Baltimore Orioles’ 1B Chris Davis snaps out of MLB-record hitting slump with RBI single against the Boston Red Sox on Saturday
By the jubilation shown by the Baltimore Orioles dugout on Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park, you might think they had just won the World Series.
Instead, the Orioles players were celebrating a teammate snapping out of a nightmare that’s tormented him since last September. Chris Davis, mired in an MLB-record 54 at-bat hitting drought, finally got a hit against the Boston Red Sox on Saturday, singling to right field off Red Sox starter Rick Porcello with the bases loaded in the first inning.
Davis, with four years left on the $161 million deal he signed in 2016, last collected a hit on Sept. 14 against the Chicago White Sox. Since then he had gone 59 straight plate appearances hitless, breaking the previous record of 57 by Tony Bernazard of the Cleveland Indians in 1984. He had been 0-33 so far this season with 16 strikeouts.
The ignominious streak completed a stunning downfall for someone who used to be one of the most feared hitters in the game. Davis hit 53 home runs in 2013. Just four seasons ago he led the American League with 47 home runs and hit .262. But last season his batting average fell to just .168, the worst in MLB history among qualified hitters.
Despite the streak, the Orioles continued to put him into the lineup on an everyday basis hoping he would rediscover his old self. “I’m pulling for him,” manager Brandon Hyde said on April 8. “I’m trying to put him in positions to have success and I talk to him a lot. He’s really up front with it.”
After Davis finally got to first base against the Red Sox, a few of his teammates ran out of the dugout clapping. Davis, playing along, asked for the ball like it was his first career hit. His single drove in two runs and gave the Orioles an early 2-0 lead against the defending World Series champions.
Davis’ batting average in 2019 is now .029, but for him, it must feel a lot better than seeing all zeros next to his name in the box score.