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May 7, 2012

What You Need to Know

Monday, May 7

by Daniel Rathman

The Weekend Takeaway
Everyone loves a good dose of weird baseball, and that’s precisely what fans at Fenway Park were treated to on Sunday afternoon. The Orioles capped off their first sweep of the Red Sox in Boston since 1994, but that does not even begin to describe what transpired on Yawkey Way.

In one of the most bizarre goat-to-hero stories you will ever see, designated hitter Chris Davis hit like a pitcher… and then pitched like one, too. Davis began the afternoon by collecting a platinum sombrero, added a double-play ball in his sixth at-bat, and wound up 0-for-8 by the time the 17-inning marathon was over. But with the media preparing to make Davis the butt of many a Monday joke, Davis put the joke on the hometown nine, hurling two shutout innings to earn the win.

Not weird enough? Well, the losing pitcher for the Red Sox pinch-ran and scored the tying run nine innings earlier to set up the madness. That would be Darnell McDonald, who assumed the designated hitter role from David Ortiz and found himself on the mound in the top of the 17th, when Adam Jones took him deep for a three-run shot to put the O’s up 9-6. Naturally, McDonald also found himself at the plate representing the tying run with one away in the bottom of the frame. And while he failed to pitch like a pitcher, he certainly hit like one, grounding into a double play off his DH-turned-P counterpart.

Still unimpressed? Here’s the topper: After the dust settled, the 19-9 Orioles flew back to Baltimore with the best record in baseball.

What to Watch for on Monday

  • There are scattered thunderstorms in the forecast, but if the weather holds up, the White Sox and Indians will play two at Progressive Field (1:05 p.m. and 7:05 p.m. ET). Zach McAllister will make his 2012 debut for the Tribe in the matinee, and he’ll be tasked with slowing down a surging Adam Dunn. The 32-year-old slugger has raised his OPS from 589 on April 17 to 962 heading into Monday’s twin bill, mostly by drilling four homers in his last five games.
  • The Marlins and Astros are the only teams in the National League with seven wins in their last 10 games, so it’s fitting that they should clash to begin the week. Coming off consecutive sweeps in San Francisco and San Diego, Ozzie Guillen’s squad is a perfect 6-0 to start its nine-game road trip, and Giancarlo Stanton has awoken with five homers in his last eight games. The Astros, though, have won each of Wandy Rodriguez’s past three starts, and the lefty hasn’t served up a gopher ball in 38 1/3 innings this season. Immovable object meets unstoppable force tonight (8:05 p.m. ET).
  • The last time Jered Weaver faced the Twins, the result was a no-hitter—one that scarcely seemed in danger from beginning to end, with nine strikeouts and a host of routine fly balls sprinkled throughout the play-by-play. Tonight (8:10 p.m. ET), Weaver gets the rare opportunity to face the same team in his very next outing. Could an encore be in the offing?
  • Matt Kemp was out of the starting lineup on Sunday after going hitless for just the third time in 22 games on Saturday, and he flied out as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning. That brought his average down to .388, the lowest it has been since April 10. Not to worry: A date with Barry Zito is next on the Dodgers’ schedule (10:10 p.m. ET), and this photo truly says 1,000 words about Kemp’s relationship with Zito—a relationship that includes 20 hits and seven walks in 54 plate appearances. Kemp’s average should be back over .400 in no time.

Daniel Rathman is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Daniel's other articles. You can contact Daniel by clicking here

8 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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tim270

I've been watching baseball for a quarter of a century and that Bos-Bal might have been the most unique game I've ever seen. The Sox rallied from a 5-0 deficit, and tied it w a Grand Slam, and nobody's even mentioning that- that should tell you all you need to know concerning what came next. The O's got the leadoff man on in 4 consecutive extra innings, 12-15th, and promptly hit into DPs every inning. There was the great relay throw from Jones to Hardy to Wieters to nail the runner at the plate. The great play by Pedroia in short right field. Betimit inexplicably getting nailed trying to steal w a position player on the mound who's just thrown 5 consective balls to start the inning (although, in hindsight, maybe he was just avoiding another DP), and Davis, getting out of the jam in the 16th w the great play at the plate, and then putting the first two on in the 17th, before K-ing Gonzalez on a surprisingly competent split change, and getting the DP groundout to end it. Weird, weird, wacky, great game!!

May 07, 2012 02:56 AM
rating: 8
 
jhardman

Chris Davis - monster.

May 07, 2012 07:29 AM
rating: 2
 
Lou Doench

I am seriously happy to see Adam Dunn back on track. Whatever was wrong with him last year, he looks like his old self again. He should walk away with comeback player of the year.

May 07, 2012 08:30 AM
rating: 4
 
Johnson Magic

It's always nice to get the win in your MLB (pitching) debut. Hats off to Chris Davis.

To also record six Ks is even more impressive. Never mind that five of those came as a batter...

May 07, 2012 09:14 AM
rating: 2
 
tim270

He actually got 7 K. 5 as a batter and 2 as a pitcher. Live in shame Salty and Gonzalez. His stuff wasn't that bad- honestly. I firmly believe that if he'd come up through somebody's system as a P, he could've been a ML P.

May 07, 2012 09:17 AM
rating: 0
 
NYYanks826

His changeup was faster than Jamie Moyer's fastball. The dude is Brooks Kieschnick with power!

May 07, 2012 14:19 PM
rating: 2
 
jb13

Almost lost over the weekend was Felix Hernandez one-hitting the same Twins. But since it's King Felix, and more importantly, it's the Twins, I guess that's not really newsworthy after all!

May 07, 2012 11:08 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Daniel Rathman
BP staff

Between the Orioles-Red Sox insanity and Bryce Harper stealing home, lots of things were buried. I was actually watching that Twins-Mariners game and, around the seventh inning, I forgot all about Denard Span's single and thought Felix still had a no-hitter going. Didn't realize until I looked up the box score when Eric Wedge pulled him.

May 07, 2012 11:16 AM
 
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