Tag Archive | "MLB"

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Clock ticking, price rising for Orioles to re-sign Davis

Posted on 16 August 2015 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — The most surprising aspect of the Orioles’ record-tying 26-hit showing in an 18-2 win over Oakland on Sunday was how little the white-hot Chris Davis factored into the demolition.

It was still a good afternoon for the first baseman as he went 2-for-5 and drove in his league-leading 89th run of the season as the Orioles won their third straight game over the Athletics, but his performance paled in comparison to what we saw in consecutive walk-off wins on Friday and Saturday. After hitting a go-ahead home run in an eventual 13-inning victory in the series opener, Davis followed that feat with a two-homer game on Saturday, including the winning blast in the bottom of the ninth.

To put it mildly, the 29-year-old is seeing the ball well these days with an incredible 15 home runs in the last 23 games entering Sunday’s action. It’s a stretch reminiscent of what he put together in 2013 on his way to a club record 53 long balls.

Davis is now on pace to hit 47 home runs, the kind of territory no one expected him to reach again after he hit an anemic .196 and just 26 homers last season.

“Anytime you’re swinging the bat well, you feel good about where you are,” Davis said on Saturday night. “I try not to read too much into it. I know as quickly as it comes, it can go. You just try to take it one day at a time and stay with your approach.”

After Davis’ nightmarish 2014 ended prematurely with a 25-game suspension for unauthorized Adderall, some questioned whether the Orioles even should have tendered the 29-year-old a contract in his final year of arbitration. It was fair to question whether Davis would be worth $12 million following a season in which he hit rock bottom on the field and in the public eye.

A reasonable expectation for Davis laid out over the winter was a return to his 2012 level of production in which he hit 33 homers and drove in 85 runs with an .827 on-base plus slugging percentage. If he wasn’t as bad as he was in 2014 and not as great as he was two years ago, the truth fell somewhere in the middle, right?

But in a contract year, Davis has already outdone those 2012 numbers with 34 home runs and an .895 OPS, to go along with a very respectable .261 batting average in 473 plate appearances. The higher average is especially impressive when acknowledging the extreme infield shifts continuing to be employed against him.

“He’s done this before,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He had good periods last year, he had good periods the year before, and over in Texas. The thing I’ve been most proud of is where his batting average is.”

Despite much handwringing over Davis’ strikeout totals and low average, Showalter’s assessment of the slugger’s run in Baltimore is spot on. There has been far more good than bad in Davis’ four full years with the Orioles as he’s homered at least 33 times in three of those seasons.

In a pitching-rich era in which offense is at a greater premium, can the Orioles afford to let Davis walk away this offseason? Part of a free-agent-to-be trio that includes left-handed starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen and catcher Matt Wieters, Davis now appears to be the most appealing of the three to keep in Baltimore for the long haul.

The slugger says he isn’t dwelling on his future right now.

“I’d love to stay here,” Davis said. “I told you guys in spring training I wasn’t going to talk about contracts this year. We have way too much on our plate right now [and] too much to focus on. I feel like it’s selfish for me to sit here and talk about my future with the team when we’re trying to make the postseason. We’ll address it when the time comes.”

The excuses are plentiful for why the Orioles won’t do it.

Even if Davis cools considerably over the final six weeks of the season, the left-handed hitter would likely command the richest contract in club history.

It will be a headache negotiating with super agent Scott Boras.

The memory of his poor 2014 and his Adderall suspension are examples of his baggage that will always be in the back of your mind.

Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette dragged his feet over offering Nelson Cruz a fourth year last offseason, but Davis is nearly six years younger and has hit more homers than the former Oriole over the last four seasons. In addition to age, Davis brings more value defensively with the ability to play both first base and right field at a solid level.

At a forum with Orioles season-ticket holders on Saturday, Duquette said the organization wants to re-sign Davis this offseason and indicated that he would be a priority. It’s clear at this point that Davis won’t be cheap, but his strengths are worth having with no acceptable replacement at first base waiting in the wings.

