Results tagged ‘ Chris Davis ’
The Baltimore Orioles got themselves off to an early lead yesterday, and starter Kevin Gausman was dealing early. Things appeared to be looking up in this particular game. That is, until they weren’t. Gausman’s line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 5 K.
Gausman mowed Minnesota hitters down, until he started allowing base runners in the fourth inning. This continued into the fifth when Kepler smacked a solo homer, and Wilson an RBI-single. Gausman went from pitching a good game to being on the ropes in a matter of minutes. Later in that inning he loaded the bases, and Cave scored on a wild pitch. One inning later Wilson’s RBI-double would give Minnesota a 5-3 lead.
The timing of the Minnesota run does play a role, as it was the second (and third) time through the order. Gausman fooled them the first time through, but they apparently picked up on something he was doing, and he couldn’t replicate that. Late in the game the Birds did try to make a run of it on an RBI-double by Jace Peterson, but it was too little too late.
One thing of interest; anyone who follows the Washington Nationals knows that they were suddenly having their lunch handed to them until the middle of this past week. They held a players only meeting, and since then it’s been smooth sailing so to speak. They even rebounded from being down 9-1 to beat Miami 14-9 on Thursday. Now that in and of itself is probably an anomaly. But that team’s really picked it up since then.
Did the Orioles’ veterans miss an opportunity to do something like that earlier in the year? We know that Buck Showalter held at least one meeting in which the team was in effect rebuked for their poor play earlier in the season. However I’m not talking about him or any of the other coaches. I’m talking about the veterans on the roster; the Jones’, Davis’, and heck even the Machado’s of the world.
Granted, we don’t know that anything like that never happened. It well could have, although usually when players only meetings occur in sports they’re publicized in the media. (This so fans get the message that the players are trying to do something to fix the problem.) Again, something along these lines could have happened, and it just wasn’t made public.
But let’s assume that it didn’t; why didn’t it? There was certainly a point very early on this season when it was obvious that something was going south, and perhaps an opportunity existed to right the ship. I can’t tell you what goes on in these meetings, because I’m not a player. I can’t even tell you how effective they are overall – because I’m not a player. However I tend to think that perhaps an opportunity was lost there if in fact there was nothing like that arranged. And if something did occur, it was ineffective.
And here’s another point; far too much is still being made about Showalter not using Zach Britton in the 2016 AL Wild Card game. Many fans point to that as the moment things started going south for the Orioles. Now seriously I want people to think about this; does it really make sense that Showalter’s decision in one game (albeit a big one) in October of 2016 is causing Chris Davis to strike out so much? Or errors in the field?
National media reports have said that players lost faith in Showalter after that. I maintain that had I been Showalter I would have considered the same move. What if you get the lead later in the game and you need your closer but he’s already been used? Obviously hindsight is 20/20, but at the time I didn’t feel it was the worst thing.
That aside, if one decision in one game forces players to lose faith in a manager who’s done more for this franchise than anyone else in recent history, I’m not sure what to say. It comes off as a little fickle to me. Furthermore let’s say that they have lost faith in Showalter. Again, is that in and of itself causing strikeouts and errors? Are guys purposely goofing off in a sense BECAUSE of Showalter?
The answer to that has to be no. Even if faith was lost in their leader, I think these guys are still professionals. They still play with pride in a sense, and are doing everything they can to win games. For whatever reason, they’re just falling short.
The O’s will try to salvage one game in this series in the finale this afternoon at Target Field. Alex Cobb gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Minnesota’s Jake Odorizzi. Game time is set for just after 2 PM.
Chris Davis has been a topic for the Baltimore Orioles this year for all the wrong reasons. Offensively he’s fallen off the map, although he’s been marginally better since sitting out for eight games. Marginally better. But for the most part his defense has been solid – until today, that is.
The Orioles started Yefry Ramirez, who did what a started is supposed to do; he put his team in a spot to win. He didn’t get the quality start because he didn’t go six innings, however he certainly pitched a quality outing today one way or the other. Ramirez’s line: 5.0 IP, 1 H, 2 R (1 earned), 2 BB, 4 K. Again, quality start or not, Ramirez mowed ’em down while he was in this afternoon’s Fourth of July game.
