BALTIMORE – The Baltimore Orioles play the second game of a four game set against the Chicago White Sox Tuesday night at Camden Yards as Jo-Jo Reyes makes his first start as an Oriole. Baltimore native Gavin Floyd will be making the start for the White Sox in his hometown.
Chris Davis is back in the lineup hitting 5th and playing 1B, which is welcome news for him to say the least. Davis has the final two months of 2011 to show Buck Showalter and the rest of the decision makers in the organization what he can do with the hopes of securing a spot on the team in 2012.
Buck was asked if these final two months will be a big enough sample size when the time comes to evaluate Davis’ performance.
“I think so,” Showalter said. “It gives you a pretty good sampling…I don’t think there’s anyone here sporting the background of minor league numbers like Chris. But, it’s minor league numbers. We’ll see. It’s the biggest jump in sports. The good thing about Chris is there are four sports you could put him in and he’d be an above average defender, so that’s exciting.”
Also in the lineup tonight is Vladimir Guerrero as he assumes his normal role in the cleanup spot. Guerrero, by all accounts, has been a tremendous disappointment for the Orioles after they gave him $8 million to be the big power bat that they have been missing for several seasons. As of Tuesday, Guerrero has hit just 9 HR’s while posting a career low .389 SLG and .700 OPS; and those career lows are by wide margins.
Buck Showalter was asked if he has considered moving Vlad out of the cleanup spot.
“I have,” Showalter said. “He obviously hasn’t been as productive as you’d like to see hitting in that spot in the order. If you look at some of our options, I know one I’ve considered; a couple. We’ll see. It is something I have considered.”
From being in the room, it was obvious that Showalter was treading carefully when discussing Vladimir Guerrero. This guy has a Hall of Fame track record and he is highly respected among his peers. Moving Vladimir Guerrero down in the order would be a big story, and I get the sense that Showalter doesn’t want to hurt his pride or create any sort of tension or awkwardness in the clubhouse.
That being said, Buck knows he has an obligation to the rest of the organization and Orioles’ fans across the globe to put the team in the best position to win, and right now it’s becoming increasingly obvious that Guerrero in the cleanup spot does not do that.