Before closing the book on today’s 5-4 loss to the Pirates - and if an Orioles starter tried to do it, he’d probably pinch a finger and have his turn skipped - I wanted to revisit Blake Davis’ major league debut.
Davis went 0-for-4, though he made solid contact in his first two at-bats and advanced both runners with his drive to left-center field. But his day will be defined by his error that allowed two runs to score and gave the Pirates their final lead.
I’ve seen Davis play second base in spring training and I know he’s played the position in the minors. It wasn’t a huge reach to start him over Robert Andino today. But it’s worth noting that he appeared in only 19 games at second in the minors, all of them coming last year - 18 at Triple-A Norfolk, one at Double-A Bowie.
By comparison, Davis has played 395 games at shortstop, 48 in right field, 26 at third base, one in center field and one in left field.
That’s probably not an excuse for today’s error. The ball was hit directly at him, which is how it went through the wickets. He didn’t mess up while ranging to his left or right, or while trying to turn a double play. But his experience at second is limited, and his major league debut came today at a position he hadn’t played in 2011.
Davis played in 35 games in right field for the Tides this season, seven at shortstop, three at third base and one in center field.
The Orioles traded for Brendan Harris and signed Nick Green as a minor league free agent to compete for the utility job in spring training, and to provide middle infield depth if they didn’t make the team. Harris is batting .222 and has committed eight errors. Green is batting .197 and has committed eight errors, and his defense in the Grapefruit League was shaky at best.
Davis was hitting .284 with five errors at Norfolk. The Orioles would rather have him sitting on their bench than Ryan Adams, who needs to get regular at-bats. And with the Pirates starting a right-hander today, manager Buck Showalter wrote Davis’ name in the lineup and hoped for the best.
He just didn’t get it on one ground ball.
One ground ball that would decide the outcome.