The O’s took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third when Adam Jones split the defense in the power alley in left center, allowing a runner to score from first base. And that lead stood up for a couple of innings. Oriole pitching held Philadelphia in check for the most part in this series. They’re a high-powered team, but the O’s held them in check.
But some things can’t be helped on the part of a pitcher. Ramirez put two runners in scoring position in the last of the fifth with one down. Alfaro grounded a routine ball to Chris Davis at first base. For a split second, that appeared to be a key out for the Orioles. Because the runner at third wouldn’t have been able to advance, and it would have been the second out. The O’s were probably poised to walk the next hitter to get to the pitcher, Nola – which would have been all but a sure out.
However the ball slid under Davis’ mitt at first, and into the outfield. Two runs scored, and Philadelphia took the lead at 2-1. Now as has been said all season, things happen with runners on base and when the ball’s put in play. However that’s a play that has to be made on Chris Davis’ part. This isn’t to say that Davis is now a poor defending first baseman either, because I don’t think that’s the case. I think he made a bad mistake, which led to things going south in this game for the Orioles.
Philadelphia would add a two-run homer by Williams in the last of the seventh, and the O’s never threatened after that. Wins and losses are always a team effort. So again not all of this should be put on Chris Davis. However a mistake like that does tend to stand out, especially when it directly relinquished the lead to the opponent.
You had to believe that the baseball God’s were smiling on the Baltimore Orioles for once when Chris Davis smacked a three-run homer to give the Birds the lead in the last of the eighth. It felt like the type of death blow that AL East teams can often shove in your face, and furthermore all the Orioles had to do was record three outs to win the game. But they forgot one thing; they were playing baseball’s newest version of the comeback kids who refuse to lose.
Alex Cobb got the start for the Orioles last night, and with somewhat mixed results. Cobb’s line: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 1 K. That stat line doesn’t look great, and it isn’t. But Cobb recorded some quick outs in his outing. He was pitching-to-contact – and it just so happened that Seattle was all about making contact.
The Orioles took an early 2-0 lead off of another Danny Valencia home run in the first inning – this one of the two-run variety. But in a harbinger which pointed to the end of the game, Seattle inched back in with a second inning solo blast by Healy. One inning later Span’s RBI-single tied the game at two. Seattle’s the type of team that you really have to put away good in order to beat. But they’re also the type of team that refuses to be put away. Kind of a catch-22.
The Orioles did get the lead back, however. Mark Trumbo‘s RBI-single put them ahead 3-2. A second run scored on an errant throw, and Trumbo took second. When the smoke cleared, it was 4-2. Not only that, but the Orioles caught Seattle in a mistake. Surely since the Orioles can’t seem to shake their mistakes, Seattle must be the same – right? That mistake must stick in the backs of their heads and make them crazy…they’re only human, right?
That’s the thing about teams like Seattle. They put things like that out of their minds fast. Whereas the Orioles would probably let a little thing like that linger in the backs of their minds for the rest of the game, Seattle shook it off quickly. Healy’s sac fly-RBI in the fifth cut the lead to one, and Zunino’s two-RBI single later in the inning gave them a 5-4 lead.
Interestingly, Buck Showalter walked Gamel to get to Zunino – who had been struggling at the plate. It was the smart move with two outs, even though it loaded the bases. Yet it backfired. This isn’t a reflection of Showalter, who mind you is a brilliant manager. As I said, walking Gamel was the smart thing to do from a baseball perspective. However it was also a look back at the 2014 ALCS in which the Orioles “wheeled and dealed,” while the opponent (Kansas City in that case) just sat back and literally did nothing. They let the Orioles make the moves. And while all of those moves showed baseball savoir faire, they didn’t work. Point being, is it better to just let the game develop as opposed to wheeling and dealing your way through games with IBB’s, matching up, etc?
