The Royals trailed the Astros 6-2 in the eighth inning of Game 4 of the American League Division Series. They’ve outscored their opponents 23-5 since that point.
Is that good?
The Royals won Games 4 and 5 in the ALDS and have taken a 2-0 lead over the Blue Jays in the Championship Series. They’re a snowball-type team, getting on these ridiculous rolls in innings and in their season.
The Blue Jays have been known to do the same. They may want to get started in Game 3.
David Price has lost seven consecutive postseason starts. A pitcher’s record isn’t a true measurement of his value ... but David Price has lost seven consecutive playoff starts.
His agent probably will ignore that stat while negotiating with teams this winter.
Price and Randy Johnson are the only pitchers to lose seven in a row.
* Former Orioles reliever Tommy Hunter has been excluded from the Cubs’ roster in the National League Wild Card game, Division Series and Championship Series.
Hunter was 2-0 with a 5.74 ERA and 1.468 WHIP in 19 appearances with the Cubs, allowing 10 runs and 20 hits over 15 2/3 innings. He walked three, struck out 15 and served up four home runs - all of them at Wrigley Field, where he posted a 5.56 ERA and 1.324 WHIP in 11 1/3 innings over 13 appearances. On the plus side, he didn’t walk a batter and struck out 11.
Hunter was 2-2 with a 3.63 ERA and 1.164 WHIP in 39 games with the Orioles. He allowed three home runs in 44 2/3 innings.
I’m wondering what kind of contract Hunter can expect after making $4.65 million this year. He’d like to come back to Baltimore and the Orioles will at least discuss it, but they may not want to sink that much money into someone who doesn’t project as their closer or set-up man.
I don’t know who becomes the primary set-up man if they don’t re-sign Darren O’Day. Mychal Givens could get a shot, but let’s not forget that he’s pitched in 22 games above Double-A and was a shortstop until 2013.
By the way, did you know that Hunter’s actual name is Raymond Thomas?
* Keep an eye on Royals right-hander Chris Young this winter because the Orioles could attempt to sign him as a free agent.
Manager Buck Showalter likes Young, 36, who was 11-6 with a 3.06 ERA and 1.086 WHIP in 34 games, including 18 starts. He’s pitched twice in the playoffs in his career, including a start for the Padres in the 2006 NLDS, and has allowed one run with 16 strikeouts in 10 2/3 innings.
Young stands 6 foot 10, but I don’t think the Orioles would suggest that he lower his arm slot.
* I had a vote this season for American League Rookie of the Year. I’m not allowed to reveal my pick until the award is announced by the Baseball Writers Association of America, but feel free to offer up an opinion.
Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor figure to finish in the top two, but I’m not sure what order.
The postseason doesn’t factor into it. Ballots were turned in before the first games.
* Here’s my question for today: If you could re-sign first baseman Chris Davis for whatever amount it takes, but you were unable to make any other moves due to budget constraints, would you still do it? Would you sink everything into Davis this offseason?
In my perfect world, you re-sign Davis and O’Day, acquire a starting pitcher for the top of the rotation, extend Manny Machado and have enough left over for the raises due other arbitration-eligible players. But the world isn’t perfect and the Orioles aren’t going to challenge the Dodgers for the highest payroll in baseball.
* Those Dodgers, with their $300 million payroll, lost to the Mets in Game 5 of the National League Division Series. The Blue Jays are the only team ranked in the top 10 in payroll that’s still active in October. Six of the 10 didn’t qualify for the playoffs: the Red Sox, Phillies, Angels, Tigers, Nationals and Giants.
* Among the topics discussed yesterday on “Wall to Wall Baseball” on MASN was the Orioles’ catching situation and whether they might carry three, including Steve Clevenger, who can play other positions and became the primary left-handed designated hitter late in the 2015 season.
The Orioles have discouraged Clevenger from focusing on other positions, wanting him fully dedicated to catching. His work improved behind the plate.
It’s too early, of course, to pick a four-man bench for opening day. We don’t know if the Orioles will re-sign Steve Pearce. We don’t know if Pearce projects as a starter if he does stay. We don’t know who projects as an extra outfielder since we don’t know whether Gerardo Parra will re-sign and what the Orioles plan to do about left field.
I do know that Clevenger is out of minor league options next year.
* The Orioles love the infield shift, with Manny Machado sliding over to shortstop against certain left-handed hitters. But for the formation to work, they must remember to cover third base if a runner is going from first to second.
The Dodgers forgot in the fourth inning of Game 5, leaving the bag unoccupied as Daniel Murphy began his jog to second on a walk to Lucas Duda. Murphy suddenly broke into a sprint and easily took third, and he scored the tying run on Travis d’Arnaud’s fly ball.
Showalter can rattle off where every player is supposed to be in any given situation - which guy goes where, who’s responsible for which base. The Orioles work on it in spring training and throughout the season. There shouldn’t be a breakdown.
The Dodgers broke down.
* I’m heading to Camden Yards this morning for Breathe Deep Baltimore’s LUNGevity walk to honor former Orioles public relations director Monica Barlow. A chill in the air, a heart warmed by the love and support for our friend.