Results tagged ‘ Chris Davis ’

Baltimore Orioles: Big seventh inning lifts Birds in Seattle

We hear teams like the Baltimore Orioles say all the time that you want to stay out of the big inning. That’s very true – when you’re in the field, that is. When you’re at bat, you certainly want a big inning. And last night Alex Cobb was the beneficiary of a big inning that the Orioles manufactured, on their way to a 5-3 victory in Seattle. Cobb’s line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 2 K.

Cobb gave up a solo homer to Cano in the first inning. Other than that he pitched out of everything into which he got himself. And there weren’t many situations of note, I might add. All he needed was some run support. And he got it in the top of the seventh.

The Birds started off by tying the game on a solo homer by Renato NunezJonathan Villar‘s RBI-single later in the inning would give the Birds a 2-1 lead. Joey Rickard would add a sac fly-RBI, and Trey Mancini‘s RBI-double capped off the inning. When the smoke had cleared, the Orioles led 4-1.

I’m not sure what qualifies as a “big inning,” but four runs is decent enough. And it’s also something that’s alluded the Orioles for much of the season. Not only did it pick up their starter, but the fact that it occurred in the seventh limited the amount of time that Seattle had to come back.

They did net two runs on a force out and throwing error in the last of the eighth, which made things interesting to say the least. However Chris Davis added an RBI-single which acted as an insurance run in the ninth. Seattle went quietly in the last of the ninth to close out the Orioles’ 5-3 victory.

This was a good win for a young team to grind out. It’s unclear whether or not some semblance of this group is going to be the lineup into the distant future. Heck, it’s unclear if this group is going to be the lineup going into spring training next year. But they showed some grit in battling in this game the way that they did.

They also showed some spark in that seventh inning in terms of putting some runs on the board. Alex Cobb wasn’t perfect, but he put his team in a spot to win. And finally he was rewarded. For what it’s worth, with this victory the Orioles have officially surpassed the 1962 Mets’ win total. In other words, they won’t challenge for the worst record ever over a 162-game schedule.

The O’s will attempt to take the series from Seattle this evening in the finale at Safeco Field. Andrew Cashner gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Seattle’s Mike Leake. Game time is set for just after 10 PM.

Baltimore Orioles fight hard but fall to New York

It’s tough to fault the Baltimore Orioles for losing to the creme de la creme teams when they fight hard. And that’s exactly what they did last night against New York at Camden Yards. Alex Cobb turned in a quality start, but ultimately it wouldn’t be enough. Cobb’s line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 6 K.

It was Chris Davis who gave the Orioles the lead early on. The Birds got a couple of runners on base early, and Davis’ two-RBI single gave them a 2-0 lead. And that held up for a couple of innings, that is until Voit smacked a two-run homer in the third to tie the game.

The frustrating part about Voit and his production last night is that he’s one of these “never before heard of” guys. He came to New York in a minor deal with the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29th – a deal that barely got a sentence in reporting it. Yet here he is tearing up the Orioles last night.

The Birds however would break the tie in the last of the seventh with a two-run homer off the bat of Jonathan Villar. However of course New York would come back immediately – of course they did. From the Orioles’ standpoint at least. Torres’ two-RBI single in the eighth inning tied the game back up at four. The O’s were able to get the lead back, but in their next immediate turn at the plate New York tied it back up.

And New York’s coup de grace came after the game went into extra innings. They smacked two homers in the top of the tenth inning, including a two-run shot by Voit. Again, the guy was traded in a very minor move to New York, and here he is ripping up the Orioles. Voit is in his second big league season; yet he smacked two homers against a team he’s never faced, and in a park at which he’s never played. That’s about par for the course for the Orioles this season.

Chris Davis would smack a solo homer in the last of the tenth, but it was too little too late. Again, it’s tough to fault the Orioles in a game whereby they fought hard. Especially against a team that has it’s sights set on the post season. But them’s the breaks, as they say.

The series continues this afternoon at Camden Yards with game one of a doubleheader. Jimmy Yacabonis is coming up from the minors to make the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by NY’s J.A. Happ. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Chris Davis leads Birds over N.Y. Mets

Chris Davis had to have been tired of being mentioned in a negative light for the Baltimore Orioles. It’s certainly been a tough season for everyone involved, however for none more so than Davis. But at least for one day he could go to bed knowing that he made a difference for his team in a positive manner.

Andrew Casher even stuck around long enough to get the win, which is more than many Orioles’ starters have done of late. Cashner’s line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 3 K. The Orioles gave Cashner the lead in the fourth inning on a sac fly-RBI by Mark Trumbo. However one inning later New York got twin RBI-singles and took a 2-1 lead. Were the Birds getting nitpicked to death again?