With Seattle still leading 5-4, Davis’ aforementioned homer gave the O’s a 7-5 lead. And it was a blast, folks. The only question was whether it would stay fair. It curved around to the left of the foul pole, and landed well past the right field grandstand onto Eutaw Street. Davis actually had a good night at the plate (and a great night in the field), producing a base hit against the shift earlier in the game. But that home run was as big as they come…
…until it wasn’t. With Britton on for the save, surely this game was in the bag, right? It certainly looked that way. That is until Seager’s two-run homer tied the game at seven. There was a sense of are you kidding me? written on the face of almost everyone in the ballpark. Usually you get a dramatic home run like what Davis produced in the end of a game and it’s over. Not with Seattle. It’s one thing to play until the last out. It’s another to literally know that you’re going to win regardless of what the opponent does.
And sure enough, Span’s sac fly-RBI in the 11th won it for Seattle. I don’t want to say that this type of game is typical for the Orioles, although they once again let an opponent take what was theirs. But in reality it was typical of this Seattle team. This is how they win games. They aren’t flashy or powerful. They probably wouldn’t have smacked that three-run homer like Chris Davis did. But they find one small opening to win a game, and they find a way to leap through it.
Chris Davis only had one hit this afternoon for the Baltimore Orioles in Atlanta. However it was a big one, a bases-clearing double with the bases loaded. Davis of course was out of the lineup for eight games, only returning last night. But he does seem to be taking a different approach at the plate, being much more patient and taking what the defense gives him. It just so happens that in that span the defense has given him a homer and the aforementioned bases-clearing double.
The O’s got another quality start today, this time from Dylan Bundy. Bundy’s line: 6.1 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 8 K. I’m not sure that there’s been any pitcher for the Orioles in recent years who’s been as consistent as Bundy’s been through the first half of the season to this point. He had a few real clunkers (the Kansas City game comes to mind), but for the most part he’s been consistently solid.
The Orioles caught a break today, as Atlanta’s starter Teheran did not have a good day. He loaded the bases before even recording an out, bringing Mark Trumbo to the plate. Trumbo sent a high drive to right center, which carried all the way over the wall and out of the ballpark, giving the Orioles a 4-0 lead. Atlanta would get one back on a Markakis RBI-single, and before the crowd had even settled in the Birds led 4-1.
Bundy actually led off the fifth inning with a seeing-eye single, the first hit of his career. One thing led to another, and the Birds had the bases loaded again with Davis coming to bat. And Davis’ aforementioned bases-clearing double broke the game open at 7-1.
But keep in mind, Atlanta’s a division-leading team. It was natural that they were going to make a run at things. Albies’ RBI-single in the fifth cut the Orioles’ lead to 7-2, which was the score when the rains came. The delay lasted twenty minutes, after which Markakis once again made the Orioles regret letting him walk with a two-RBI double. Mychal Givens would also make an errant pickoff throw to first in the last of the eighth which plated a run, but the Orioles closed things down after that.
This was only the second series that Atlanta had lost at home this year, as the Orioles took the first two games. However the story of the game to me is Davis’ resurgence. Again, it’s only two games. But he’s been much better and much more patient at the plate. That’s not to say that he isn’t going to strike out, because that’s the type of player that he is. But if his bat could get back on track just a bit along with Mark Trumbo heating up, the Orioles could at least be more competitive moving forward.
The series concludes tomorrow in Atlanta as the O’s go for the sweep. David Hess gets the call for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Atlanta’s Brandon McCarthy. Game time is set for just after 1:30 PM.
I’m inviting readership to take a break from the doom and gloom of the beginning of the Baltimore Orioles’ season for a moment. Trust me folks, if anything breaks regarding personnel moves from the team, you’ll hear them here. So be ready!
Baseball contracts are famously guaranteed. Many of you have tweeted me and commented ad hoc about how the Orioles should release this guy or DFA that one over the years – currently I’m hearing that a lot about Chris Davis. And those comments are always met with the same response from me: MLB contracts are guaranteed, so the Orioles would not only have to continue paying [insert player name], but any other team could claim him off of waivers – and the O’s would still be on the hook for his contract.
