The trade that sent the Birds’ most dominating pitcher, reliever Koji Uehara, to Texas on July 30th has really backfired for the Orioles. Tommy Hunter and Chris Davis have struggled and failed to help their new club record wins.
Although Davis has been able to collect his hits as a member of the orange and black, he hasn’t shown much power and that’s one of the main reasons he was of interest to the Orioles. Davis has jolted 1 HR and 6 RBI over his first 15 games.
Hunter pitched exclusively out of the bullpen for the Rangers, but the Birds acquired him to fill one of the spots in their deteriorating starting rotation. In eight starts thus far, Hunter sports an inflated 6.05 ERA while the Birds have dropped five of his eight outings.
The powerful left-handed hitter Davis, who recorded impressive HR numbers in his minor league career (118 in 472 games- one dinger every four games), has really struggled to find his power stroke.
In 60 at-bats since the trade, Davis has collected 15 base hits (.250 average) and 5 multi-hit games. He should have more at-bats, but he missed three weeks from mid-August to early September due to a small right shoulder tear. Injuries will happen. Ineffectiveness should not be forgiven.
The alarming number for Davis is his number of strikeouts (24) – which averages to 1.6 per game. Those are Mark Reynolds-type numbers and the Birds already have one of those in their lineup. On September 7th, the Yankees struck Davis out five times and has at least one strikeout in all but three contests to date.
In his minor league career, Davis struck out 492 times in 472 games (1/1.04 games). If Davis were to stay on this pace, he would finish with 168 strikeouts in a full season. Reynolds has recorded 177 strikeouts in 141 games (a strikeout every 1.25 games). Not only has Davis failed to hit the long ball, he’s only drawn 5 free passes – two of which occurred in today’s game. He hasn’t shown any patience at the dish and is jumping the gun trying to make an impression.
The Birds saw a promising, young hurler in Hunter. So far, he hasn’t shown that he can or should pitch consistently in the starting rotation.
In his eight starts as an Oriole, Hunter’s tossed 50.2 innings (or 6.1 innings per outing). With the exception of his first start, he’s lasted 6 innings in each outing and pitched seven innings once.
Hunter has also surrendered 65 base hits (8.13 hits per game) and a grand total of 34 earned runs over that stretch. His ERA has jumped from 2.93 since leaving Texas’ bullpen to 5.32. Hunter’s allowed 10 hits twice and seven hits in 6 of his 8 starts. He’s posted one “quality start”, which is 6 IP and three earned runs or less. In Oakland, he tossed 6.2 innings and gave up two earned.
The only impressive numbers that Hunter has posted is his strikeout to walk ratio. Hunter’s only issued four free passes since joining the Birds issuing one walk every 12.65 innings (compared to 3 strikeouts per game).
We all know too well how the Orioles’ pitching struggles over the last six years have coincided with a high number of walks, so this is good news.
One month plus since the trade, both Hunter and Davis have failed to live up to expectations. A 6.05 ERA as a starter and only 1 HR from a power hitter won’t cut it. If these two want any chance of being in Baltimore’s future, they need to perform better over the last 17 games.
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About the Author
Written by Alex Van Rees
I am 22 years old and I recently graduated from James Madison University this May with a BA degree and a major in journalism. I live in Reston, VA, about 20 minutes outside of Washington. I am looking for an entry-level position with a sports media company where I can demonstrate my writing, interviewing and technical skills to better the organization.