When he’s not winning games as a reliever, Chris Davis is pretty much known as a home run guy. He hit three of them in a win over Toronto on Aug. 24, and he homered in six games in a row coming down the stretch, helping the Orioles lock up a wild card bid in the process. He ended up with 33 bombs in 515 at-bats for the season. Of his 85 RBI, 55 came on homers.
So, who would have guessed two games into the ALDS, he’d have four hits, all of them singles? One of the two from Monday knocked in two runs and aided the Orioles in defeating the Yankees 3-2 to even up the best-of-five series.
Davis has played in 436 regular-season games since coming up with the Rangers in 2008. He had two singles in 51 of them, so just better than one time every nine games. He did it back-to-back games a total of four times: once in 2008, once in 2009 and twice this May. He’s never had two singles in three consecutive games.
For comparison’s sake, Davis had 144 games of at least two strikeouts. Eliminating the singles requirement, he had 107 games with two or more hits.
What makes Davis’ performance doubly impressive is that he’s had to face CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte the first two games. He doesn’t have a pronounced lefty-righty splits, but as a left-handed hitter, that’s a nice duo to be racking up four hits against. He’ll get to face righties the next two games, with the Yankees slated to throw Hiroki Kuroda and Phil Hughes in New York.
Mark Buehrle last pitched in 2015, for the Toronto Blue Jays. He was still pretty effective and toyed with the idea of pitching last season, but he never signed anywhere and is, for all intents and purposes, retired.
Now at least his number will be retired officially. It will be done by the club for which he had the most success and with which he is, obviously, most associated:
Buehrle pitched for the White Sox for 12 years. He was the model of consistency and durability in Chicago, logging over 200 innings a season in every single season but his rookie year, when he was primarily a reliever. He was a solid defender, a multi-time All-Star, tossed a perfect game in 2009 and helped the Chisox to their first World Series title in 88 years in 2005.
He was also one of baseball’s fastest workers, so I’m going to assume that, in his honor, the number retirement ceremony will last, like, a minute 20, after which everyone can get on with their dang day.
Terry Francona just won the American League pennant, the Manager of the Year Award and his Cleveland Indians will likely be among the favorites to win it all in 2017. Between that and his 17-year track record as one of the best managers in the business, he will have a job, somewhere, for as long as he wants one.
He said yesterday, however, that his body will likely limit how long he manages:
“It gets harder and harder physically. It really does. It takes me longer to recharge every year . . . I’ve had a lot of surgeries, a lot of health problems. It just takes a toll on you. I love [the game of baseball]. I really do, but I can’t see myself doing something else. But there is going to come a day when I feel like I’m shortchanging the team or the organization. That’s not fair.
“Even now, during batting practice, I’ll come in and get off my feet a little bit. I think everybody understands. But when there comes a day when it gets in the way, I’m going to have to pull back, and it’s not because I don’t love managing. You have to have a certain amount of energy to do this job right.”
Francona experienced some chest pains and had an elevated heart rate that caused him to leave a game early last season. In 2005 a similar episode caused him to miss three games while managing the Red Sox. He also has a history of embolisms and blood clots, some of which have hospitalized him.
With multiple World Series rings there isn’t much more in baseball that Francona can accomplish, but here’s hoping he sticks around and accomplishes a lot more before he trades in his baseball spikes for golf spikes and calls it a career.