Most of the time that shuts down the argument, although there are some who’ll suggest that paying the guy in question to play for someone else would be money well spent. But in general most people understand what a poor business model that would be. This actually worked to the Orioles’ favor one year, when in 2011 they acquired Julio Lugo towards the end of spring training. Lugo had been traded from the BoSox to St. Louis after being DFA’d, and then was subsequently DFA’d again and traded to the O’s. He played that season with the Birds and was on Boston’s payroll.
From a labor perspective I support the idea of guaranteed contracts. It’s akin to job security. I’d never want to see MLB go to a system such as the NFL, where if you get cut your contract is null and void. I think that’s unfair to the athlete – what’s the point of having a contract if a team can cut you and be done with it?
Obviously in the NFL you still have to abide by the salary cap, and if you cut someone his salary still counts against the cap for that year. However teams are basically forced to keep players who may end up being a dead weight on their books and on their roster. You’re using up a roster spot and spending money on someone who’s probably not helping your club. And it causes bad feelings all around, because usually the guy knows that rule’s the only reason he’s still there.
So what’s the alternative? Using the NFL’s model? No, I don’t think so. First off baseball doesn’t have a salary cap, so it wouldn’t work. (And that’s another story for another day.) However there is a happy medium. If a player gets DFA’d, I agree that his contract should still be guaranteed. So long as he’s a free agent, the original team should be on the hook for his salary.
However, if he gets claimed by another team, let them assume responsibility for the contract. That seems like common sense to me. It also makes teams think twice about whether or not they want to claim someone. That’s not to say that I ever see that happening, but hey you never know – right?!
The Baltimore Orioles are better than 5-13. They’re better than all of the miscues we’ve seen on the field. And they’re better than losing their fifth straight game, this one in walk off fashion in Detroit.
However what we’ve seen is what we’ve seen – through 17 games. But the fact is that most of their struggles quite simply don’t add up. Look back a couple of years at what’s still the core of this team; would one have thought that a team led by Davis, Jones, and Machado be performing like this, and losing games in the manner we’ve seen?
The Orioles got their eighth quality start of the season this afternoon, this time from Kevin Gausman. Gausman’s line: 6.0 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 4 K. Simply put, Gausman deserved better. But the good news for him and for the team overall is that the O’s did in fact manage to put runs on the board today.
Danny Valencia started the scoring off with a solo homer in the second, giving the Birds the lead. However one inning later Detroit followed suit with a solo home run from Candelario, tying the game. But Gausman hung in there, keeping the O’s in the game. And that’s all you can ask from a starting pitcher; that he puts his team in a position to win.
However Gausman would give up an additional solo homer to Cabrera in the sixth which gave Detroit a 2-1 lead. And yes, the Orioles squandered a few chances with runners in scoring position. However Manny Machado would come through in the clutch in the top of the eighth with an RBI-single to tie things back up at two.
The footnote of that sequence was that Craig Gentry managed to get a runner into scoring position by bunting. That’s obviously something we haven’t seen out of the Orioles too much yet this year, however Gentry laid down a great bunt. And in fact, he ended up getting aboard on a throwing error. Sometimes when you simply put the ball in play good things end up happening.
And for once it appeared that the Orioles were going to get fat off of someone else’s mistake. Adam Jones managed to score Gentry on a sac fly-RBI, and before you knew it the Orioles had the lead back at 3-2. And to top it off, Chris Davis would smack an RBI-single to give the O’s an insurance run.
That said, there was something very important about that single, and it’s the type of thing that happens to a team that’s struggling. Davis smacked the ball off of the wall, and it bounced back into play. Had it hit the wall just a little differently, it might have bounced over and been a two-run homer. But it didn’t – remember that.
Following back-to-back singles in the last of the eighth, Darren O’Day gave up an uncharacteristic three-run homer to Hicks, giving Detroit the lead back at 5-4. Ironically, Hicks’ homer smacked against the wall in the same manner that Davis’ single did. However his went over the wall, whereas Davis’ shot bounced back into the field of play. Again, this is the type of cruel irony that befalls struggling teams.
However there is some silver lining in this – the Orioles, while struggling, fought back. Luis Sardinas‘ solo homer in the ninth tied the game right back up at five. And win or lose, those are the Orioles that the fans have come to know – the team that keeps fighting. Unfortunately for the O’s and the fans, Detroit fought also. And being the home team, they got the last at-bat; and that last at-bat was a walk off home run to win the game for Detroit.