With some high salaries coming off the books this winter, the payroll flexibility will be there — if the Orioles choose to use it — to make a serious run at keeping Davis.

But the price continues to climb with every mammoth home run.

If you’re going to pay a premium for any of the Orioles’ big three free agents, Davis is the clear choice, even with his sometimes-frustrating flaws. It will be intriguing to see what the rest of his season brings as the Orioles try to qualify for the postseason for the third time in four years.

“It’s just words right now,” said Davis of Duquette’s comments on Saturday. “My focus is on the field trying to do everything I can to help us win a game.”

Just words, indeed, as Duquette and ownership will have the opportunity to step to the plate to avoid having another slugger walk away.

Fans can only hope the Orioles won’t whiff again, but they have every right to be skeptical after what transpired last winter.

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Another Camden Yards clone, there's nothing really wrong with Turner Field but the Atlanta Braves are dumping it anyway...

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MLB #GiveASpit Ballpark Ranking: No. 26 Atlanta Braves

Posted on 16 August 2015 by Nestor Aparicio

Two years from now, we won’t have to worry about Turner Field. The legacy of the Braves many accomplishments are but it’s clear they haven’t put any money into most of the stadium since they’ve been attempting (and succeeded) in escaping north to Cobb County. Nice Hank Aaron statues and pitching memories but this is another Camden Yards clone – albeit it a blue one – that is quite sleepy when it’s not boiling in the Georgia sun. Loved the parking lot tributes to the legacy of Hammerin’ Hank but they’re about to blow this operation up and it’s clear there’s not much being left behind as far as romanticism for baseball in downtown Atlanta. I just hope they dig up the Phil Niekro knuckleball statue and get started on the Maddux, Smoltz, Glavine statue. I hope my pal Leo Mazzone somehow gets bronzed along the road to Cobb County, too.

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On Sept. 8-9-10, I will be releasing an extensive essay documenting my 30-30 MLB #GiveASpit journey of 2015. You can read it and all of my work here: http://wnst.net/author/nestoraparicio/

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Sure, it's a short drive from Baltimore to Washington for a National League but why in the world would you bother?

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MLB #GiveASpit Ballpark Ranking: No. 27 Washington Nationals

Posted on 15 August 2015 by Nestor Aparicio

Let me start by saying, “Screw the Washington Nationals.” Hands down, the worst people I dealt with in Major League Baseball. And the stadium isn’t much better. It’s a Philadelphia knockoff and that’s really not saying much. The neighborhood around the place isn’t getting any better as a destination for games. Most Nats fans thought the good news was that the team was going to be decent with a clear commitment to winning. But, then July happened to them in the NL East standings. But the stadium has a plastic feel and kinda makes me want to snooze off. The vibe is reminiscent of everything that went wrong when the Orioles moved from 33rd Street and recruited the wine and cheesers and readers of The Washington Post back in the 1992. Major League Baseball left Washington twice during the decade of my birth and the only thing that brought it back was the ineptitude of ownership in Montreal, combined with the despair and greed of the MLB owners. And a decade later, all of the money is in the pockets of Peter G. Angelos in Baltimore. Mr. Angelos has made $2 billion off MASN and the Orioles since the birth of the Nationals. And the stadium is nothing special, not a place anyone would say you need to see in your lifetime. The only time I’ll enter that place is when the people who mistreated me are fired or gone – or maybe when Bruce Springsteen puts the band back together again and decides to play this place that made Peter Angelos even wealthier. Or maybe if Billy Joel or the Caps come back to play a game. But, the Washington Nationals are dead to me. Looks like they’ll be golfing in October, too. And that won’t hurt my feelings. Hey, I’ve had no problem disliking the Washington Redskins over the past three decades, right? Oh, and their stadium sucks, too…

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On Sept. 8-9-10, I will be releasing an extensive essay documenting my 30-30 MLB #GiveASpit journey of 2015. You can read it and all of my work here: http://wnst.net/author/nestoraparicio/

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LOUGH

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Lough becomes latest Orioles outfielder to be designated for assignment

Posted on 14 August 2015 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — The Orioles continued their purge of disappointing corner outfielders on Friday by designating David Lough for assignment prior to their series opener against the Oakland Athletics.

