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.
Baltimore Orioles’ manager Buck Showalter has at times (over the years) used the term someone’s eventually going to pay when describing struggling teams. Mind you, this could mean the Orioles or any other team that’s struggling. Basically he’s saying that the team’s too good for them to eventually not break out.
Last night, it was Texas who “paid” for the Orioles’ struggles of late.The Birds seemed intent on making mincemeat out of Texas, and the final score of 12-1 reflects that. The O’s got a second consecutive quality start, this time out of Dylan Bundy. And ironically, Bundy gave up a solo homer to Texas’ Choo on the second pitch of the game. But that was Texas’ lone high point last night. Bundy’s line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 K.
While trailing ever so briefly, the O’s got right at it in the last of the first. All that jazz before about the O’s not holding their opponents accountable? They sure did last night – again, because Texas paid the piper for the Orioles’ struggles. Schoop’s two-RBI double gave the Orioles the lead. And they never looked back.
Following Schoop with the Birds leading 2-1, Chris Davis got out of his funk and smacked a two-run homer to give the O’s a 4-1 lead. Later in the inning Mancini got into the act with a two-run shot of his own, running it to 6-1. One had the feel that the competitive portion of the game was over at that point, although the Birds were just getting warmed up.
Come the fourth inning, the Orioles loaded the bases with Davis coming back up. And he got into one again, hitting a grand slam that gave the O’s a 10-1 lead. Machado would add an RBI-single in the sixth, and Smith a solo homer in the eighth.
This is not to say that all of the ills facing the O’s right now have been cured. You still have to take one game at a time, and you still have to continue this moving forward. This game was big mainly for the power that the Orioles flexed, however it’s also noteworthy because it was the second consecutive game that they got solid starting pitching. You’re only as good as your next day’s starter.
Many people however will point to this game as another problem given that it plays into the narrative that the Orioles rely too much on the home run ball. Maybe they do, although a few of those runs were scored off of non-homers. But ultimately you win games however you can, and as I said and as Buck’s said…eventually someone was going to pay.
Unless you count Chris Davis going 0-for-4 as Delmarva’s DH last night in his final rehab start, there’s not much going on for the Baltimore Orioles. I wouldn’t worry too much about Davis not hitting minor league pitching. Rehab starts are all about getting back into the groove of playing, and making sure that the player feels okay physically. Davis will be playing first base for the Orioles tomorrow night when the season resumes.
But with the league in essence shut down, there was an interesting situation last week down in D.C. regarding a weather delay. Fans will remember that the Orioles themselves were the “victims” of a rain-out a Nationals Park in May, on a night when it was barely raining. It had rained all day, and in buckets at that. But when 7 PM came around, it was merely a light drizzle.
Similarly last week, Washington delayed the start of their game against Atlanta due to the potential of a system being in the area. Long story short, it rained for about 15 minutes total, and the game began just after 10 PM. For much of the delay, the field wasn’t even covered.
In the Orioles’ case, the idea that Washington did this as a matter of gamesmanship was insinuated lightly. In essence it was “hinted at.” But Atlanta came right out and said that they think it was handled the way it was as a matter of gamesmanship. Now on one hand, weather isn’t an exact science, and teams can only use the information that they’ve given. That should go without saying. But on the other hand, due to the way the rules are there is the chance that a team could do that.
In the Orioles’ case I don’t think there was any other reason to reschedule the game than a wet field and less-than-ideal conditions. Because the way it was rescheduled had Washington surrendering their off day following a long west coast trip. Not exactly ideal for the home team.
But that aside, the issue in my mind is that in all weather delays, the decision is literally left up to the home team. That is until the umpire says PLAY BALL! Once that happens (in essence once the game starts), delays are decided by the umpiring crew – mainly the crew chief. I would submit that should be the case uniformly and across-the-board.
I believe that cancellations are decided upon by the two teams and the umpiring crew, however the simple act of delaying the start of the game is up to the home team. I suspect that most teams do consult with the visitors and perhaps even the umpires as well in these cases, however the decision soley rests with the home team.
