Myriad O's Thoughts: Davis' frustration; Cortes' struggles; Bundy's night; record-low crowd - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Dan Connolly

Myriad O’s Thoughts: Davis’ frustration; Cortes’ struggles; Bundy’s night; record-low crowd

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon
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A lot of criticism has been hurled Chris Davis’ way the past two-plus seasons. And I get it. When you get paid a record contract (seven years, $161 million) to perform and you consistently don’t, you’re gonna get crushed (pun intended) by the Orioles’ fan base. By any fan base.

And Davis is particularly hard to watch when he is going poorly – especially with all the strikeouts (and called third strikes).

So, I don’t usually quibble with fan complaints. Davis’ play has earned the criticism.

Although recently — I’d say at least 10 times since the season started — fans have complained to me about Davis’ demeanor. They’ve accused Davis of not caring, of being nonchalant or resigned to making outs.

I don’t really buy it because I’ve been around Davis a lot, and, like most professional athletes, the guy cares about his performance. He probably cares too much. There’s no question Davis gets into his own head when things start to spiral downward.

Caring and not producing are vastly different, however.

So, if you are one of those who want to see Davis show public frustration, you got your money’s worth Monday.

In the third inning, Davis hit into an inning-ending double play. Afterward, he trotted into foul territory, took his helmet off with both hands and slammed it into the ground.

Three innings later, Davis struck out for the second time in the game, and, as he walked away from the plate, snapped his bat over his knee.

How bad was his Monday? Davis also attempted a bunt for a hit in the eighth and directed it sharply back to the pitcher.

A frustrating night with a side helping of frustrating antics from Davis.

“He’s not different. It just happened to be out there where you could see it. If you could see the other seven or eight guys up the runway. … There’s frustration involved,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “Don’t ever assume someone doesn’t care. Chris is frustrated right now. He wants to contribute every at-bat. You can tell, even bunting there. He’s just trying to make a contribution. It’s frustrating for him.”

Yeah, Davis cares. Yeah, he’s frustrated.

Unfortunately, for him – and for the Orioles – his start to 2018 keeps getting worse. Davis is now 3-for-34 (.088) so far this season.

And Monday’s numbers were particularly ugly.

Four at-bats, two strikeouts, one double play, one underwhelming bunt attempt, one slammed helmet and two halves of a snapped bat.

Cortes continues to look overmatched

The Orioles love the idea of having a young, left-handed starter who can throw strikes in the upper levels of the farm system.

The problem is, as a Rule 5 selection from the New York Yankees in December, Nestor Cortes Jr., must stay in the majors all season or be offered back to the Yankees before he can be sent down to the minors.

And Triple-A is where the 23-year-old currently belongs. He’s had just 12 games above Double-A in his career before going north with the Orioles.

In 4 2/3 innings in the big leagues, he’s allowed 10 hits, four walks and four earned runs (for a 7.71 ERA). On Monday, he entered with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth and the Blue Jays leading, 2-1. Cortes walked in a run and then served up a mammoth grand slam to Josh Donaldson.

“It’s not his fault. He’s kind of learning on the job,” Showalter said.

In other words, Cortes is in Showalter’s bullpen, so he needs to use him. He’s one of two lefties in there and the other, Richard Bleier, was unavailable after three innings pitched Sunday.

It is sink or swim for Rule 5 types and Cortes simply does not look ready for the majors. You can question why he is facing a right-handed slugger like Donaldson, but the real question is how much longer can the Orioles afford to keep him in the big leagues and, consequently, in the organization?

Bundy deserves better fate – again

There’s not much more that can be said about starter Dylan Bundy so far this season. The 25-year-old right-hander continued his excellence Monday, allowing two runs on four hits (including a Steve Pearce two-run homer) and two walks while striking out 10 batters in seven innings.

It’s the fourth time in his career he has struck out at least 10. And the third time in three starts this season that he has gone at last six innings and allowed two runs or fewer.

It’s also the first time this season, however, that he has registered a decision. And it was a loss – putting him 0-1 for the year despite three quality starts.

The Orioles have scored a total of three runs while Bundy (1.35 ERA) was in games this season and six runs combined in those three games.

“I don’t look at my wins, I look more at the team wins,” Bundy said. “It’s not a big deal if I win as long as the team wins. You can’t really look at it like that. You’ve just got to go out there and give your team a chance to win every time you’re out there.”

Smallest paid crowd in Camden Yards history

Game-time temperature was 43 degrees and it was a Monday night in April, so it’s understandable why there weren’t a whole lot of people at Camden Yards to see the opener of the series against the Blue Jays.

Still, the announced crowd of 7,915 was the lowest paid attendance in the 27 seasons at Camden Yards, significantly below the previous low of 9,219 on April 10, 2010 against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Technically, the unbreakable attendance low in Camden Yards’ history occurred on April 29, 2015, when no one showed up. Fans were not allowed to attend the afternoon game against the Chicago White Sox for security purposes following unrest in Baltimore City caused by the death of city resident Freddie Gray while in police custody.

But that game’s zero doesn’t count since paid attendance was prohibited.

