BALTIMORE—Chris Davis has a record he doesn’t want. When he flied out to left field in the fifth inning on Monday night against the Oakland Athletics, he set a major league mark for position players with 47 consecutive at-bats without a hit.
Davis, who is 0-for-24 this season, was hitless in his final 23 at-bats in 2018. On Monday night he passed Eugenio Velez, who had 46 hitless at-bats with the San Francisco Giants in 2010 and Los Angeles Dodgers in 2011.
Davis received a warm welcome when he came to the plate for his first at-bat in the second inning. When he flied sharply to right, he trotted back to the bench to more applause from the announced crowd of 6,585.
In the third, Davis was greeted with even louder applause when he came up with runners on first and second and one out. On an 0-2 count, he popped a foul to short right field, and Oakland second baseman Jurickson Profar dropped it for an error.
Given a reprieve, Davis lined to left but still heard some applause when he tied the record.
In the fifth, he heard even more applause before his historic at-bat. When he sat after setting the dubious record, he heard a smattering of cheers.
Despite his streak, manager Brandon Hyde said Davis insisted on playing.
“I talked to Chris after the game yesterday, and he really wanted to play today.”
Hyde had little knowledge of Davis before taking the job.
“I went into it not knowing what to expect,” Hyde said. “I was hoping he’d get off to a good start. I was hoping that we’d have a good relationship and that he’d play well early and hit, and he got off to a slow start. That’s the nature of the game. It’s the nature of this, and so that’s why it’s talked about a lot.”
Davis received loud boos on Opening Day when he struck out three times, but over the weekend was jeered only when he struck out in his final two at-bats on Sunday.
Hyde’s previous experience was as a coach for the Chicago Cubs, who play before one of the most outspoken crowds in all of baseball at Wrigley Field.
“I came from Chicago, unbelievable fan base and really passionate about the team and the players and what’s going on on a daily basis like this fan base,” Hyde said.
“That’s what you want. You want a fan base that cares and fans are welcome to handle situations the way they want to and, unfortunately, it’s hard to listen to, and it’s hard to hear for me, but I haven’t been here in the past, either, so this is pretty fresh for me. I know how some fans in Chicago handled some of our players that were going through tough times, so I’ve been aware and around that kind of stuff before.
“I’m pulling for him. I’m trying to put him in a position to have success. I talk to him a lot. He’s upfront with it, and we talked a lot about that and talked a lot about other situations as well. I don’t want to hide anything. I don’t want to mask his struggles and what he went through last year so we’re taking this thing head on, and I appreciate that from him, too, that he’s open about things with me.
“I think anytime your player struggles, it’s not easy to watch. I want to see him have success. I want to see all our guys have success. You do your best as a coach to try to put guys in the right situation, to help out mentally, physically, whatever you can. When you see guys struggle, it’s hard.
“One thing about Chris is, that inside our clubhouse, he’s taking this thing head on. He is making every effort to ride this ship of tough times and try to take good [at-bats] every day, and it just hasn’t happened. You pull for him, but this is a results business, and I understand how the fans feel. I want to see him do well soon.”