With Matt Wieters currently nursing a hamstring strain, catcher Steve Clevenger was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk to take Lough’s place on the 25-man roster. Lough, 29, became the fifth Orioles outfielder to be designated for assignment since late May, joining Alejandro De Aza, Delmon Young, Chris Parmelee, and Travis Snider as players who failed as part of the offseason plan to replace free-agent departures Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis.

Originally acquired to replace former Oriole Nate McLouth in left field two winters ago, Lough never established himself at the plate and was relegated to a role as a late-inning defensive replacement and pinch runner for much of his two seasons with Baltimore. The July 31 acquisition of Gerardo Parra made Lough even more expendable because of his ability to back up Adam Jones in center field, a role that he held for the last two years.

After hitting .247 in 197 plate appearances last season, Lough was hitting just .202 in 2015 and was mired in a 2-for-26 slump in early July.

Manager Buck Showalter expressed hope that Lough would remain with the organization and accept an outright assignment to Norfolk if he goes unclaimed on waivers. The Orioles would then consider him for a September call-up.

Clevenger went 5-for-11 in a brief stint with the Orioles earlier this year and has had an impressive season for Norfolk, batting .305 with four home runs, 32 RBIs, and a .769 on-base plus slugging percentage. The organization has also been pleased with his improved defense behind the plate, a weakness of his when acquired from the Chicago Cubs in 2013.

The Orioles have also summoned Norfolk outfielder Henry Urrutia to Norfolk and are expected to activate him for Saturday’s game, meaning another roster move is coming. The Cuban outfielder hasn’t played for Baltimore since hitting .276 in 58 plate appearances in 2013, but the lefty is batting .292 with 10 homers and 50 RBIs for the Tides this season.

It doesn’t look like the Orioles will make room for Urrutia by placing Wieters on the disabled list as the three-time All-Star catcher said prior to Friday’s game that his hamstring is feeling much better, joking that he’s closed to being back to his normal “slow speed” on the bases. The 29-year-old said he would be available off the bench if needed, but Clevenger being recalled reflects a desire to stay away from using Wieters for at least another day or two if possible.

Right-hander Chris Tillman will complete his bullpen session on Saturday and is still in line to make Monday’s start despite being struck with a line drive on the right triceps during his last start in Seattle.

Right-handed relief pitcher Chaz Roe received a cortisone injection in his right shoulder and is responding well, leading to optimism that he’ll be ready to return after the 15-day minimum on the DL.

Steve Pearce is now taking batting practice in Sarasota as his injured oblique continues to improve. The Orioles hope he can begin a minor-league rehab assignment as early as the beginning of next week.

Right-hander Mike Wright is still feeling “tentative” when running and pushing off with his calf as Showalter did not make it sound like his return from the DL was imminent.

According to Showalter, pitching prospect Hunter Harvey’s throwing program is proceeding well as he continues to throw off flat ground. The organization is deciding whether he will pitch this fall and where that might take place.

Showalter also said that 22-year-old pitcher Dylan Bundy will have an appointment with Dr. James Andrews at the end of the month to determine how his shoulder is progressing after extensive rest.

Right-handed pitcher Tyler Wilson is currently on the minor-league seven-day DL and is improving, but his return from an oblique strain is not considered imminent.

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No-hitter latest symbol of frustration for 2015 Orioles

Posted on 12 August 2015 by Luke Jones

Three clubs with better records than the Orioles have also been on the wrong end of a no-hitter this season, making Wednesday’s loss nothing to be outraged over beyond the short-term embarrassment and attention it creates.

It may be a symbol of frustration for the Orioles and their fans, but the no-hitter isn’t a defining moment of doom considering the first-place New York Mets and the current National League wild cards — Pittsburgh and the Chicago Cubs — were all no-hit earlier this season.

Seattle Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma was sensational in not only pitching the first no-hitter of his career, but it was the 2013 All-Star selection’s first career complete game in the majors. The 34-year-old Japanese pitcher deserves credit for a masterful performance as the Orioles rarely even made good contact in the 3-0 loss at Safeco Field.