It’s too cliché to say this team invents ways to lose games. However while a lot of fans are justifiably frustrated with this team, the fact that statistical means indicate that they’re better than this should give people some hope. 5-13 is a tough hole out of which to dig out. But again, past performances indicate that these guys will snap out of this, which is exactly what Buck Showalter indicated after the game (quote courtesy of Steve Melewski, MASNsports):
You’ve got to stay the tide. When things are going real well, you can’t seem to do anything wrong. Those days are ahead. Those things can happen but you can’t just wait for them to happen. This is a tough level of play, and you’ve got to be clicking on a lot of different areas in order to put together a good string of wins.
Translated: stay the course. As I said, career statistical means indicate that this team is much better than that. It’s easy to fall into the trap of saying that they aren’t with it emotionally or mentally – especially when the results back up that point. But the fact is that what we’ve seen thus far just doesn’t add up or make sense. And unless this is the bizarro world, at some point it’ll have to make sense.
Pitching has been the big talking point for the Baltimore Orioles thus far in the off season. And justifiably so. However there are two parts to any story in sports: both offense and defense. What will the Orioles’ offense look like in 2018?
That question hinges largely on the bat of first baseman Chris Davis. Davis seemingly hit his peak in 2013, when he hit 53 homers with a .286 average for the year. 2015’s 47 home runs at .262 wasn’t shabby either.
We all know what Davis is capable of doing. However last year he only hit 26 home runs, at .215 for the season. That’s a tough drop-off. However it’s also worth remembering that Oriole bats went into a tailspin for much of September last year as well. Not just Davis.
So why would that bode well for 2018? September was the sum of literally everyone on the team pushing too hard – including Davis. That won’t be the case when spring training or the regular season begin. Everyone will have a new slate. However there have been numerous reports of Davis working out, and working out hard thus far all winter. Could that make a difference?
Interestingly enough, Davis has admitted that the shifts which teams play against him have affected him. Although perhaps not in the way that opposing teams would have envisioned (quote courtesy of Brittany Ghiroli, mlb.com):
A lot of it is just the shift. I’ve been shifted since — I can remember — 2011, I think, was probably the year it was the most consistent throughout teams. The last couple years I’ve tried so hard to try to hit against the shift, to play that game with them, that I got away from who I was.
Those shifts are designed to guard where players seem to generally hit the ball. The idea being that someone’s there guarding that spot, and it’ll assist the defense in recording an out. However in that same aforementioned article, Davis also said that he became “too picky” last year, presumably in attempting to defeat the shift:
Last year, I had way too many called strikes. Called third strikes. Way too many counts where I was taking two strikes before I ever took a swing. For me, it’s a matter of being a little too passive or too picky and not trying to capitalize on the pitches early in the count.
In simpler terms, Davis outsmarted himself. He became so ardent in trying to defeat the shifts that teams were playing on him, he was letting good pitches go by – and swinging at bad ones. Ultimately that racked up the strikeouts big time. So in a way it’s an interesting critique on how one lives his life in that you have to be yourself. If you try to become someone other than yourself, odds of failure go way up.
The fact that Davis recognizes his mistakes and is working to correct them bodes well for the Orioles’ offense. As critical as people can be at times, most fans know that when Oriole bats get cranking the ball starts to fly out of the yard. And I’m sure we can expect a lot of that from Davis this year. Teams can play a shift all they want, but if he hits the ball out of the ballpark, it’s meaningless.
Since he won’t be letting pitches go by this year as he did in 2017, we should expect more of that. However it’s not just the home run ball; even if he records a would-be out on the ground, the ball’s still in play. The defense could commit an error, and/or runners could move up. That can’t happen on a strike out. Does this mean that the Orioles’ offense won’t ever struggle this coming year? Not at all; every team does at some point. However the hope is that the lows aren’t quite as low with Davis’ new techniques. And perhaps the highs are higher as well.