And the answer was no. Adam Jones tied the game with a solo home run in the sixth inning. And one inning later that brought Davis to the plate, and he connected with a solo homer of his own. That gave the Orioles the lead bad at 3-2. And it would be a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.

Later in that seventh inning the O’s would also get an RBI-single from Renato Nunez, as well as a two-run homer from Tim Beckham in the eighth. Frazier’s RBI-single in the ninth would cut the Birds’ lead to 6-3, which ended up being the final. With the win, the Orioles snapped a five-game losing streak, which incidentally included that four-game sweep over the weekend at the hands of Boston.

You always hope for the player’s sake that something like hitting the go-ahead home run is going to break Chris Davis of his poor season. However at this point odds are against that. But Davis is still churning away as best he can for this season, and in fact he probably does have the right mental approach (quote courtesy of Zachary Silver, mlb.com):

I think it’s really about taking it one at-bat at a time. Not getting too high or too low. Not trying to hit a home run, but just going up there and trying to be a hitter. I think it’s too easy a lot of times to get caught up in the negative and sometimes even to get caught up in the positive and let your guard down. For me, I want to finish up strong. I want to work on some things and go into the offseason with a head of steam.

The series with the N.Y. Mets concludes this evening at Camden Yards. Dylan Bundy gets the starting assignment for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s Zack Wheeler. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Mistakes cost the Birds

In the nightcap of yesterday’s doubleheader, the Baltimore Orioles paid dearly for mistakes. Chris Davis made a base running gaffe (possibly twice over) early in the game, which cost the Orioles a run. And later on, we saw a fairly inventive strike zone by the home plate umpire that could have helped squash an Oriole rally.

Yefry Ramirez got the start, and delivered another outing with mixed results. Ramirez’s line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 5 K. Not a horrible outing, however the Orioles seems to be set on Ramirez only pitching five innings or so. Either that, or that’s all Ramirez is capable of pitching at this point.

Renato Nunez‘s RBI-double in the last of the second gave the O’s a 1-0 lead. One inning later the O’s would extend that lead to 2-0 on Trey Mancini‘s RBI-single. However it was what occurred in the wake of that Nunez double in the second that was an issue. Later in the inning with Davis on third and nobody out, Mullins grounded out in the infield. The infield was back, which indicated that Boston was giving up a run in favor of an out.

Davis could have and would have scored on that play. But…he froze at third base. And to top it off, the next hitter popped out in foul territory. Davis possibly could have tagged up and scored from third with one out. But again…he froze at third base. The Orioles should have netted an extra run in some manner during that sequence.

And in typical fashion, Boston made the Orioles pay. Martinez smacked a solo homer in the fourth, and Butler tied it in the fifth with a sac fly-RBI. Boston would later take a 3-2 lead in the sixth on a wild pitch.

However Joey Rickard gave the Orioles the lead back in the last of the sixth with a solo homer. But Boston answered – Martinez smacked his second homer of the game in the eighth, this one of the two-run variety. And they added on, thanks to Holt’s ninth inning RBI-single. The Birds mounted a late rally that included a Mancini ninth inning solo homer, but it was too little too late. The Birds fell 6-4.

The O’s appeared poised to rally in the last of the eighth. They had two outs and two runners in scoring position. Jace Peterson was at the plate; he took a 2-1 pitch that looked to be about a foot off the plate…and it was called strike two. Peterson and the entire Orioles’ bench seemed fazed by that. The next pitch (on 2-2) was to the exact same spot, and Peterson swung and missed, ending the inning.

That one strike call changed the potential of the inning. Peterson went from being in control of the at-bat, to in essence being on the ropes. If you combine the potential of what could have occurred there with the missed opportunities to score in the second, the outcome of this game could have been very different. Buck Showalter addressed Chris Davis’ base running after the game (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

Yeah, Chris knows that. I was trying to get an explanation from Bobby (Dickerson. I don’t know if they thought the pitcher was going to cut the ball off. Great job by Cedric. What a great at-bat. You’re getting ready to have a man at third and one out and he executed it fine. Chris just got a bad read on it.

The other one, Bobby said that they thought it had a chance to fall and they respected Betts. In fact, some people might tell you he might have been out anyway if he tagged and went, but I don’t know. I haven’t looked at it. But Bobby said that from his perspective they felt like the ball had a chance to be fair, even though it ended up five or six feet foul. But every ball that stays in the air very long, you expect Betts to catch. But it’s a situation we’d like to score a run there. We should.

