It was 88 degrees at first pitch on a night to leave the sweatshirt at home. It was July 17, 2008 and the Orioles were playing the Detroit Tigers at Camden Yards; veteran Kenny Rogers against youngster Garrett Olson.
The game stayed close with the Tigers taking a 6-4 lead into the bottom of the ninth.
Tigers’ manager Jim Leyland pulled his set-up man Joel Zumaya for his closer Todd Jones. Orioles’ manager Dave Trembley countered, summoning a pinch hitter for Brandon Fahey — his lackluster shortstop who was slated to lead off the inning.
Trembley called for number 30, left-handed Luke Scott.
Orioles fans had only been watching Scott for the first few months of the season, remembering him as the guy who they traded Miguel Tejada for, as well as the guy who has a Star Wars-esque name, though mostly the latter. He was forcing some fans to know him by name as he had hit .279 and thumped for 11 home runs and 14 doubles in the games prior.
Luke Scott stepped into the left-handed batters box and took a strike from Jones. He hit the second pitch to deep right field and coasted into second, giving the Orioles a runner in scoring position with no outs in the game’s final inning.
Scott was eventually lifted for Freddie Bynum to put speed on the bases. Bynum scored on an Aubrey Huff sacrifice fly that made it a one run game.
The Orioles ended up losing 6-5, but the Tigers found their new natural predator.
The next night Luke Scott got the start and hit two home runs and drove in three runs as the Orioles won 7-4.
The night after, Scott took a 0-1 pitch from Freddy Dolsi deep to right field in the 1oth inning and walked the Orioles off with an 11-10 victory.
Scott ended the 2008 season with 23 home runs, 65 RBIs, 29 doubles, and a .807 OPS. Against the Tigers in seven games, Scott had five home runs, 10 RBIs, four doubles, and a 1.940 OPS.
Over three seasons with the Orioles, Scott has faced the Tigers 20 times. He has collected 10 home runs, five doubles, 24 RBIs, a .359 batting average, .488 OBP, .906 SLG, and a 1.394 OPS.
Scott has amassed 9.7% of his career home runs and 7.5% of his career RBIs against the Tigers.
In 2010, however, Scott, ironically, struggled mightily against the D-Town felines, hitting only .176 while going homer-less with only one RBI and slugging only .176.
During the final meeting between the two teams during Spring Training, Luke was able to strike the fear of God back into the Tigers and their pitching staff. Scott went 2-4 in the 14-9 Orioles victory, driving in seven runs on two home runs.
Luke’s recent hamstring injury that kept him out of the home opener against the Tigers is only a momentary obstacle for the lefty slugger. He’ll be back today, hunting Tigers and drinking Tiger blood.