Chris Davis is known for many things. Towering home runs, playing first base well, and setting record-long hitless streaks are all among them.
What isn’t among them is pitching, yet that’s what he was tasked with doing Saturday night.
In Game Two of the Orioles’ doubleheader with the Twins, Baltimore’s pitching staff was rocked. They allowed 15 runs in the first eight innings of the game, and after 17 innings pitched on the day, manager Brandon Hyde didn’t want to tax his bullpen any further.
He turned to Davis, who last pitched in 2012 during a 17-inning marathon in Boston. Davis didn’t allow any runs that May afternoon seven years ago, giving him a career pitching WAR of an astounding 0.2.
His last appearance was so successful that in his offseason arbitration negotiations, long before his current 7-year, $161 million deal, Davis asked for a small fraction of his contract to specifically be designated for his pitching prowess.
He wasn’t as successful in his outing against the Twins. Considering his first appearance was on the road, maybe now he fully understands why pitching at Camden Yards is so difficult?
In one inning Saturday, Davis allowed two hits and one earned run. More importantly, he recorded a strikeout, the third(!!) of his career on the mound.
Davis may have struggled at the plate in 2019, but at least he never struck out against someone whose job has nothing to do with striking batters out.
Saturday’s games marked the first return to Camden Yards for former Oriole Jonathan Schoop, a fan favorite over the years at second base. Funnily enough, the sole earned run Davis allowed came off a monstrous home run from Schoop.
Considering their long relationship as teammates, it’s no surprise the two were laughing together as Schoop trotted around the bases.
Apparently, Davis just can’t win this season. First he sets an ignominious record at the plate, and now that he’s finally heating up with the bat, he loses his incredible mojo on the mound.
Hopefully his luck on the mound turns around like it has with the bat. And yes, that means we are very, very interested in more Chris Davis pitching appearances. In a rebuilding season with 100+ losses a distinct possibility, who wouldn’t want more fun like this?
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