Monday’s sparse crowd wasn’t the lightest paid attendance in Orioles’ history. That distinction occurred on Aug. 17, 1972 when 655 fans attended an afternoon makeup game against the White Sox at Memorial Stadium.

Radio musings

If you didn’t catch my weekly radio show Monday on WOYK in York or on the station’s website, woyk1350.com, you can hit the play arrow below and listen to it. Or download it as a BaltimoreBaseball.com podcast on iTunes. This week’s special guest is Shi Davidi, baseball columnist and Toronto Blue Jays writer for Sportsnet in Canada. Among the topics we discuss is whether Jose Bautista – a baseball pariah in Baltimore – will ever play in the big leagues again. Check it out.

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41 Comments

41 Comments

  1. Osfan73

    April 10, 2018 at 7:25 am

    The offense hung Bundy out to dry last night, 12 LOB & 0-11 RISP. I figured a little hangover maybe from a long and tough NY series, maybe Happ pitched ok if you want to say that too. But the Os had their chances to score., didn’t but have to find ways. Hats off to Bundy for allowing a very used bullpen some rest by going 7 innings. How about some runs foe Cashner tonight! Go Os!!

    • Dan Connolly

      April 10, 2018 at 8:49 am

      They had their first two runners on several times and couldn’t break through. It’s a similar refrain but you need to score when given multiple opportunities.

  2. Boog Robinson Robinson

    April 10, 2018 at 7:35 am

    I’d still like to see the O’s give Nestor a chance to start a game before they give up on him. He just looked so very together in spring training. Fools gold gets me again …

    • Jbigle1

      April 10, 2018 at 8:46 am

      Yikes. Definitely don’t want to see cortes start a game. Though, with the bar Tilly and wright have set thus far he probably wouldn’t do much worse. The cortes experiment is over. Offer something up to the Yankees if you really would like to keep him. I’m sure there’s a way to work it out. He’ll be buried on the Yankees depth chart.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 10, 2018 at 8:51 am

      I think he is composed. I think he is competitive. I think he had a chance as a major leaguer at some point. But this doesn’t look like the point. At least not consistently.

  3. AlaskanOsFan

    April 10, 2018 at 8:13 am

    Does Davis have an eyesight issue he won’t admit to, cuz it is getting ridiculous what pitches he looks at go right by him..and Bundy looks great but reminds me of Guthrie or Hammel when they were dialed in but got zero run support as well. Also are we the only team that tries to use the Rule 5 system as much as we do for our active roster?

    • Jbigle1

      April 10, 2018 at 8:49 am

      Padres kept 3 guys last year who produced little to nothing. They were even less polished players than the orioles had taken on. Of course, the padres had conceded their 2017 season before it started. The orioles are the only team who believes they’ll be in playoff contention while holding 3 rule 5 guys.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 10, 2018 at 8:52 am

      Yes on Rule 5. No on Davis’ eyes. He said his eyesight had always been tested as being above average. It’s decision making not eyesight.

  4. Dblack2508

    April 10, 2018 at 8:20 am

    Unless Davis turns it around, the contract he signed is the worst in MLB. Clearly its mental, maybe going to a sports psychologist will help. His defense is also suffering.

    • Jbigle1

      April 10, 2018 at 8:51 am

      Pujols and Cabrera will be tough to top. More money owed and both older players. That’ll probably be your big 3 of bad deals though.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 10, 2018 at 8:55 am

      I hear ya. But it might not end up being even the worst in his FA class. Jayson Heyward’s deal is not beloved in Chicago. And ask New Yorkers about Jacoby Ellsbury’s. Bad contracts happen in free agency, when teams pay handsomely for previous performance.

    • Wade Warren

      April 10, 2018 at 11:53 am

      Right now Stanton’s contract picked up by the Yankees doesn’t look good either

  5. Orial

    April 10, 2018 at 8:23 am

    Yes the Davis Whipping Boy rhetoric has to subside. It’s become a simple,boring,and tiresome attack from the fans. Yes we know he’s bad. There are other issues in the offense. Lead(again) the AL in K’s,still undisciplined,and inconsistent. That’s not on Davis. 2 questions Dan–does this front have the “you know what’s” to offer Cortes back to the NYY(as should happen) and that crowd of 7,900. Was it tickets sold or actual attendence? Example Yankee Stadium was also empty over weekend but attendence said 34,000

    • Paul Folkemer

      April 10, 2018 at 8:55 am

      The announced attendance is always based on tickets sold.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 10, 2018 at 9:00 am

      1. I don’t think they have much of a choice. The roster is jammed. 2. It’s always been tickets sold. I’ve seen crowds nearly as sparse announced as 10K or 12K before. So this also speaks to the season ticket base.

  6. Grand Strand Bird Fan

    April 10, 2018 at 8:49 am

    Bundy pitched great but the offense definitely let him down. Three times in the game the 1st two batters reached but did not score. Cortez gave up his 2nd grand slam this year. He is definitely overmatched and needs more time in the minors. Unfortunately being a rule 5 player its likely he will be returned to the Yankees. Davis is lost at the plate with no apparent end in sight.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 10, 2018 at 9:01 am

      I’m just gonna nod here, GS.

