The Indians didn’t win the World Series last night, but Rajai Davis won our hearts by hitting a game tying homer off Aroldis Chapman in the 8th inning. Davis, of course, was for a brief time a Giant, coming over to the team in the Matt Morris trade that is still, to this day, perhaps the most inexplicable thing the Pirates have ever done. Since Davis was almost the hero last night, and was certainly a hero to those of us who have no interest in Chapman enjoying any professional success, I thought it might be fun to look back on his five best games with the Giants by WPA.
The Giants ended up losing this game 6-4, but it was no fault of Davis, who went 3 for 4 with a walk in 5 plate appearances. There were caught stealings and stalled rallies and rallies that scored runs but not enough runs, but in the end, there was Barry Zito, pitching like someone who would never justify his contract. World Series hero Rajai Davis. World Series hero Barry Zito. Baseball!
Davis scored two runs in the Giants’ 3-1 win, and for those of you who aren’t real strong in math, that means his runs provided the margin of victory for the team. Twice, Davis put himself on second base, once on a single and steal, once on a double. Twice, Omar Vizquel bunted him over to third, and twice Randy Winn drove him in. The three runs the Giants scored in this game would be the most runs they scored for Matt Cain in any start between 2006 and 2009. Don’t look that up. Just trust me.
To be honest, this wasn’t actually a good game for Davis, as he went 0 for 4 with a bunt in 5 plate appearances. However, the bunt induced a terrible throw from pitcher Lee Gardner, allowing the two runners on base (Guillermo Rodriguez and Ryan Klesko) to score, and on a bad throw on the same play from Cody Ross, Davis advanced to third, and he scored on a sacrifice fly from the next batter, Dan Ortmeier. I’m pretty sure this would go down in history as Cody Ross’s greatest contribution to the San Francisco Giants.
Davis went 2 for 4 with a walk in this one, and both his hits were big parts of big rallies. He hit a leadoff double in the sixth inning, and would later come around to score on a Ryan Klesko grand slam. In the seventh, he doubled after hits from Kevin Frandsen and Noah Lowry, and would come around to score on a Pedro Feliz double. In the space of two innings, his contributions helped turn a 1-1 nailbiter into a 10-3 laugher. He had a better game than Jose Bautista in this one, definitively proving that Rajai Davis is and always was a better baseball player than Jose Bautista.
When you drive in 2 runs in a 3-2 game, well hey, you get to have people 9 years later recognize you had a good game. That’s what Davis did here, doubling in Omar Vizquel and Dan Ortmeier with two outs in the top of the second and giving Kevin Correia, Tyler Walker, Brian Wilson, and closer Brad Hennessey a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Rajai Davis didn’t have the greatest Giants career – taking his defense into consideration, he was good for the last couple months of 2007, and then a disaster in April of 2008, which is why they let him go on waivers to the A’s – but he sure had his moments. And today, after he had probably the biggest moment of his life, those moments are worth celebrating. What else are you going to do? Read about the Cubs winning the World Series oh that’s totally what you’re going to do carry on then. Carry on.