There it went, on a 3-2 pitch, after Adam Jones had played into Oakland’s strategy by taking that long swing of his and popping up with the bases loaded. There it went, over the 388 sign, a grand slam off the bat of the Baltimore Orioles’ Chris Davis.
The A’s liked their chances of pitching to Jones after intentionally walking Gerardo Parra, but Davis made them pay and sent the Orioles to a series win. The other thing that soared through the air on that 3-2 count was Davis’ salary potential. He has done what the Orioles had faith he would do, bouncing back in all the offensive categories.
That of course includes strikeouts, at which he leads the major leagues with 135. But that comes with the package. Hey, some of those K’s were because Davis took a two-strike pitch he shouldn’t have, but some were because the umpire blew the third strike. The production is still worth a smile.
Davis will effortlessly clear 30 homers on this trip and maybe even this weekend, and he’s cruising to a 40/100 season with an average about 50 points higher than last season. At some point he’ll slow down again, but the now is pretty good. It’s funny how last season at about this time, I remember hinging the team’s second half performance significantly on his numbers, and he fell flat, yet they made the playoffs with him sitting out September on suspension.
In due course of time, the club’s decision will be whether, and how much, to pay Davis, Matt Wieters, and Manny Machado, although Machado’s year of freedom doesn’t come up for a while. Signing him to an extension sooner will save money in the long run, so the wisdom often goes.
Now it’s on to Anaheim, where Jones as well as several Orioles have typically been productive. Even if Mike Trout and Albert Pujols are currently in slumps, it is wishful thinking to say they don’t always induce fear.
Also worrisome is Chris Tillman‘s ankle sprain. He is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA in four career starts against the Angels, and he’s allowed one run in 14 innings at their place. The unsettled debate in America today other than among last night’s Republican presidential candidates is whether Tillman will start Sunday in Anaheim or Monday in Seattle.