  7. Jbigle1

    April 10, 2018 at 9:05 am

    When Trumbo is back is there room for Alvarez? I know we’ll have rasmus’ spot open at least for the short term but I don’t know how much RF we plan on giving Trumbo. I’d have to imagine Gentry has earned his spot with the way he’s been playing. I like Alvarez’s bat but I really can’t see him staying.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 11, 2018 at 12:09 pm

      Right now there is room. Two relievers will be sent down to make room for Cobb and Trumbo I’d assume.

  8. bickel57

    April 10, 2018 at 9:44 am

    It is time to let Cortes go back to the Yankees. If they want a lefty in the bullpen leave Tanner Scott there instead of putting him on the carousel. Davis should be benched and become a defensive replacement or DH until he gets out of his funk.

  9. Dblack2508

    April 10, 2018 at 9:53 am

    I guess I was one of the 7900, even though I didn’t go to the game, let one of my technicians go. I am personally going to Wed game.

  10. Bancells Moustache

    April 10, 2018 at 9:57 am

    Bancells Moustache presents “A SWING THROUGH HISTORY” A completely unsanctioned feature of BB.com, tracking the 2018 Baltimore Orioles glorious march to baseball immortality!

    MLB RECORD FOR STRIKE OUTS IN A SEASON: 1535 Houston Astros 2013
    ORIOLES CURRENT PACE: 1870 (127 in 11 games, 11.545 per game)

    Let’s make history boys! Dan-o, if you could lobby your friends in the O’s marketing department to dust off the old 2131 roll down warehouse banners for when the supreme moment comes (looks like late August) that’d be great.

    • jkneps63

      April 10, 2018 at 2:11 pm

      Great post!

    • Dan Connolly

      April 11, 2018 at 12:10 pm

      We may not get the warehouse numbers. But I have a feeling we will see a lot of this in 2018 from you.

  11. Wade Warren

    April 10, 2018 at 10:17 am

    is Davis still on Adderall or didn’t MLB Joe Tprree allow it this year? ADD problem?

    • Raymo

      April 10, 2018 at 8:44 pm

      And I keep wondering if a medication might be messing with his reflexes and reaction time… although he seems fine on defense.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 11, 2018 at 12:11 pm

      That’s not publicly disclosed. But there was an exception after the suspension.

  12. LenSakata

    April 10, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    Maybe it’s a good idea to keep attendance low to none. Perhaps this inept ownership will sell the team.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 11, 2018 at 12:12 pm

      Yeah. I’m not sure that’s the plan — for fans or ownership.

  13. jkneps63

    April 10, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    Hey Len! Great post! Do you still dabble at catching? How’s Tippy doing?

  14. mindless1

    April 10, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    I’ve been wondering about Davis’s ADD problem as well.
    It seems to be a taboo subject.
    We keep reading and hearing that his eyesight is great but he’s just not “seeing” the ball.

    But it seems like nobody ever asks him about the ADD or the ADD meds.
    I don’t want to pile on but it seems like there are many different meds for every medical condition, and, they probably have differing levels of effectiveness, and, different side effects.

    Is it off-limits to ask about this or to bring it up in an interview?

    • Wade Warren

      April 10, 2018 at 5:45 pm

      wouldn’t surprise me Joe Torre and Manfred said no to Davis for his medical. problem. 2 idiots in charge.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 11, 2018 at 12:14 pm

      Taboo? I mean basically it’s none of our business. It’s s personal thing. I know he got an exception after the suspension. But what medications are you taking probably crosses the line of right to know.

  15. bill-s

    April 10, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    I am not in the local media market, so I don’t See everything. But I am surprised that I have not seen any comments on the call against Adam Jones. It was definitely the turning point in the game, and I have seen loads of runners far more “out” of the basepath than Jones and no Call was made. I don’t get it. Did Jones or Showalter have anything to say about it?

    • Dan Connolly

      April 11, 2018 at 12:16 pm

      Yeah. Showalter said replays showed he was out of the path but that he doesn’t like that rule since there is no intent and it’s the quickest way to where the base is located. Adam said momentum carried him that way based on the swing.

  16. Bancells Moustache

    April 10, 2018 at 5:17 pm

    Bill-S Tough to see anyone in the Oriole organization arguing that call as it was a carbon copy of the JC Martin play in the 1969 World Series, the mere mention of which probably just made some of the old timers here spit on their floor as a result. Jonesy was out (for that matter so was Martin). He was on the diamond grass all the way up the line.

  17. Iwags

    April 11, 2018 at 8:58 am

    How long is Buck going to put up with Davis? He’s not even hitting .100! He doesn’t look like he even has a plan at the plate. So often he takes a called third strike and sometimes even takes three called strikes. Doesn’t swing the bat! He’s a liability. They should have never signed him for all that money and long term. The O’s have an albatross around their neck!

    • Dan Connolly

      April 11, 2018 at 12:16 pm

      That’s the $161 million question.

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