Matt Davidson has faced six batters. And he’s retired every single one of them.
Davidson carries one of the White Sox more powerful bats, but he came on for his second relief appearance of the season in Friday night’s 10-5 loss to the visiting Toronto Blue Jays. It’s usually not a good sign when position players are pitching — just ask the Cubs, who handed the ball to four different position players over the course of a few days in the last week — and from that standpoint Davidson is hoping he doesn’t have take the mound again.
But as a guy who grew up wanting to be a strikeout machine, he actually would love to keep pitching for the White Sox, going as far as saying he’d love to add more regular pitching to his job description.
Just call him the South Side version of Shohei Ohtani.
“To be honest, I would love to maybe explore that idea,” Davidson said after Friday’s game. “Pitching was a dream. As a young kid, everybody wants to hit that walk off homer, right? I was the guy striking that guy out. That’s how I first loved the game. My favorite player was Randy Johnson and doing that.
“So, it’s something I would be interested in. I don’t know if the game would necessarily allow that or something like that. It’s something that is really close to my heart is pitching.”
Davidson’s serious suggestion might never materialize. After all, he’s paid to hit and play the field, while there are a dozen guys on this roster paid to pitch. But it’s hard to argue when you see how effective he was. This wasn’t typical position-player lobbing. He was hitting the low 90s with his fastball and threw a curveball made Teoscar Hernandez look downright silly.
Look at the break on that ball.
Considering the heavy bullpen use in today’s game, maybe making a position player a regular part-time pitcher doesn’t sound so crazy. It sure would help to save arms on a night like Friday, when Reynaldo Lopez gave up five home runs and the White Sox were in a 10-1 hole after five innings. Even without Davidson’s ninth inning, the White Sox used four relief pitchers to bridge the gap between Lopez and the end of the game.
“He does have a good feel,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He enjoys the possibility of doing it. He’s one of those guys, positionally speaking, you don’t want to do it all the time, but you don’t worry about him throwing strikes. He has a good feel for what he’s doing.
“He’s throwing 91 mph with a breaking ball. You know that he’s got a chance to make those guys swing the bat, and not a lot to get out of control.”
Davidson would like to be able to help his team out in as many ways as possible, and his seemingly above-average pitching ability for a position player might be able to do just that if the White Sox find themselves in this kind of situation again over the final two months of the season.
But what about taking it a step further? After the White Sox traded Joakim Soria on Thursday, they’re in need of a new closer. Is Davidson throwing his hat in the ring for that role?
“Yeah, I’ll do it,” he joked. “When Soria got traded, I was like, ‘I’m your closer now.’ They all laughed. Complete joke.”