With apologies to The Allman Brothers, The Kevin Gausman Shuttle headed Southbound again, this time picking up Christian Walker, whom the Baltimore Orioles recalled from Norfolk this morning after last night’s loss, and then optioned again after today’s game.
The club hoped Walker would answer a team-wide failure to hit with runners in scoring position on this road trip. They were hitting .125 in those situations, .212 overall, and were averaging just over three runs in the five games on the trip, which they matched in today’s 5-3 loss. It concluded a 1-5 road trip. Walker was the DH, hitting fifth against the Twins.
He has batted .266 with 20 doubles, five home runs and 28 RBIs in 78 games with the Tides. He’s hit in 12 of his last 14 games, batting .328 (20-for-61) with three home runs, seven RBIs and five multi-hit games.
He’s gotten well against lefties, carrying a .306/.348/.482 slash line with 26 hits, three home runs and eight RBIs in 85 at-bats this season. The Twins started lefthander Tommy Malone today, and Walker got a hit in three trips.
The real surprise was Chris Davis hitting second, where, according to masnsports.com, he had hit three times before in his career. We’ll attribute that move to a managerial attempt to get things going just by trying something different.
In the third inning, Steve Pearce tripled with none out, Walker drew a walk, and J.J. Hardy grounded into a double play, scoring Pearce. The run finally broke the RISP doldrums. A wise man once said the journey of a thousand miles begins with but a single step, and it seems to translate closely enough. I had to borrow the line because the wise man wasn’t me.
On a defensive note too significant to ignore, Ubaldo Jimenez kept the Twins off the board in their half of the third with a nifty, over-the-shoulder grab of a blooper just behind the mound with runners on second and third, ending the inning.
The wise man may have been Buck Showalter, considering Davis went 3 for 4 with a solo home run hitting second. The Walker Experiment lasted nine innings, as he was sent back to Norfolk after the game.
Other than for his bat, he was brought up to take the roster spot of Nolan Reimold, whose wife gave birth and who is on paternity leave. Reimold is expected rejoin the team Thursday, when the team is off before taking on the Nationals at Camden Yards this weekend.
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