#8 Chris Davis Strikes Out Adrian Gonzalez
Why It Should Win
Nobody expected to see this play in the Sweet 16, but here we are with Chris Davis toeing the rubber to strikeout Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. There’s no arguing that this memorable simply because of how unique it was. Position players pitch in ball games about as often as pitchers pinch-hit. Davis came on in relief and not only held the fort, but sealed the win for the O’s in an unbelievable 17 innings.
But this isn’t about his two innings of work, this is about his strikeout of 4-time All Star. Davis had been hit around a little bit early in his outing, but the pitch he struck Gonzalez out with was a borderline unhittable changeup. It ended a terrible day for Gonzalez (0/8) and a phenomenal day for the Baltimore ‘pen. Strop, Gregg, Lindstrom, Johnson, and Davis combined for 10 innings of shutout ball, and really put the Orioles bullpen on the map as a force to be reckoned with.
In the end, this was just another brilliant decision by the O’s coaching staff. Matusz to the bullpen? Of course. Markakis to the leadoff spot? Brilliant. Bringing in your DH to face the heart of the Red Sox lineup? Obviously the only possible result was him making their multi-million dollar first baseman look like a minor leaguer.
#4 Manny Machado 2 Home Run Game
Why It Should Win
It didn’t take long for the biggest O’s position prospect in decades to introduce himself to the Oriole faithful. Of course there was the playoff home run, and the pump fake throw. But before all of that, Manny spent a warm August night putting a beating on Luke Hochevar.
Machado is a young player. He has a long way to go to reach his massive potential, but this night definitively proved one thing about the O’s blue chip prospect: he doesn’t miss mistakes. Hochevar seemed intent on feeding Machado a steady diet of breaking balls, and he did. He just didn’t locate them anywhere near where the catcher set up.
Instead, a slider and then a curveball helicoptered dangerously high to Machado, and he didn’t let them slide. He launched two no-doubters deep into the left field stands, creating one of the most unforgettable moments of the Orioles season. Along with a triple from his debut, these two dingers wrapped up one hell of a first chapter in what will hopefully be a storied Baltimore career.
Voting is open from 12:00 PM on Tuesday March 5 to 12:00 PM Wednesday March 6.