On Monday I floated the idea of having Chris Davis play third base starting in 2019 if the likes of Machado are elsewhere. This would allow Trey Mancini to slide into his normal position of first base. It would also allow lots of Machado’s would-be salary to be put into pitching for the ballclub. Needless to say, it’s an option.
The best answer for the Orioles is to have Machado guarding the hot corner on Opening Day, 2019. This leaves Davis at first, and Mancini in the outfield. However could an idea like this combined with outfield depth put the Birds in a bit of a stronger position from which to negotiate?
The Orioles have guys like Flaherty, Trumbo, Gentry, et al, all of whom can play the outfield. So removing Mancini from there, a spot which wasn’t natural to him to begin with, wouldn’t exactly create a hole. If anything it would help plug one. Both Mancini and Davis are first baseman. But Davis is also a decent third baseman. He’s not Manny, but he’s serviceable.
Point being that all of this might well come into the Orioles’ thinking when the time comes. Heck, it could come sooner than we think due to a scenario like this. Might the O’s consider “renting” Machado out for prospects knowing that they have their bases covered (no pun intended)?
The answer to that is anything is possible. And we’re going to find out as we get closer to February.
The Baltimore Orioles had to re-sign Chris Davis when they did. The guy had quickly turned into one of the best power hitters in the game. At the time and still, I thought that was the right move. But was it?
The last four ALCS’ have been won by teams who specialized in small ball. In that mix are the Kansas City Royals, who won it twice. This is not to say that power isn’t a part of their respective games, because it is. It has to be. The home run will always be a part of baseball. But their mentality was different.
If you have the bases loaded and someone grounds into a double-play (with nobody out), teams like the Orioles see that as a loss. They only netted one run when they had a shot at a big inning. And I agree with that type of mentality.
However teams such as Houston or Kansas City see that as a win. Now the opponent has to score two in order to beat you. That’s their mentality, and they stick to it.
These are teams who are also not afraid of giving away outs early in games to score runs. Get ’em on, get ’em over, get ’em in. The Orioles’ philosophy is to get as many people on base as you can and then bring them all home in one fatal swoop. And sometimes that works out, but sometimes it doesn’t, either.
Now with this said, notice I said that the last four American League Champions were small ball teams. Only one of those teams (the 2015 Royals) won the world series. So while small ball might well get you there, you probably don’t want to rely on it in the fall classic. This year, that of course would bode well for Los Angeles.
The Baltimore Orioles had Chris Davis back in the lineup yesterday after he had been ill for a few days. And that helped things offensively, as Davis was able to smack a home run in the game. But even that wasn’t enough, as the O’s fell to an Anaheim team that apparently just wasn’t going to be denied on this day.
Chris Tillman came out of the bullpen to make the start, and with less-than-favorable results. Tillman’s line: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 6 BB, 2 K. The six walks are obviously what sticks out, and the worst part is that the bullpen issued three other ones after Tillman departed. Anaheim was just very patient yesterday, and they all but mandated that the Orioles throw the ball over the plate.
Anaheim took the lead in the second inning on a solo home run by Calhoun. One inning later it was 2-0 after Pujols’ RBI-single. And this is how it’s been all series long for Anaheim. They’ve never had more than a two-run homer, and they never mustered anything that in theory cleared the bases. But a solo homer here and there or an RBI-single all added up eventually.
The Birds would get back into it in the last of the third when Davis launched a solo homer of his own, cutting the lead to 2-1. However rather than spark the Orioles, things stayed right where they were for a few innings. And it was Anaheim who eventually extended their lead – on a sixth inning two-run homer by Simmons.
However that in and of itself seemed to inspire the O’s to come back. Jonathan Schoop‘s two-RBI single in the last of the sixth cut the Anaheim lead to 4-3. Later in the inning Mark Trumbo‘s RBI-double tied the game, giving the O’s a chance to win. However it was Anaheim with the late heroics this time around. Following a couple of walks, Maybin’s RBI-single gave them a 5-4 lead, which stood up until the end.
And as I’ve said previously, when you get guys on base you really never know what’s going to happen. That’s why issuing walks is so dangerous. While it in essence serves the same purpose as a single, it gives the team at-bat a bit of an advantage in that they have a leg up on the pitcher in terms of his control.