DENVER - Chris Davis’ name was missing from the Orioles lineup in last night’s series opener against the Rockies and his removal versus a right-handed starter, in this case Jeff Hoffman, serves as a sharp indicator that another reset is underway.
Davis also expects to sit tonight with the Rockies sending left-hander Kyle Freeland to the mound. But he won’t be idle, his work continuing with hitting coach Don Long as they try to find a solution.
“I think he’s had a tough week,” Hyde said. “Like I said all along and talked about a lot of our guys, I’m trying to put these guys in position to have success and I don’t want to bury anybody and I want guys to feel good. And when I see somebody go through some struggles ...
“I just think his at-bats in the Cleveland series and New York, it just wasn’t quite the same and not quite him, so I want to give him a breather and let him worry about maybe one at-bat off the bench and not four throughout the game.”
Davis took a called third strike last night while pinch-hitting in the ninth inning, another borderline low pitch that didn’t go in his favor, and he’s 5-for-41 with 25 strikeouts since May 10. An average that threatened to top .199 for the first time since 2017 is back down to .171 with a .575 OPS.
“I think he understands that I’m going to continue to go out there just like I did last year,” Davis said. “And I said this last year and I’ll say it again, I’ll hit .0000001, you know? Because I’m not just going to stop trying. I know people want to see a better result, but I can’t promise that. All I can promise is continue to work and do everything I can and try to enjoy it.
“I’m tired of worrying about all the other stuff. I’m at a point now where I enjoy being around these guys every day, I enjoy coming in here and putting on this uniform. Whether it means success or failure, that’s really out of my hands. I’ll continue to work as hard as I can, prepare as much as I can, and enjoy. This is an opportunity that not a lot of people get and I think it’s foolish for me to forget that and to lose sight of really how special of a place that I’m in and how much hard work and sacrifice it took to get to this point.
“I think it is kind of a reset, maybe just a little breather, a little blow for a few days and then go back to the drawing board and take another shot at it.”
Exactly how many days on the bench hasn’t been communicated.
“I don’t know if it’s going to be three days, five days, hopefully not any longer than that,” Davis said. “I think it will just be, we’ll kind of play it by ear. The last two games for me were just disastrous. Just felt like I had no rhythm, my timing was all screwed up. It was going back and forth and I don’t want to keep beating my head against the wall.”
The anger peaked after Davis struck out Thursday afternoon in his final plate appearance. He slammed the bat twice against his thigh before spiking it in the dirt.
“The last at-bat, you get to the point where you work and work and work and you expect to see a result and you don’t see it and you don’t know what else to do and that frustration builds up,” Davis said.
“I try to do my best to hold it in as much as I can, but everybody has their breaking point and unfortunately for me (Thursday) it was on the field. That’s going to happen.”
One method for attempting to straighten out Davis involves hitting off a tee while the Orioles set up a high-speed camera to record his actions. He takes early batting practice. He swings in the cage. He does pretty much anything that doesn’t include a live chicken.
“A lot of it is having to be patient and being tired of that, kind of being over the fact of hearing it’s a process,” he said. “There are still things you have to realize. I’m trying to break habits that I was practicing for years, bad habits that I was practicing for years. And I’m not a very patient person. That’s something I’ve always battled with.
“I don’t feel the same as I did last year. I think last year was just a whole different environment and you know what I mean when I say that. I was at a different place and it wasn’t a good place. I still feel like there are some good things that I’ve been doing, but just tired of spinning my wheels right now and I think Hyder knows that and I think he realizes if he lets me, I’ll keep going out there and going 0-for-4, 0-for-whatever it is.”
Better to step back, get in extra work and try again later.
* Keon Broxton introduced himself to the Orioles last night by hitting a 474-foot home run on the first pitch thrown to him.
We keep hearing about his raw power. That was it.
Broxton had homered in back-to-back at-bats at Coors Field, including Game 4 of the National League Division Series.
“It was a big smile and everybody was pumped up in the dugout and that was an awesome moment for him,” Hyde said.
* The Orioles released outfielder Jaycob Brugman yesterday after he came off the injured list at Triple-A Norfolk. The Tides needed to make room for Joey Rickard, who was optioned Thursday afternoon.
Former team executive Dan Duquette acquired Brugman from the Athletics on Nov. 22, 2017 for a player to be named later who turned into minor league pitcher Jake Bray.
I’m certain that everyone remembers the details.
Bray, a 12th-round pick of the Orioles in 2013, has made five relief appearances this year at Single-A Stockton and allowed six runs and eight hits with six walks and 14 strikeouts in 10 2/3 innings. He’s 26 and hasn’t reached the Double-A level.
Brugman’s major league tenure consists of 48 games with the Athletics in 2017. He slashed a combined .250/.318/.405 last year in 78 games with Norfolk (66) and Double-A Bowie and was 1-for-8 with a home run for the Tides this season.