game this season, many great wins come to mind- after all there are 101 wins to choose from. However, three games immediately popped into my head and I wanted to choose a game that no one else would. The first two games that I think of are the game in which we clinched a Postseason berth in the walk-off win over the Rays or the 14-1 win over the Yankees in July.
However, I chose this game because it was the game that proved that the Orioles were a legitimate threat this season. The O's came into the game with a 21-10 record but mostly beat up on struggling teams like the Royals and A's. This game and series was a litmus test for the O's and they proved their worth with a 9-4 win.
The moment from this game that pops out is a grand slam from Anthony Santander in the seventh inning as the O's scored seven runs that inning to take a 9-1 lead. Dean Kremer also had a great start with only one run given up in six innings. Of course, the Orioles lost the next two games to the Braves but this game and, specifically, that seventh inning proved that this team was the real deal and could be a threat in the AL East and in Major League Baseball.
Vitor de Sousa Silva, contributor
Game 157: Orioles 1, Nationals 0.
A special game for me. It's not a slugfest or clinched something, but an eternal reminder of Brooksie. He passed away hours before the game and it was the first game without him. A 1-0 score by a solo shot by Gunnar, the third baseman.
A fun fact: Brooks holds the record for the most RBI (10) in 1-0 score games. A game with special details to celebrate Brooks' legacy. Forever Mr. Oriole.
Brian Barr, contributor
My favorite game this season was May 20th in Toronto.
After taking an early 2-0 lead against the Blue Jays, Orioles pitchers Grayson Rodriguez, Bryan Baker and Mike Baumann surrendered five consecutive runs and the Orioles were down three with only two innings remaining. The Orioles were able to get two runners on base but Toronto turned to their closer, Jordan Romano, to face Ryan O’Hearn and try to get the final out of the inning.
In a power vs power battle, O’Hearn took a 2-2 offering from Romano and blasted it 406ft over the right center field wall to tie the game. The Orioles went on to win the game 6-5 in 10 innings with Felix Bautista pitching the final two innings for the O’s. This was a huge game for the Birds as it secured the series win in Toronto and gave them a ton of momentum. It was also the breakout game for O’Hearn, who finished that game 3-5 with four RBI’s, on his way to a career year.
Justin Long, contributor
My favorite game this season was July 30 against the Yankees.
Prior to their game on July 30th, the Orioles hadn't hosted a game on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball since 2018. The lack of media coverage came with the franchises' struggles in recent history, but this game signaled the turn of the tide for the O's. In one of their best seasons in team history, the Orioles were awarded a primetime game.
The team and the city didn't disappoint. It was a sold out stadium and the fans were given quite the show. By the time the Orioles reached the 7th hitter in their lineup, the team had scored 6 runs and recorded zero outs. The scoring was highlighted by an Adam Frazier 3-run home run, making it 6-0.
The first inning would end with Adley Rutschman's second hit of the inning, resulting in a 7th run. The O's would go on to get a statement 9-3 win, at home, on national television. This was one of my favorite games of the year because it was a clear indication that the Orioles are back to being a juggernaut in the best division in baseball (and there's also nothing better than crushing the Yankees on national TV).
Michael Najarian, site expert
Like Joshua, my favorite game of the season was September 17 against the Rays.
This game simply had it all. It was a hard-fought battle against not only a division rival in the Rays, but the Orioles top competition for the AL East and the number one seed in the AL by proxy. With the Orioles having already lost the first two games of the four game set, this win was crucial so as to not lose the series.
With such an important game taking place, both teams played like it too. So many momentum swings and so much passion was on display all game long. While the Orioles ultimately ended up clinching a playoff spot during the game thanks to the Texas Rangers loss, they won the game anyway with a walk-off, setting off a much more fun celebration for their first trip to the postseason since 2016.