It was the first time an opponent had thrown a no-hitter against the Orioles since Boston’s Clay Buchholz in 2007. Before that, it was Red Sox pitcher Hideo Nomo pitching the first no-hitter at Camden Yards in 2001 and Wilson Avarez doing it for the Chicago White Sox in the Orioles’ final season at Memorial Stadium.

Iwakuma was the first non-Boston pitcher who wasn’t making his second major league start — Buchholz and Alvarez each held the latter status with theirs — to do it against the Orioles since Milwaukee’s Juan Nieves pitched a no-no on April 15, 1987.

Beyond its historical footprint, the no-hit effort marked the end of a disappointing road trip in which the Orioles again showed their inability to play well on the road. Despite playing six games against two of the worst teams in the American League, Baltimore only managed a 4-5 record on the trip, bringing its 2015 road record to an underwhelming 25-36.

A win against the Mariners on Wednesday would have only made for a 5-4 trip, but it would have been a winning mark leaving a better taste in the Orioles’ mouths as they enter Thursday’s off-day and prepare to begin an important 10-game homestand this weekend.

Taking nothing away from Iwakuma’s performance, a simple look at the Orioles lineup on Wednesday says it all about how frustrating the offense has been for large portions of the season.

Replacing the struggling J.J. Hardy at shortstop on Wednesday, Ryan Flaherty is now in the midst of an 0-for-33 nightmare. David Lough is hitting .202 on the season and is one of several options in left field offering nothing at the plate. And despite hitting .353 in his first 122 plate appearances of 2015, designated hitter Jimmy Paredes has hit .233 with a .598 on-base plus slugging percentage since May 23.

A club that’s supposed to be contending simply can’t afford to have multiple colossal holes in its lineup, especially when sporting a suspect starting rotation and a suddenly-shallow bullpen.

The math still says the Orioles remain in the hunt in both the AL East and the wild-card race, but we’re still waiting for them to find consistency after 113 games. At this point, what exactly should we expected to change over the final 49 contests?

Whether it was winning 18 of 23 in June or taking seven of eight in late July, manager Buck Showalter’s club has quickly reverted to mediocrity after their hottest streaks of the season instead of steadily earning more victories that defeats like they did over the final three months of 2014. The task of simply winning series — slow and steady wins the race, right? — has proven too much, especially on the road.

Before dropping consecutive games to conclude the Seattle series, the Orioles had alternated wins and losses over the first nine games of August, an appropriate snapshot of what the 2015 club’s identity continues to be.

That of a .500-ish club that just isn’t quite good enough.

Wednesday’s no-hitter wasn’t anything more than what it was in the standings — another loss — but it’s the latest example of frustration in a season full of them.

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Orioles send Roe to 15-day DL with shoulder tendinitis

Posted on 10 August 2015 by Luke Jones

The Orioles bullpen remains in flux as right-handed pitcher Chaz Roe was placed on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis.

Right-handed pitcher Mychal Givens was recalled from Double-A Bowie to replace him as Baltimore began a three-game series in Seattle on Monday night.

Roe is 2-2 with a 3.12 ERA in 34 2/3 innings this season, striking out 35 and walking 13. The 28-year-old pitched brilliantly with a 0.90 ERA in his first 15 appearances since being promoted from the minors in late May, but his 6.14 ERA in 14 2/3 innings dating back to June 30 created cause for concern. He allowed a leadoff double in the bottom of the 11th inning in Sunday’s 5-4 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

After previously pitching in the majors for Arizona and the New York Yankees, Roe signed a minor-league contract with the Orioles last winter.

The 25-year-old Givens had pitched four scoreless innings in two brief stints with the Orioles this season before being optioned back to Bowie to make room for Rule 5 pick Jason Garcia last week, a move met with criticism in the midst of a pennant race. Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said the Orioles traded veteran right-hander Tommy Hunter on July 31 to make room for the talented Givens in the bullpen.

