In the threatens to become an Orioles home-opener tradition, Chris Davis went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and were increasingly booed for each
Things are miserable right now for the Orioles first baseman. To start the season, he is, incredibly, 0-for-17 with 11 strikeouts. (For the record, his triple-slash is .000 / .190 / .000.) Add to the fact that he's only a year four of a seven-year, $ 161 million contract, and you're going to get angry.
"It's not something I was really expecting," Davis told reporters after the game. “It was tough. At the same time, I heard it a lot last year, and rightfully so. I say it before, I don't say it again: I understand the frustration. Nobody's more frustrated than I am. ”
I'm sure, because it's not only a 2019 thing. Dating back to last season, Davis finds himself 0 for his last 38 – just eight hitless bats away from the MLB record of 0-for-46, set by the Giants' Eugenio Vélez in 2010 and 2011. Vélez was not an everyday player and it took him more than a full calendar year to achieve that historic ohfer, so it's fair to say that Davis's slide is among the most brutal in baseball history.
It would be one thing if it were a fluke. It's another when Davis's 2018 was one of the worst hitting seasons in the long history of the sport.
This, then , is what happens when a king of the three true outcomes is released his speed, and with his power to keep pitchers honest, and is reduced to a one-true outcome hitter. (The one true outcome for all of us is decline, and, eventually, death.) Davis is 33, and while he can't ride an ohfer forever, he's probably beyond the point where a tweak to his mechanics can return him to be the guy who led MLB in home runs as recently as 2015. Or to just be a useful major-league player. Or even a replacement level one. Davis put up a putrid -3.5 bWAR last season, and if to underline this point, was pinch-hit for Thursday's loss by Hanser Alberto, who fouled off four pitches before slapping a single.
I'm not sure where everybody goes from here. Fans aren't going to stop boating, but Davis feels to be more than a worthy of one worthy of antipathy. The Orioles have given any signal that they are willing to consider his contract at a cost and release, even if the replacement level player would probably make the team better. So what about Davis himself? This can't be fun. He's not going to retire, nor with that contract. I was only half-joking when I suggested to someone that he could accept an assignment to Norfolk, where maybe he just spends the next couple of years putting up good numbers against 21-year-olds and not getting yelled at. That doesn't sound so bad, right? Better than this. Anything would be better than this.