The Orioles defeated the Minnesota Twins by a score of 4-2 on Wednesday night to improve to 2-0 on the nascent season. Yovani Gallardo got his first win in an O’s uniform, Zach Britton recorded his first save of the season, Chris Davis went deep for the first time in 2016, and Joey Rickard continued doing Joey Rickard things (this time, getting his first career RBI).
Tillman Pitches the Two Best Innings of His Career
Among the downsides of Monday’s rain delays was that we only got to see Chris Tillman pitch for two innings. Tillman had five strikeouts in those two innings, which was a career best. Prior to Opening Day Tillman’s largest strikeout total through two innings was four, which he’s done five times in his career.
Davis Goes Deep Earlier Than Usual
Chris Davis had his first home run of the season on Wednesday night, April 6. He has only homered this early in the season once before. That was back in 2013 when Davis had homers in the team’s first four games, starting with Opening Day on April 2, and nine long balls in the month of April. Coincidentally, April 6 was the first date of the 2013 season when Davis did not homer.
Rickard > Ruth
Joey Rickard had another two hits on Wednesday night leaving him at 4-for-7 for the season. His is a fun story here at the outset of the season as he’s built on a monster spring to earn the affection of O’s fans, who have already taken to chanting his name.
Rickard had two hits in his first four career plate appearances. You know who else did that? Sidney Ponson. Ponson had hits on June 9 against the Philadelphia Phillies and June 28 versus the Montreal Expos during his rookie season in 1998. Ponson even scored a run in the latter game.
With that said, I could find only six guys through the Baseball Reference Play Finder to have four hits in their first seven big league at-bats: Robert Machado, Henry Mercedes, Tom Wiedenbauer, John Hale, Barry Foote, and Bob Barton.
Heck, Babe Ruth only had one hit in his first eight big league at-bats. So yes, Joey Rickard is clearly better than Babe Ruth.
Four Hits Are Rare for an Orioles Debut
Mark Trumbo had a four-hit game to start his O’s career before cooling off on Wednesday.
Trumbo joins three other Orioles players to have four hits in their debut for the team:
- Chris Parmelee (4-for-6 on June 16, 2015).
- Ronny Paulino (4-for-4 on April 7, 2012). Paulino’s four-hit day in 2012 came versus the Minnesota Twins, for whom Parmelee was playing at the time.
- Sam Horn (4-for-5 with two home runs and six RBI on April 9, 1990).