Givens, a former shortstop in the Baltimore farm system, pitched to a 1.73 ERA with 15 saves in 57 1/3 innings for the Baysox this season.

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Sunday loss in Anaheim exposes real concerns for Orioles

Posted on 09 August 2015 by Luke Jones

Some of the Orioles’ biggest concerns were exposed in Sunday’s 5-4 extra-inning loss in Anaheim that prevented a second straight series win on the West Coast.

Much of the focus fell on the 11th inning and Los Angeles Angels outfielder David Murphy’s game-winning hit off lefty reliever Brian Matusz, but that was only part of the story.

First and foremost, a maddeningly-inconsistent offense managed just two runs over the final 10 innings at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on Sunday afternoon. After jumping on Angels starter Jered Weaver for two in the opening frame, the Orioles bats disappeared over the next four innings as the soft-tossing right-hander matched a season high of seven strikeouts in his first start since June 20.

Scoring a single run over their final five frames probably would have been enough for the Orioles to come away with a series win, but the pressure was on the Baltimore bullpen to pitch six innings on Sunday before Murphy finally hit one over left fielder David Lough’s head to plate the winning run with two outs in the 11th.

That’s what brings us to a concern that isn’t helping manager Buck Showalter rest easy in mid-August. Starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez has been an underrated part of the Orioles’ success dating back to the second half of 2012, but the right-hander hasn’t been the same since a stint on the 15-day disabled list in June and again struggled on Sunday, allowing four earned runs and seven hits while lasting just 4 2/3 innings.

Gonzalez had gotten off to arguably the best start of his career with a 3.33 ERA in his first 12 outings of 2015 — he completed seven or more innings in five of those starts — before a groin injury sent him to the DL. Since returning to the roster on June 25, Gonzalez has pitched to an alarming 6.22 ERA in 46 1/3 innings.

On Sunday, he displayed a better-than-normal fastball clocked at 94 mph — making you conclude his problems probably aren’t related to health — but his third inning couldn’t have been more frustrating. With runners at the corners and no outs, Gonzalez struck out All-Star sluggers Mike Trout and Albert Pujols and appeared on the verge of escaping unscathed when he got to an 0-2 count on Murphy. He then grooved a high fastball over the heart of the plate that Murphy sent into the right-field stands for a three-run shot and a 4-2 lead for the Angels.

It was the latest example of Gonzalez making a poor pitch while ahead in the count after earning a reputation for having good command over his first 3 1/2 seasons.

As important as Gonzalez has been over the last few seasons, the Orioles must be growing impatient with his woes over the last six weeks. The 31-year-old has now failed to complete at least six innings in seven of his nine starts since returning from the DL — raising his season ERA to a career-worst 4.45 — and he is putting more strain on a bullpen that doesn’t need it right now.

Gonzalez has a minor-league option remaining, but the best candidate to take his place, right-hander Tyler Wilson, was reportedly scratched from his Sunday start for Triple-A Norfolk with an oblique issue. Showalter and the Orioles will likely lean on Gonzalez’s track record a little longer, but the right-hander must pitch better than what he’s shown throughout the summer.

Even after Gonzalez’s rough day, the Orioles were still right there in the bottom of the 11th, but the decision to activate Rule 5 pick Jason Garcia from the DL and the undermanned bullpen it’s created materialized in a crucial spot. With only Matusz, the seldom-used Garcia, and closer Zach Britton remaining in the bullpen — you could argue Showalter should have gone to his closer despite it being a tie game — Showalter elected to have his lefty specialist intentionally walk Trout and Pujols to load the bases with two outs for the lefty-hitting Murphy.

That strategy was the correct one with Matusz in the game — lefties were hitting .129 against him while righties had a .304 average entering Sunday — but it would have been nice to have had the option of going to a Tommy Hunter or a Mychal Givens against Pujols in that spot instead of loading the bases. The new void in the bullpen is magnified by the recent struggles of Chaz Roe, who gave up the leadoff double to Carlos Perez that became the winning run.

No, a series loss in Anaheim doesn’t cripple the Orioles, but it did expose some of their biggest concerns.

