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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

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