If you had to pick which player would be the first to strike out five times in a game this season “someone on the Orioles” would be a pretty good guess.
Mark Reynolds led the league with more than 200 strikeouts in each of the past three seasons and leads the AL with 170 this year, but surprisingly he’s never whiffed five times in a game and instead it was teammate Chris Davis who took a Platinum Sombrero today against the Yankees.
Of course, Davis’ career strikeout rate of one every 3.1 plate appearances is nearly identical to Reynolds’ one every 3.0 plate appearances. Davis just hasn’t had the same number of chances because he hasn’t hit as well as Reynolds.
In whiffing five times today Davis became the first player with a five-strikeout game since Ryan Howard on August 24 of last season. He had a sixth at-bat in the 11th inning and fell behind in the count 0-2, but grounded out to second base with the bases loaded.
Sammy Sosa is the all-time leader with four such games, followed by Ray Lankford with three and nine different players with two apiece (including active hitters Jim Thome, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rios, and Andruw Jones).
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.