Are there any superlatives left to heap upon Orioles first baseman Chris Davis?
Manager Buck Showalter won’t even try. He’ll just appreciate the return.
“I’ll let you all do it. You’re better at it than I am,” Showalter said following tonight’s 11-3 win over the Yankees.
“Chris knows what we think of him and how proud we are of the year he’s having. I think you see a good example of the difference. Yesterday, I think he had three strikeouts. Today, he comes back and puts it behind him. You can see him grinding and working on it. He’s not satisfied. He wants to continue to contribute at a high level for his teammates.”
Davis certainly did it tonight, homering twice on curveballs and driving in five runs.
“I think Chris is strong and he knows that he’s got range with the bat and he lets the ball travel,” Showalter said. “He trusts his hands. It’s not just strength. It’s timing. There’s a lot of things that go into squaring up a baseball that short of a period of time to make a decision where it is and hitting it. It’s a repetitive game. You try to repeat things so you can do them in a ballgame, whether it’s a breaking ball or whatever.
“He’s just letting it travel and trusting himself. Like I said, he’s in a good routine that he trusts. That’s a big thing for players to get to that point, where they’re getting a return and they know what works and what doesn’t.”
The Orioles have won three straight games, and they’ve taken back-to-back home series against the Yankees for the first time since April 18-20 and May 26-28, 2008.
“It’s a very high bar that they and the Red Sox and Tampa, all of them, Toronto in years past. It’s a high bar,” Showalter said. “We’ve got a long way to go to do the things that they’re doing and have done. Our guys really want to be a part of that. It’s hard to do. That’s why it’s so gratifying if you can do it. We’re barely now, it’s our first game of the second half, so to speak. A lot of roads to cross, and it starts tomorrow at 8 o’whatever.
“It was a good game for us and it will all be forgotten tomorrow at 8 o’clock. I’m just proud that we’re going to have our third winning month in a row, which is something we really wanted to get off and be consistent with.”
Ryan Flaherty homered again tonight and had his sixth multi-hit game in the last eight.
“Ryan’s been a real contributor,” Showalter said. “I said early in the spring, he and Bobby (Dickerson), the work they did on double play pivots, it’s been really impressive. Guy out there at 6-3, 6-4, moving those limbs around, to move that quickly, he’s in a good space fundamentally on the pivot.
“He’s hit a couple breaking balls. The home run was a breaking ball. People like Ryan, they’re not going to give in. He’ll be the first to tell you I’m hitting 2-whatever, but you know the type of things he did for us in September last year. We know it’s there. He provides a lot of versatility for our club that we need.”
Could Flaherty serve as the designated hitter on occasion after Brian Roberts is activated on Sunday?
“We’re looking forward to making room for Brian tomorrow,” Showalter replied. “We’re going to keep everyone in the flow.”
Left-hander Zach Britton took a shutout into the sixth and ended up allowing two runs (one earned) and six hits in 5 2/3 innings. All three walks came in the sixth.
“A little frustrating with the three walks,” Showalter said. “It was like last night. I hate taking someone out after an error, but I thought the game, he had thrown 25-30 pitches that inning and started to really labor a little bit. It’s tough. You see how good he is at times. He was very close to getting out of that if we catch a ball.
“Zach pitched really well tonight. Not anxiety, I think he wanted to get through that sixth inning. I could see it, but he just got out of sync a little bit. I was proud of him. He pitched well.”