MLB needs to change this so as to avoid the semblance of a team delaying a game and hoping for a cancellation for selfish reasons. Regardless of the motives, Washington really botched this situation last week. They didn’t communicate at all with fans other than saying thanks for your patience, and by the time they finally saw fit to start the game, most fans were literally at home in bed.
Removing the home team from this decision and resting it with MLB would alleviate situations like these. Washington isn’t the only team that’s had this happened. Numerous teams have lengthy rain delays only to start the game well after it’s scheduled time. But perhaps the league making that decision would add just a bit of common sense to the mix.
Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles reported to Nymeo Field (known to those of us of a certain age as Harry Grove Stadium) in Frederick yesterday afternoon to play first base for the Frederick Keys. In doing so, Davis began his injury rehab assignment to work his way back to the Orioles.
In five plate appearances, Davis went 1-for-4 with a double, a walk, and a run scored. Many fans are going to point to the fact that he struck out twice (once swinging), and wonder what the heck is going on to where he can’t even hit single-A pitching. However keep in mind that these rehab starts aren’t so much about statistics as they are just getting back into the groove of playing, and ensuring that there are no medical setbacks.
Davis of course has been on the DL since June 13th with a strained oblique. He’s expected to report to single-A Delmarva for a rehab assignment on Wednesday evening. If all goes well there, odds are he’ll be the starting first baseman for the Orioles on Friday night when the schedule resumes and the Chicago Cubs come to town.
Incidentally, this rehab start for Davis was kind of a big deal to the locals. The Keys played a getaway day matinee yesterday which started at 2 PM. In general, you might have a few hundred people at a game like that in the minors. The ballpark was packed yesterday with 4K+ people. So when a player of Davis’ stature comes for a rehab assignent, it’s often a boom for the farm team.
The Baltimore Orioles may have lost first baseman Chris Davis last night in yet another loss – 10-7 at the hands of lowly Chicago. Make no mistake about the fact that while they’re struggling, the Orioles are a good team. They have too much talent to be playing the way that they are. And they will snap out of it; they just might have to do it without Davis for awhile.
Wade Miley struggled yet again, becoming only the latest Oriole starter to make an early exit. Miley’s line: 2.1 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 0 K. Chicago was able to take a 2-0 lead on the last of the second on a two-run homer by Smith, and an inning later it was 3-0 after Abreu’s RBI-single. Add in an RBI-double and another RBI-single, and the Birds trailed 6-0 after three.
However the good news for the future is that the O’s put up a fight at the plate. They did score seven runs in this game, which indicates some life in their bats. They just need to compliment that with decent or even passable pitching. Smith’s RBI-double in the fourth cut the lead to 6-1, which was followed by an RBI-single by Jones.
However Chicago quickly put two more runs on the board, and a third in the last of the seventh on a Davidson homer. Just to show how badly the Orioles are struggling right now, one of the aforementioned runs came as a result of Smith flat out whiffing on a line drive hit to him in right field. He was in line to catch the ball, and the lights obstructed his vision and he missed it – runner ended up at third base.
But again, the O’s tried to get back into the game. Kim’s RBI-single in the eighth cut the lead to 10-3. Mancini then smacked a three-run homer later in the inning which brought the Birds to within 10-6. An RBI-single by Schoop in the ninth brought it to 10-7, but the O’s couldn’t complete the comeback any further than that.
Again, this team will snap out of their funk. Right now people are marveling at how a team like New York can be doing what they’re doing and so forth. ALL teams go through periods like this over the course of 162 games. At some point the Orioles might find themselves clicking on all cylinders and New York might struggle. That’s how the season ebbs and flows, and it’s part of the game. Even though they fell, the Birds put seven runs on the board, which indicates that perhaps the offense is coming around.
Before the game even ended the Orioles announced that Chris Davis had a strained oblique. He’s getting an MRI today, however don’t be surprised if he lands on the DL. It’s never a good time to have injuries, however they all seem to be hitting this team at once. But again, that’s part of the game.