His name is George Earl Davis Jr. His family and friends know him as Storm Davis, but in the Baltimore Orioles clubhouse he is Cy Clone, the first remake of three-time Cy Young Award winner James Alvin Palmer.
Palmer is on the disabled list, but tonight he was present and witnessed a shutout masterpiece by 21-year-old Davis, the youngest player in the American League.
Davis (4-3) threw a 101-pitch, three-hit, two walk, 3-0 victory against the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park. It was the first shutout and second complete game of Davis' 44-game major league career. It also was the first shutout by an Oriole pitcher in Boston since Palmer (who else?) did it Aug. 5, 1975.
"He was magnificent tonight," said Palmer. "He's much more poised, has better control and much better command of his pitches than I ever did."
The victory was first-place Baltimore's fifth straight, and marked Boston's sixth straight defeat, but this wasn't a night to speak of streaks. This was a coming-out party for Cy Clone. The right-hander allowed nothing more than a third-inning single to Glenn Hoffman, a seventh-inning single to Jim Rice, a ninth-inning single to Jerry Remy and two walks. Sixty-nine of his 101 pitches were strikes. The Red Sox had a runner in scoring position only once.
Davis got all the runs he needed when Benny Ayala singled home Gary Roenicke in the second. Roenicke reached Boston starter Bruce Hurst (4-5) for his seventh home run, into the left field net in the fourth, and Baltimore added one in the ninth when pinch runner Al Bumbry came around from first to score on a throwing error by Sox third baseman Wade Boggs.
Sounding a lot like " Palmer, Davis (2.95 ERA) said, "We've been having a lot of trouble scoring runs with me on the mound. I talked to Jim about it and he said he's spent his whole career (266 wins) that way. But the third run tonight took a lot of pressure off me."
"He showed a lot of poise for a 21-year-old," said the Orioles' pitching coach, Ray Miller. "He went over the hitters with me before the game and he stayed right with the book all the way. All I need is three or four more 21-year-olds just like him."
Davis threw 71 fast balls, seven curves, five changeups and 12 sliders. He walked Rick Miller in the first, but got out of the inning when Rice grounded into a double play. Rice has grounded into 15 double plays and appears capable of shattering the late Jackie Jensen's major league record of 32. The 1982 Red Sox set a record by grounding into 171 and added two more tonight to increase their 1983 total to 63.
Boston's only "rally" came in the third. With one out, Davis walked Rich Gedman and surrendered a single up the middle to No. 9 batter Hoffman. Gedman held at second and stayed there when Remy struck out and Miller hit one of his harmless flies to right.
Davis retired 11 straight from the third through the sixth innings. Rice led off the seventh with a first-pitch line single to left, but a couple of force plays and Carl Yastrzemski's high fly to left kept the shutout alive.
Yastrzemski, who like Boston Mayor Kevin White, is in the final summer of his term of office, had completed his rookie season when Davis was born in December, 1961.
"I have great respect for Carl," said Davis. "I shouldn't say Carl. I should say Mr. Yastrzemski. I'd never call him Carl to his face."
Davis obviously has great respect for Palmer, also. He bears a facial resemblance to Palmer, wears his hair in the same style and sometimes appears to be mimicking Palmer on the mound.
"I watched him a lot when I was young," admitted Davis. "I did copy some things he was doing. Now, in between innings, I'm asking him how to pitch guys. He knows these hitters. It's experience. I wouldn't call it a crutch or anything, but he knows how to pitch to these guys and he doesn't mind telling me."
Boston's final base runner was Remy, who led off the ninth with a single to left. He was immediately wiped out when Miller grounded into a double play. Rice flied to center to end the game.
Rick Dempsey, Davis' combative catcher, said, "He wasn't throwing with the velocity he normally throws with, but his ball was moving a little. In the middle three innings he was bringing it pretty good. His ball was running. Usually, it's just hard and straight. He shook me off on only one pitch--a slider to Miller that Miller popped up. Hey, It's not too tough to catch a game when a guy is throwing that many strikes."
The Orioles had only seven hits off Hurst, who went the route. Ayala and Ken Singleton had two hits each, and Roenicke's home run was the Orioles' 12th in the last five games.
Things aren't going very well for the Red Sox. They are 13-16 at home and are averaging only 3.72 runs per game in Fenway this year. After holding down first place for five days at the end of May, they have plummeted into the middle of the division and stand five games behind the Orioles. Sox infielders have a woeful total of four home runs and the team is 14-23 against right-handed pitchers.
The Red Sox haven't won since general partner Buddy LeRoux failed in an attempt to overthrow general partner Haywood Sullivan earlier this week and were hardly ready to withstand the force of Cy Clone and Co. last night.