VIDEO: Chris Davis connects for a pinch-hit walk-off home run vs. White Sox

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When asked why he was held out of tonight’s starting lineup against the White Sox, Orioles slugger Chris Davis told reporters that it was “probably because I’ve been sucking lately.” He has to feel a little bit better about himself right now.

Davis delivered a pinch-hit walk-off three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning tonight to lead the Orioles to a dramatic 6-4 win over the White Sox. Chicago’s closer, Ronald Belisario, was protecting a one-run lead to begin the inning, but he quickly got into trouble after giving up a leadoff single to Steve Pearce and hitting Adam Jones with a pitch. He struck out Nelson Cruz for the first out, but Davis pinch-hit for Delmon Young and sent the Camden Yards faifthful home happy with this blast to right-center field:

Davis entered tonight’s action with just four hits in his last 36 at-bats. Talk about your slump-busters.

Must-Click Link: “Skunk in the Outfield”

Associated Press
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Sam Miller of ESPN has an amazingly fantastic story today. It’s about a high school tournament baseball game in Rhode Island in 2006. It’s not your typical game story or oral history or look-to-the-past-to-see-the-future kind of thing. The only nod to such conventionality is mention of the fact that former Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland played in the game. That’s mostly a footnote.

No, the article is about a trick play — “skunk in the outfield” — concocted by one of the coaches. About how it played out and what went into it before, during and after it happened. Along the way Miller talks about the nature of trick plays and offers a good three dozen amazing insights into the psychology of young baseball players and the strategy of baseball as it unfolds in real time.

Each of these observations could anchor its own story but here they form a grand mosaic. And that’s only mild hyperbole, if in fact it’s hyperbole at all. Indeed, most treatments of such a play would be some video clip with a “wow, look what happened here!” sort of couching. Miller gives a more than ten-year-old trick play an epic treatment that is every bit as enlightening as it is entertaining.

Set some time aside to read this today.

Rubby De La Rosa to undergo a second Tommy John Surgery

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This is unfortunate: Diamondbacks reliever Rubby De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be the second Tommy John procedure of his career, the first coming back in 2011.

De La Rosa has had elbow  issues for his entire career. Last year his UCL was barking again and he underwent stem cell therapy to try to avoid a second surgery, but it obviously hasn’t worked out. He’s pitched in only nine games this year, allowing four earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out 12.

I first saw De La Rosa in spring training in 2011. I thought his stuff was pretty phenomenal and figured he’d be a good one. Great stuff is often a function of heavy strain on an elbow, however, and pitchers breaking is, unfortunately, the rule in baseball far more than the exception.

He’ll miss a year at least. We likely won’t see him until spring of 2019, most likely on a minor league deal.