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Sunday, July 06, 2014

Hitting just .201, Chris Davis is having an unprecedented slump

Jeez…I haven’t seen a Davis go this silent since Lillian Hall-Davis!

What’s wrong with Chris Davis?

The Orioles first baseman goes into Sunday’s game hitting just .201, floating just above the dubious Mendoza Line.

In Saturday’s doubleheader, Davis was 0-for-8 with six strikeouts and one walk, including one span over the two games in which he struck out in six consecutive plate appearances.

Over his past 10 games, dating back to the Orioles’ doubleheader against Tampa Bay on June 27 Davis is just 2-for-34 with 15 strikeouts. Both of his hits in that span are singles.

Davis’ slump goes back further. His average has dropped 67 points over his last 40 games. Since May 22, Davis is 22-for-147 (a .149 average) with 61 strikeouts.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter has been persistent in keeping Davis in the starting lineup. He’s gone out of his way to compliment Davis’ work ethic and his defense, but it will be interesting to see if he gives Davis a day off on Sunday in an afternoon game following a doubleheader.

This is an unprecedented slump for Davis as an Oriole. When Davis was traded to Baltimore from the Rangers at the trade deadline in 2011, he arrived with a .237 batting average, but he raised it to .266 by the end of the year. In 2012, he average never got before .250 and he hovered around .300 the entire season.

Davis has tried to take early work, but it’s obviously not working. Showalter wants to let Davis work through his struggles, but we’ll see how long the Orioles can hang in there.

Repoz Posted: July 06, 2014 at 09:50 AM | 13 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: orioles

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   1. BDC Posted: July 06, 2014 at 11:19 AM (#4744642)
Unprecedented as an Oriole, that is: there were plenty of months in Texas where Davis did not hit at all.

Looking at Davis's career line I was reminded of Jim Gentile. LHB first baseman, decent fielder, had trouble breaking into the majors, went to Baltimore and was good for a year, legitimately great for another (at ages 26-27). If the rest of Davis's career tracks Gentile's, he'd have nothing to complain about, even though Gentile didn't play in the US majors past age 32.
   2. Bote Man Posted: July 06, 2014 at 11:45 AM (#4744659)
I feel compelled to point out that Mario Mendoza owned a career batting average of .215 with .204 being the lowest BA for any one team.

Davis has 13 home runs so far this year, but I think Buck is crossing his fingers that last year's 53 HR were not just a fluke and that he might run into a few when he isn't making outs.
   3. NattyBoh Posted: July 06, 2014 at 11:49 AM (#4744661)
Wonder how much that the oblique strain is still bothering him.
   4. DKDC Posted: July 06, 2014 at 12:15 PM (#4744673)
Davis is on the bench today against Peavy, who is pretty vulnerable to lefties.

I think Davis will be fine. He's always been a streaky hitter. He won't ever repeat what he did last year, but I don't think anyone expected him to be.

Luckily for the Orioles, Steve Pearce and Nelson Cruz have picked up all of the slack for Davis so far, but I have my doubts that will last all season.
   5. Voodoo Posted: July 06, 2014 at 01:31 PM (#4744694)
I feel compelled to point out that Mario Mendoza owned a career batting average of .215 with .204 being the lowest BA for any one team.

Yeah. For some reason I always have had .220 pegged as the Mendoza Line, but I guess that's not really the case.
   6. Bote Man Posted: July 06, 2014 at 01:49 PM (#4744703)
Here's a recent, more thorough treatment of the Mendoza Line by Matthew Provenzano. I think that's a heck of a lot more effort than it's worth, but at least it exercises the synapses.
   7. Ziggy: The Platonic Form of Russell Branyan Posted: July 06, 2014 at 03:00 PM (#4744731)
Pearce sure had an eventful 2012:

March 27, 2012: Released by the Minnesota Twins.
* March 29, 2012: Signed as a Free Agent with the New York Yankees.
* June 2, 2012: Purchased by the Baltimore Orioles from the New York Yankees.
* July 28, 2012: Selected off waivers by the Houston Astros from the Baltimore Orioles.
* August 27, 2012: Purchased by the New York Yankees from the Houston Astros.
* September 29, 2012: Selected off waivers by the Baltimore Orioles from the New York Yankees.

That is Twins to Yankees to Orioles to Astros to Yankees to Orioles.

It's like they were playing hot potato.

He's still available in my fantasy league because everyone expects him to hit 250/300/400 the rest of the way. In fact, I do too, but it's still tempting to pick him up, just in case.
   8. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: July 06, 2014 at 03:06 PM (#4744734)
The Mendoza Line is one of baseball's great creations because it was coined by two of Mario's teammates to make fun of him (and, by extension, other struggling hitters). How close Mario Mendoza's lifetime BA was to .200 is seriously beside the point.

   9. Bote Man Posted: July 06, 2014 at 03:37 PM (#4744747)
Yeah, I know. Another explanation (of tenuous credibility) is that in the newspaper listings of players averages, Mendoza would invariably appear below the fold, hence "the line". I don't buy that one, though.
   10. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: July 06, 2014 at 04:41 PM (#4744766)
Davis has 13 home runs so far this year, but I think Buck is crossing his fingers that last year's 53 HR were not just a fluke

yeah--for those O's fans who are waiting for Davis to return to form, there's a horrible possibility that he is doing just that
   11. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 06, 2014 at 10:09 PM (#4744879)
yeah--for those O's fans who are waiting for Davis to return to form, there's a horrible possibility that he is doing just that

No chance. Davis was never a true-talent .200 hitter. He's also retained his increased plate discipline and is hitting for good power on contact.

What is different is that his BABIP has plunged.

Since he's only 28, there are two plausible explanations for what's going on: (a) he's hitting into a lot of bad luck, and/or (b) he's hurt.

I'll be surprised if he doesn't hit to at least a 130 OPS+ the rest of the way -- unless he's hurt.
   12. tshipman Posted: July 07, 2014 at 12:19 AM (#4744920)
Remember when Chris Davis was talking smack about Bonds and people printed the comments of a AAAA guy? I'm really enjoying the AAAA guy falling back to his true talent level.
   13. Adam M Posted: July 07, 2014 at 01:24 AM (#4744938)
Maybe he stopped taking steroids.

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