The Orioles could not have anticipated Gonzalez’s problems over the last several weeks, but going with a weaker bullpen is their own choice.

That combination — along with another inconsistent performance by the offense — hurt them in a winnable game on Sunday.

And sitting five games out of first in the American League East and three games behind the second wild-card spot, they can’t let too many more opportunities slip through their fingers.

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garcia

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Orioles activating Garcia puts unneeded strain on bullpen

Posted on 06 August 2015 by Luke Jones

Maybe the 22-year-old Jason Garcia blossoms into an All-Star closer one day.

The Rule 5 pick possesses a high-90s fastball and a promising slider, but future upside is all he offers now as the Orioles entered Thursday 5 1/2 games behind the first-place New York Yankees in the American League East and only a game back of the second wild card. It creates another hole in the bullpen after executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette justified last week’s puzzling trade of Tommy Hunter as a way to create a spot for the talented Mychal Givens, who was optioned back to Double-A Bowie to make room for Garcia on Thursday.

In 13 2/3 innings with Baltimore earlier this year, Garcia pitched to a 5.93 ERA and walked 11 batters before being sent to the disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis in mid-May. The right-hander posted a 4.20 ERA, 14 strikeouts, and nine walks in 15 innings for Bowie during his rehab assignment, which expired on Thursday. The right-hander must spend at least 90 days on the active roster in order to lose his Rule 5 status for next season, meaning the Orioles couldn’t simply wait to activate him until Sept. 1 when rosters expand.

Not only does it reinforce the mixed signals stemming from the Hunter trade that felt more like a salary dump instead of a move to improve a club in the midst of a playoff race, but it’s fair to question whether Garcia’s upside is even worth it in the end.

The Orioles bullpen currently houses Darren O’Day, Brad Brach, and Chaz Roe, who were all obtained for little cost. O’Day was a waiver claim after the 2011 season, Brach was acquired for little more than a spare part in the minors two winters ago, and Roe was inked to a minor-league deal last December.

For an organization showing an ability to find impact relievers seemingly out of nowhere for cheap, is it prudent to essentially play a man down in the bullpen for the next 3 1/2 weeks?

Yes, it’s unlikely that manager Buck Showalter will even entertain the thought of using Garcia in a close game, but T.J. McFarland — or anyone else the Orioles might recall in his place if and when there’s a need for a fresh arm — now moves up the pecking order. The lefty and former Rule 5 selection sports an unhealthy 1.83 WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) in 15 1/3 innings this season.

The trickle-down effect might lead to more strain on the Orioles’ most reliable relievers and could even cost the club a game or two at some point, which is an uncomfortable margin for error in a tight race.

As was the case with the Hunter trade, this may not end up hurting the Orioles down the stretch, but it very well could, making the decision fair to question.

That’s why many fans are once again scratching their heads over a club that traded for a rental outfield upgrade a week ago and is aiming for a third trip to the postseason in four years.

This move may not be a big deal, but it makes contending harder than it needs to be.

You just hope Garcia’s upside is ultimately worth it.

 

 

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Davis quietly continuing bounce-back season

Posted on 04 August 2015 by Luke Jones

A year ago at this time, Orioles slugger Chris Davis was in the midst of the worst season of his career and just over a month away from being suspended 25 games for Adderall use.

The nightmare campaign landed him at an uncomfortable crossroads in his career, but the 29-year-old has responded with a bounce-back season that hasn’t garnered as much praise as deserved. No one should have ever expected Davis to duplicate his 53-homer output in 2013, but a three-run shot in the first inning in Oakland on Monday — his 27th of the season — moved him past his totals for home runs and RBIs from a year ago with still two months remaining in the 2015 season.

Still, Davis’ biggest critics dwell on the 132 strikeouts that lead the majors or a .245 batting average that dwarfs his anemic .196 mark from a year ago but still underwhelms in traditional baseball eyes. Davis isn’t the perfect hitter, but an .834 on-base plus slugging percentage and a pace to finish with 42 homers and 116 RBIs spell out what’s clearly been a good season.

