It was about three weeks ago when Chris Davis hit three home runs in Pittsburgh. A couple of days later, he homered and knocked in four runs.
But now he is struggling again. Davis went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts last night. Over his last 14 games, he’s batting .164 (9-for-55) with 24 strikeouts.
Is it a timing issue? O’s hitting coach Jim Presley doesn’t think so.
“No, It’s his bat angle,” Presley said. “He’s crossing over. We’re trying to get him to get on top of the ball a little bit more and hit the ball to left-center field at times. Too much uppercut, we have to get the barrel on top of the ball and that is what we are going to work on.”
The Orioles have several hitters struggling during this homestand where they’ve scored just 14 runs in five games. Today, Buck Showalter changed the batting order and Steve Pearce will hit second and Manny Machado has been dropped to seventh.
“You have to change it up a little bit. Steve Pearce is hot. Why not get him up there? Great idea by Buck,” Presley said.
Meanwhile on the mound, reliever Ryan Webb threw another scoreless inning last night. He is somewhat quietly having a solid season out of the bullpen, going 2-1 with a 2.60 ERA. He signed a two-year contract with the Orioles in December.
“I feel like I’ve gotten comfortable here, I’m really happy,” Webb said this afternoon. “I chose to come here and I love my teammates and coaches. Excited about what lies ahead and we can get hot. Hopefully I keep helping the team putting up zeroes. Wouldn’t rather be anywhere else.”
Webb has pitched to an ERA of 1.42 in 26 games since April 7. He has been scored on just once in his last 15 appearances. Webb has allowed just one of 12 inherited runners to score this year.
He’s getting a lot of work and likes it that way. He also likes the way Showalter has handled the bullpen.
“When you feel good out there and are consistent, you like to get used a lot,” Webb said. “Sometimes you go three or four days (without pitching), you feel rusty like you have not pitched in a month. Like to get into a lot of games. Try to keep my pitch counts low out there so I can pitch in a lot of games.
“I just get the sense that Buck knows what he’s doing managing our bullpen. He always seems to make really smart decisions. He wants to keep us healthy and put us in situations where we can succeed. I’ve noticed that a lot. We all have faith in what he is doing decision-making wise.”
With Miami last year, Webb ranked fourth in the National League in relief innings with 80 1/3 and is on pace for 71 this year.
All the bullpen pitchers will get their innings if the O’s starters don’t get deep enough into games. Webb said that comes with the job.
“That is just part of being in any bullpen really,” Webb said. “You get a sense where the game is going pitch-count wise with the starter. We all kind of know when we can joke around and have fun in the beginning of the game and when we need to really lock it in and be serious.
“When it comes time to get ready, these are some of the most professional guys I’ve been around in terms of getting ready for the game, getting mentally focused and getting their jobs done.”