NEW YORK—Deeper and deeper into his slump goes Chris Davis. Since a fourth-inning single on Sept. 5, Davis has gone a horrifying 1-for-39 with 20 strikeouts.
“This year for me has just been kind of one disaster after another,” Davis said.
In the Orioles’ 3-2 loss to the New York Yankees in 11 innings on Saturday, Davis was 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. For the season, Davis has struck out 192 times.
In the two at-bats that he didn’t strike out, Davis hit the ball hard to second baseman Gleyber Torres to end the second inning, and with the bases loaded and one out in the 10th, Davis lined to first baseman Luke Voit, who made a nice play to snare it.
Manager Buck Showalter said that he won’t play Davis on Sunday, and wouldn’t commit to any further starts for the first baseman.
Before the game, Davis spoke at length about his struggles. The current slump is no worse than any other in this nightmare season. He’s hitless in his last 21 at-bats.
“No, they all feel the same,” Davis said of slumps. “Pretty much stink. I’m just honestly trying to get to the finish line right now. I’m not trying to think too much about what’s gone on all year.
“Just trying to keep my head up and get to the finish line. I feel like as long as I’m healthy-ish, this time of year, I think everybody’s got bumps and bruises, but as long as I’m able to go out there and play, that’s the least I can do, so that’s what I’m going to do.”
Davis was the DH on Saturday, as he has often been since the rosters expanded this month and while it helped him at first, it hasn’t lately. He was batting .180 on Sept. 5, which was its highest point since May 11. It’s .168 now.
“I felt I was swinging the bat the well and then, had a few games off, missed a game with the stomach virus, just little things here and there, and I think that’s kind of set me back a little bit,” Davis said.
“I understand what’s going on around here. We’ve got a lot of guys that they want to take a look at, a lot of guys who have an opportunity to be evaluated. I’m one of the only guys that’s going to be here for the foreseeable future. If I feel like I’m healthy enough to go out there and play, that’s the least I can do.”
After this year, Davis still has four years remaining on his seven-year, $161 million contract, and he’ll be around for a new manager in 2019—if there is one.
“I think change is definitely needed,” Davis said. “What specific changes, I don’t know right now. I’ve really tried to put that out of my thought process.
“The last month, going into what seemed like was going to be a lot of unknown, I try not to think about whether Buck’s going to be here, whether [executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette’s] going to be here, who’s going to be here, who’s not going to be here.
“I’ve got enough on my plate just trying to finish the season without having to worry about all that. I definitely think change is needed. There’s no doubt about that. Losing 100-plus games. If you decide not to change, I think that’s foolish. We’ll see what the offseason brings, and we’ll go from there.”
Showalter said there are ways that Davis can improve over the winter.
“Kind of like last year, we attacked some things, and we’ll continue to do it again,” Showalter said.
“You try to learn from those things, you try to get better, you try to do something different, which he’s tried. I wouldn’t count him out.”
Even though Davis is owed $110 million, including deferred money, there is apparently no thought by Orioles management to release him and save the money with the club in the makeover mode.
“I have thought about that a little bit,” Davis said. “I honestly haven’t heard a whole lot. I think that’s kind of been the plan all along. We didn’t necessarily know we were rebuilding until a few months ago. I don’t think that was the plan coming into the season. I think there was a lot more hope that we would be a better team and then they saw what was right in front of them and tried to do the best with what they had.
“I honestly don’t worry about that. I’ve been fortunate to play here for several years, to see a lot of faces come in and come out, to win, be on postseason teams. To be on a rebuild, it’s tough, especially as an older player. But I understand the commitment I’ve made to the team and the city of Baltimore, and I’m going to honor that as long as I can.”
Bullpen strong in loss
After David Hess allowed two runs on four hits in five innings, the Orioles got five shutout innings from Miguel Castro, Tanner Scott and Mychal Givens. Only Castro allowed a hit.
Paul Fry gave up a game-winning double to Aaron Hicks. The Orioles fell to 44-110.
Hess probably has one more start remaining, and he’s 3-10 with a 5.14 ERA.
“Overall, I think we’ve improved,” Hess said. “You look at where we started when I first came up to where I am now, I think the past month or two, there’s been a lot of improvements, and I think that shows with the numbers.
“But more than anything I think just the overall feel and the comfort that I’ve grown into more out there, I think that reflects and going forward we want to continue to grow in that and be as competitive as possible.”
Cashner still hopeful
Andrew Cashner is hoping that his two-plus innings start on Sept. 12 won’t be the final one of his season. Cashner has a left knee injury and received a cortisone injection, but it hasn’t helped.
Cashner said he’d decide early next week if another start was still possible.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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