The series with Boston concludes this afternoon at Camden Yards. Alex Cobb gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Chris Sale. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Chris Davis rocks the yard as Birds win third straight

Based squarely on league play yesterday, you’d have no choice but to say that the Chris Davis contract was a good signing by the Baltimore Orioles. Whether it was or wasn’t is up to the beholder; Davis has struggled this year. This much we know. But he’s shown signs of breaking out a bit of late. That was certainly true yesterday.

Dylan Bundy dominated Tampa hitters in yesterday’s game, becoming the third straight Orioles’ starter in as many days to post a win. Bundy’s line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 7 K. Bundy had good control, and was hitting his spots in the zone. If anything he was hitting his spots too much, as the three runs he gave up were solo homers. But with that said, it’s tough to argue with seven strikeouts.

The O’s had runners at the corners with one down in the last of the first, and Trumbo grounded into a force out which scored a run. However credit Adam Jones with half of that run, as he slid hard into second base to break up the double-play. It wasn’t a dirty slide or an attempt to intentionally injure someone, it was just a good clean – but hard – slide. And it netted the Orioles a run.

Tampa presumably would have turned a double-play if not for that slide, which would have ended the inning. And seeing that Chris Davis smacked a two-run homer following that play, you can partially credit Jones with that as well. Little things like that in games do matter. All Jones was trying to do was to keep the inning alive. When the dust cleared, that hard slide assisted the Orioles in netting three runs.

And it’s a good thing that they were able to put those runs on the board,, as for a moment it appeared that Tampa was going to make a game of it. Cron smacked a solo homer in the second inning. He would also smack one in the fourth. However between those two homers, Jones would net an RBI-single for the Orioles. Austin Wynns‘ would also homer in the last of the fourth (a play that was reviewed for fan interference and upheld), and the O’s held a 5-2 lead.

Jace Peterson‘s RBI-double in the fifth seemed to break the game open a bit, however Tampa still had a slight window. Bauer’s solo homer in the sixth inning kept the Orioles thinking that they needed more runs with a 6-3 lead. So they decided to keep scoring…as has been the case for most of this series. They truly busted the game open in the seventh with Jonathan Schoop‘s three-run homer, running the score to 9-3.

Tampa attempted to make the game not as crooked as it looked with two runs in the eighth. But the Orioles got those runs right back on Davis’ second home run of the game – another two-run shot. And the Birds went home with an 11-5 victory.

This series won’t be anything more than a footnote in a season that faded to black a long time ago. However for once it was the Orioles seemingly “getting well” against a hapless team. The Birds have played some bad teams this year, series’ in which one might argue that they could seemingly correct themselves. But instead it was those teams “getting well” against the O’s. Whether it was Oriole mistakes or bad bounces, somehow the opponent would find a way.

But in this series it was the Orioles finding a way. Detractors will say now that the pressure’s off a bit they’re finding themselves, however wins are still wins at the major league level. Does Chris Davis’ two homer effort make up for how things went in April and May? Not really. But it meant something for yesterday’s game.

Almost immediately following the game the Orioles announced that they had traded reliever Brad Brach to the Atlanta Braves for $250,000 in international signing bonus slot money. For what it’s worth, it’s the first time in the team’s history that they’ve ever done that. As we know they’ve dealt international slot money before, but never acquired it.

I’ll be honest; I’m not so sure the Orioles didn’t sell low on Brach. Granted he’s had his struggles this season, and international signing money is the way of the future. (The Orioles are expected to sign some players on the international market as soon as this week.) But I’m of the impression that players are better than slot money. I would have expected the O’s to get perhaps a low level prospect in return for Brach. But I’m old school, as has been said ad hoc. Needless to say, at least they got something for another piece.

Baltimore Orioles: Could the players have been more accountable?

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.

The O’s manufactured a run early in the first inning, scoring on an RBI-groundout by Manny Machado. Later in that first inning Chris Davis smacked a two-run homer. And as I said, things looked up.

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.

Baltimore Orioles: Chris Davis gave a little too much brotherly love

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.

The Orioles will now head to Minnesota for a four-game set. Andrew Cashner gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Minnesota’s Aaron Slegers. Game time is set for just after 8 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Defeat from the jaws of victory

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.

The series concludes this afternoon at Camden Yards. The Orioles will start Jimmy Yacabonis, and he’ll be opposed by Seattle’s Mike Leake. Game time is set for just after 3 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Chris Davis heating up as Birds take Atlanta series

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.

Baltimore Orioles: Does an aspect of MLB’s collective bargaining agreement hurt team’s chances?

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?!

%d bloggers like this: