Man On FireFriday, April 05, 2013
He's just a boy but he's on fire.
Hotter than your fantasy (team). Lonely (at the top) like a highway.
This boy is on fire.
He's no Alicia Keys, but Chris Davis had himself an opening series in Tampa Bay. The Orioles won two of three from the Rays, and Davis ended the series 7-for-11 with three doubles, three home runs and 11 RBI. The only thing the Orioles' first baseman didn't do was hurl a complete-game shutout on the mound.
How good was Davis? Evan Longoria said it was one of the best three-game series he's ever witnessed.
"Without Chris Davis we're 3-0," Longoria told the Baltimore Sun. "I’ve seen a lot of guys hit the ball well against us in a three-game series. That’s the most locked in I’ve ever seen anybody."
He's a streaky player, but even this is extreme for the 27-year-old. And while he won't keep this up forever, Davis proved last year that he's capable of putting up big numbers over the course of a season. After several years of taunting teams and fantasy players alike with his prodigious power, Davis put up a .270/.326/.501 triple-slash line over 515 at-bats in 2012. Strikeouts will always be an issue -- Davis fanned 169 times last year -- but the power plays everywhere. Ride this wave while it lasts.
Mo Money? Or Mo Problems?
Speaking of things that won't last, Mariano Rivera began his farewell tour this week. Rivera didn't make an appearance in the first two games of the Red Sox' series with the Yankees, but Mo saw his first action of the season Thursday night.
The results were mixed. He walked the leadoff batter, Dustin Pedroia, before getting Mike Napoli to fly out. In all, Mo threw his signature cutter 19 times, and the one four-seam fastball he threw was hit for an RBI double by Jonny Gomes. But he ended on a high note, striking out rookie phenom Jackie Bradley Jr. looking to end the game.
Damage aside, it was a reassuring outing for the veteran closer. While he's no longer an elite option at the position, the 43-year-old will still provide roughly 30 saves and a strikeout per inning. For his part, Rivera said the save wasn't any different than the 608 that preceded it.
“It just felt like another one,” Rivera told the New York Times after the game.
From one of the oldest players in MLB to one of the youngest, 22-year-old Trevor Bauer is set to make his 2013 debut Saturday in place of the injured Scott Kazmir. Bauer made his MLB debut last season as a member of the Diamondbacks, registering a 6.06 ERA in four starts.
The call-up is interesting in that Bauer didn't have a terribly remarkable spring, allowing 13 runs -- 11 earned -- over 16 1/3 innings. It's more understandable when noting that Bauer is one of the game's best young pitching prospects and the Indians traded an above-average everyday player to acquire his services this winter. The Rays, his opponent on Saturday, aren't a particularly dynamic offensive team this season so he might find some success, but given everything we've seen from him at the major league level until now it's an enter-at-your-own-risk scenario.
National League Quick Hits: Padres second baseman Jedd Gyorko plated the first RBI of his major league career with a double Thursday. The 24-year-old finished the series 3-for-12 (.250) with two doubles and two runs scored ... Dillon Gee allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings against the Padres on Thursday afternoon. Now healthy, the 26-year-old is a candidate to have a breakout year for the Mets ... Shaun Marcum was diagnosed with nerve inflammation in his neck following an MRI. He's day-to-day but no timetable is known for when he might resume throwing ... Chris Young's deal with the Nationals will pay him a prorated $2 million if he's called up, with incentives possibly pushing the deal to $4.7 million. He'll most likely be the first man up should the Nationals need a starter ... David Freese's scheduled rehab assignment was postponed due to rain Thursday, putting his availability for the Cardinals' home opener on April 8 in question ... Cliff Lee allowed just two singles over eight innings against the Braves. He struck out eight and walked none ... Kris Medlen has already lost one more game as a starter in 2013 than he did all of 2012. He allowed two runs over five innings against the Phillies on Thursday ... Carlos Marmol almost blew his second save of the season on Thursday, putting the winning run on with no outs before escaping the jam. The high-wire act will likely give way to Kyuji Fujikawa sooner than later ... Phillies Rule 5 pick Ender Inciarte was returned to the Diamondbacks.
American League Quick Hits: Yankees right-hander Hiroki Kuroda (finger) won't be cleared to make his next start until after he throws a bullpen session today. Kuroda injured his right middle finger trying to barehand a comebacker on Wednesday ... Jose Bautista left Thursday's game after twisting his ankle. He's considered day-to-day ... Andy Pettitte kept the Red Sox at bay on Thursday, scattering eight hits and a walk over eight innings. He allowed only one run ... Casey Janssen earned his first save of the season, striking out two. So far, so good in his return from shoulder surgery ... Vladimir Guererro is back in professional baseball. He signed with the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League on Thursday ... Brian Roberts left Thursday's game with what he described as a right hamstring injury. The guy just can't catch a break ... A's pitcher Travis Blackley was traded to the Astros in exchange for Triple-A outfielder Jake Goebbert. Blackley will pitch in long relief for the Astros in the short term ... Michael Morse hit his fourth home run of the season. He hit nine dingers during spring training.