Chris Davis adapts to the DH role as his bat stays hot

Whether he plays in the field or starts as the designated hitter, Chris Davis has been doing some major damage at bat recently for the Orioles.

He is 9-for-24 with three homers and eight RBIs during a six-game batting streak. Over a longer stretch, his past 21 games, he is batting .350 with seven homers and 16 RBIs.

Davis’ last 10 starts have come as the DH and he hasn’t started at first base since May 28. He says manager Buck Showalter has not given him a reason for that.

“He hasn’t,” Davis said. “You know I put a lot of trust in Buck. I know he knows what he’s doing, I don’t want his job. I know he’ll put guys in there where he thinks they are most useful. Would I like to be at first base? Absolutely. But right now, Mark (Reynolds) is playing outstanding there and I’m holding it down at DH.”

Davis, who is 4-for-9 with two homers and five RBIs in this series with Pittsburgh, said he has been able to stay active even as he’s been in the DH role.

davis fistbump sidebar.jpg“When we are home it’s a little easier,” Davis said. “Our cage is right there and our weight room. I can ride the bike if I need to. But basically just kind of stay in tune to the game. I might come in here in between at-bats and look at some pitches (on video).

“But the biggest thing for me is being able to get in the cage and hit off the tee by myself a few hitters before I am actually up. It helps keep me loose and keep me locked in.”

He added that looking at video from the center-field camera is helpful in seeing how the pitcher’s are throwing to him from another view.

Over 53 games this season, Davis is batting .305 with 12 homers, 31 RBIs, a .538 slugging percentage and .882 OPS. He now ranks 10th in the AL in average and is tied for 12th in homers.

His OPS ranks 12th in the league and he is right ahead of players like Jose Bautista, Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Billy Butler and Joe Mauer.

“It means something I guess,” Davis said of his OPS rank. “I heard Larry Bird the other day say, ‘In this game, there will always be someone to come along and break your records, but people remember those who have won championships.’

“That is what I want to accomplish here, is to be known as a winner. A guy that was on a team that wins the AL East, the American League and the World Series. This is something you can hang on to forever.”

So for now Davis is swinging a hot bat. He said there is no particular key to his success this year and that it is mostly about opportunity.

“The big thing is just being in there every day and knowing I’ll get the at-bats. When you have an 0-for-4, you know you will be in there the next day,” Davis said.

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