Since May 27, Davis has 19 homers and 52 RBIs to go along with a .269 average and .915 OPS in 254 plate appearances. That type of production over more than one-third of a season is in the neighborhood of what he accomplished in his MVP-caliber 2013. His 31.1 percent strikeout rate is down from last season (33 percent) while he has homered in 6.4 percent of his plate appearances, the second-best rate of his career.

All along, it was a reasonable goal for Davis to bounce back to the level he achieved in 2012 when he hit 33 homers with 85 RBIs and an .827 OPS. He appears on his way to doing that as he’s positioned himself for a nice payday when he becomes a free agent after the season.

Now you only wonder how much of a push the Orioles will make to keep a player on his way to hitting more than 30 home runs for the third time in the last four seasons in a day and age when power isn’t easy to find.

Wilson finds a way

Acknowledging it was a favorable matchup against a punchless Oakland lineup in cavernous O.co Coliseum, you still had to be impressed with what Tyler Wilson accomplished in his second major league start, tossing 7 2/3 innings and allowing two earned runs in a 9-2 victory on Monday.

In 24 2/3 innings for the Orioles this season, Wilson has relied heavily on a fastball with good sink to frequently induce grounders while pitching to a 2.19 ERA. He doesn’t blow you away with a fastball that only averages 90 mph and he hasn’t missed as many bats as you’d like in striking out only 2.6 batters per nine innings, but his control has allowed him to compete as he’s issued five walks in his six appearances in the majors.

It remains to be seen whether Wilson’s stuff will be good enough to sustain success as a major league starter, but the 25-year-old right-hander did a commendable job filling in for Chris Tillman and helping the Orioles get off to a good start on their nine-game West Coast trip.

Road Gausman

It was interesting to hear Kevin Gausman talk about his initial fears as a rookie pitching at Oriole Park at Camden Yards after his seven-inning performance against Detroit over the weekend as he’s now posted a 0.86 ERA in his three home starts (21 innings) this season.

However, he hasn’t found the same success away from his home ballpark, posting a 7.98 ERA in his three road starts spanning 14 2/3 innings.

If the Orioles are to complete a successful road trip and have their best chance to contend over the final two months, Gausman needs to find success on the road like he’s been able to find pitching in his home ballpark.

Joseph benefiting from more rest

Catcher Caleb Joseph hit his ninth homer of the season and drove in three runs on Monday, raising his average to .250 and continuing a respectable season at the plate.

Much was made about the return of Matt Wieters in June, but Joseph has a better on-base percentage (.325 to .292) and OPS (.754 to .733) than the three-time All-Star catcher. Since moving into a part-time role alternating games with Wieters, Joseph is hitting .263 with five homers and 19 RBIs in 86 plate appearances.

Even if they were able to re-sign Wieters this offseason, the Orioles still might be better off trying to find a good backup type of a catcher — think Nick Hundley from a year ago — to pair with Joseph instead of throwing big money at a backstop rapidly approaching age 30 and still not catching consecutive days following Tommy John surgery.

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Tillman’s next start pushed back to Friday

Posted on 02 August 2015 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — After turning his left ankle in Wednesday’s win over Atlanta, Orioles starting pitcher Chris Tillman will have his next start pushed back to Friday in Anaheim.

Rookie right-hander Tyler Wilson has been summoned to Baltimore and will now start Monday’s game in Oakland. The 25-year-old is 1-1 with a 2.12 ERA in five appearances (one start) spanning 17 innings with the Orioles this year.

Tillman’s ankle is improving, but he was unable to complete his normal bullpen day, creating the need to push back his next start. Miguel Gonzalez will start Tuesday’s game against the Athletics with Wei-Yin Chen pitching the finale in Oakland on Wednesday afternoon.

To make room for Wilson, the Orioles could option Mychal Givens or Jorge Rondon. The latter was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk on Saturday after right-hander Mike Wright was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a calf injury.

The Orioles traded away middle reliever Tommy Hunter and designated Bud Norris for assignment on Friday with visions of Wright and Givens picking up the slack in the bullpen.

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