Baltimore Orioles: Will Chris Davis break out in Boston?

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 07: Chris Davis
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 07: Chris Davis /

Baltimore Orioles slugger Chris Davis is in the midst of his worst start as a big leaguer. Will he break out of his funk in Boston?

First baseman Chris Davis is in his 11th season in the majors and eighth with the Baltimore Orioles. In 2011, along with pitcher Tommy Hunter, the Texas Rangers traded Chris Davis to Baltimore for closer, Koji Uehara. He spent four seasons with the O’s, before hitting free agency. However, after leading the league in home runs in 2013 and 2015, Chris Davis found himself staring at a new contract worth $23MM for the next seven seasons.

That contract signing hasn’t been without criticism of course. Search, “Chris Davis,” on Twitter and you’re bound to find at least one fan unhappy with the money the organization is paying him. Any article that’s written about Chris Davis certainly is accompanied by a comment loathing it entirely. But, regardless of any fan opinion, the slugger from Longview, Texas will continue to make his money.

Any points deemed valid in regards to the animosity towards the contract are purely coincidental and are far from reality, however, they can be understood. It’s easy to see how negative statements can be made about his contract, even with a small sample size such as 12 games.

As mentioned above 2018 has not been kind to him thus far. Through 12 games this season, he’s 5-for-41, with one home run, an on-base percentage of .250 and 11 strikeouts. These numbers are illustrating his struggles at the plate, but even further, he’s just 4-for-35 (.114) with eight strikeouts versus right-handed pitchers. Not being able to drive runners in scoring position in has hurt his team also, as Davis is 2-for-7 with three strikeouts with guys in scoring position, and hasn’t picked up a hit in four at-bats with two outs and men in scoring position.

Small sample sizes don’t define a season

Even though it’s true, struggling to start the season isn’t fun to watch. More importantly, it’s not good for your team as they try to open the season strong.

I’ve talked about his struggles this season, but what about previous years in the big leagues? Well, last season Chris Davis got off to a red-hot start. In his first 45 at-bats, he picked up 14 hits with three of them being round-trippers. Strikeouts were up, at 17, but so was the on-base percentage, as that skyrocketed to .380 in his first 12 games.

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In 2016, Chris Davis was swallowed up in another cold start, picking up just nine hits in 44 at-bats. He did, however, manage to mash five home runs, but struck out 16 times.

Going back further, in 2015 he opened up with an 11-for-46 and two home runs. Unfortunately, even with picking up a few more hits in two more at-bats, he struck out 21 times. This was also his second season, out of three, that he took home the home run crown, hitting 47 of them.

The previous three years, Chris Davis went 12-for-43, 15-for-41 and 15-for-45, respectively. Remember though, 2013 was the season he opened with a home run in four straight games.

Good times.

Now is the time to bust out of the slump

After picking up two hits in the Baltimore Orioles Wednesday night 5-to-3 victory over the Blue Jays, Davis has to feel good about turning in his first multi-hit effort of the season.

Speaking with the media after the victory, Chris Davis said,

"“I felt better the last couple days in [batting practice], but that doesn’t always translate into success in games. But I know it is there. It’s hard sometimes to trust the process, but that’s really all you can do. I thought we did a great job tonight of just hanging in there, getting the runs when we could and not trying to do too much, and it resulted in a win for us. So, hopefully, we can build off of that.”"

And about his first multi-hit game of the season, he said,

"“It’s nice to have two hits instead of one. Some days, I’ll take one instead of none. So, ultimately the goal is to win the game, so it was nice to feel like I contributed and, obviously, great to get a W.”"

Chris Davis and the Baltimore Orioles will now face the 10-and-2, Boston Red Sox and surely, if they want to win the series at Fenway, he’ll need to contribute.

Facing starter Eduardo Rodriguez, Chris Davis has gone 5-for-24 over three seasons, with one home run and 11 strikeouts. His best set of appearances came last year, when he picked up two hits in seven at-bats, with one being a home run.

Next: Home hasn't been where the heart is lately

In 70 games at Fenway Park, Chris Davis hasn’t necessarily set the place ablaze. He comes into tonight with a slash line of .217/.304/.371 in 70 games, with ten home runs and 11 doubles. To keep the Baltimore Orioles in the win column, they’ll need Chris Davis to pick up where he left off Wednesday night.