They only combined for three postseason series in that span and were barely competitive. However, that same period saw two of the greatest players of our generation on the same field at the same time – Mike Trout and Manny Machado. Of course, those two clubs mightily wasted their best weapons in their prime. In the process, they delivered some memorable games.
2013-2019 Baltimore Orioles
Buck Showalter managed the team for most of the decade and led them to playoff games in two different seasons. The Orioles broke through in 2014 when they won the AL East for the first time since 1997 and swept the Tigers before losing to the Royals in seven games in the ALCS. That year, Zack Britton was the man to watch with 1.97 ERA in 76.1 innings as Baltimore’s closer. Nelson Cruz recorded 108 RBI and hit 40 homeruns – a career-best until he built upon that with 41 homers in 2019. The Orioles hit a league-best 211 big flies en route to their latest postseason stint.
Not every year was as optimistic, however. Showalter managed just two more winning seasons and his only other accomplishment in October was a Wildcard loss to the Blue Jays in 2016. By the time Showalter got fired in 2018, the Orioles were plagued by unfriendly contracts (Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo, etc.) and were entering rebuild mode. Two years ago, their record of 47-115 was the worst in franchise history. In 2019, under first-year manager Brandon Hyde, they climbed to a seven-game improvement.
All of this did not go without Manny Machado delivering some memorable moments and statistically flourishing each year until he became one of the best hitters in the game. He reached the All-Star Game four times and was ranked in the top 5 of the MVP award voting in both 2014 and 2015. He recorded career-high 107 RBI in 2018, spending half of the year with Dodgers – marking the end of his time in Baltimore. In February 2019, he signed a 10-year deal with San Diego which was briefly the most expensive in sports history.
2013-2019 Los Angeles Angels
In 2009, in the first-ever MLB Draft in a studio environment, the LA Angels selected a young prospect from Millville, New Jersey, named Mike Trout with the 25th pick. It was a compensation pick for the Mark Teixeira trade with the Yankees. Also, it marked the entrance to the pros for one of the greatest players in history. Trout would go on to generate 72.8 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), the second-most among active players after Albert Pujols, in just nine MLB seasons and at just 28 years of age.
Despite the Angels enjoying their second-best decade in terms of wins, they played beyond the regular season just once. This happened in 2014 when they lost in three games to the future World Series champions Kansas City Royals. LA followed up a strong 2015 with four consecutive losing seasons. The only instance when LA was really within competitive distance late on in the campaign was in a tight 2017 AL Wildcard race.
The head-to-head record
The Orioles and the Angels have played 44 games since the start of the 2013 season. The competitive balance – as close as it gets. Both teams have won 22 games each, with the last 10 tied at 5 wins each and Los Angeles having a slight 12-8 edge in the past 20 meetings. This included a seven-game winning streak between 2017 and 2018. You can confidently state that the rivalry has been one of the most competitive in recent MLB memory.
Of the last 20 games, 15 have finished within a difference of 5 runs or fewer.
August 18th, 2017: Baltimore 9, Los Angeles 7
This is probably the most dramatic piece of history between the two storied franchises. Both sides were making a serious push for the two AL Wildcard spots. The Angels were holding the second postseason berth. Meanwhile, the Orioles were just 3 games behind the Anaheim-based team, so the stakes were higher than ever.
Jeremy Hellickson surrendered 7 runs in 4.2 innings on the mound as the Angels took a 7-5 lead onto the bottom of the 9th at Camden Yards. Keynan Middleton, a reliable reliever with a season ERA of 3.86, allowed singles to Anthony Santander, walked Seth Smith and gave up another hit to Tim Beckham to load the bases. It was at this moment that Machado came at the plate and slammed a walk-off grand slam, one of his most memorable as an Oriole. It was his third homer of the night and made for 26 in total up to that point in the season. The dramatic finish pushed the Orioles just two games behind a postseason spot in what was eventually an unsuccessful effort.
Both Machado and Trout batted second in that game. With Trout recording a hit and Machado three big flies, it’ll go down in history as one of the best showdowns between the two stars.
July 31st, 2014: Los Angeles 1, Baltimore 0 (13 innings)
The game started as a pitching matchup between Tyler Skaggs and Bud Norris for almost five innings. Norris eventually hurled seven scoreless and the Orioles bullpen proved its high-profile place. So did the Angels and the game went into the 13th with both sides tied at 0-0. Good pitching was good while it lasted, and it lasted until Albert Pujols decided to show up.
Pujols drove in the only run of the game in the top of the 13th inning and Huston Street held on for his 28th save of the 2014 season. Both teams won their divisions that year so the battle of titans was more than worth it.
July 29th, 2014: Baltimore 7, Los Angeles 6 (12 innings)
Just two days prior to the pitching masterpiece in Maryland, Manny Machado led off the series with a 12th-inning walk-off solo shot to center field at Camden Yards. His total for the year increased to 11. Meanwhile, Mike Trout went 1-for-4 with a walk and a pair of runs scored.
July 25th, 2019: Baltimore 10, Los Angeles 8 (16 innings)
This game was the longest between the two teams in the 2013-2019 span. However, much more will be remembered from that night.
With the team tied at 8-8 in the top of the 16th, Jonathan Villar gave the Orioles a 10-8 lead with a two-run shot at Angel Stadium. In the bottom of the inning, Baltimore was short on pitchers. Therefore, they had to put in a position player in a save situation. That way, outfielder Steve Wilkerson retired the Angels in a 1-2-3 innings to become the first position player with a save on the mound in Major League history.
Believe it or not, Manny Machado prevailed over Mike Trout. Machado has been spectacular against the Angels since his 2013 debut, batting .309 with a slugging percentage of .544 and 10 homeruns in 35 games. He only has more homers against his now-former division rivals in the AL East.
Meanwhile, the best player in the game hasn’t delivered as much as one would expect against the Orioles. His .279 batting average is subpar for a consistent hitter against mostly mediocre starting pitching. However, Baltimore’s strong bullpen group has suffered at the hands of the Angels centerfielder. He is 3-for-9 against Britton career-wise and 4-for 8 against Darren O’Day, the two main relievers for the majority of the 2010s for the Orioles.
Despite a particularly low average for his standards, Trout has an OPS of over .900 and 10 homers at Camden Yards – more than in any other out-of-the-division ballpark. From an in-depth look, you can see he’s delivered in the power-hitting department while Machado has put on display his gap-hitting skills which he’s been praised for over his career.