When Boston right-hander Ryan Dempster struck out Chris Davis looking in the second inning, it marked the 21st consecutive game in which the Orioles first baseman has gone down on strikes.
In 77 at-bats over those 21 games, Davis has struck out 36 times, part of a sluggish July for the Orioles’ top power hitter. Davis has made it through only one game this month without striking out, and it was the first one July 2 at the Chicago White Sox.
“You know, you go through slumps during the season,” Davis said. “I was very fortunate to have very few in the first half. If I didn’t feel good it was for a couple of days and then I would get a couple hits or I’d walk or something like that to kind of get me going.”
Davis entered the All-Star break with home runs in the final four games of the first half, giving him 37 on the reason. Though he hasn’t homered in the nine games since, he still leads the majors by five over Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera.
In July, Davis is batting .213 with six home runs and 17 RBIs.
“I’m obviously not seeing a lot to hit,” Davis said. “At the same time, I’m not helping myself out very much. I think in the Texas series, the Kansas City series, and obviously this series as well, I’ve swung at a lot of pitches outside the strike zone. That’s one of the things. When you don’t feel great at the plate, you want to try to go out there and create something a lot of times when you’re not getting something to hit. It works against you. I’ll deal with it. I’ll move on. Hopefully, I’ll try and get something started tomorrow.”
In the meantime, other Orioles in the lineup have started to come on of late. Center fielder Adam Jones hit two home runs in Friday night’s victory over the Red Sox, right fielder Nick Markakis is batting .360 during a six-game hitting streak, and catcher Matt Wieters batted .448 during a seven-game hitting streak from July 14-25.
While Davis and his gaudy numbers are often the focus of the Orioles lineup, there are still plenty of potent options surrounding him.
“I think it’s a little bit of overswinging a little bit,” Davis said. “We’re obviously getting a little bit into the deeper part of the season. Guys are starting to feel the effects of the games we’ve played. Mentally, when you’re a little fatigued and you’re going up there and you’re trying to hit 94, 95, you tend to try to gear up a little bit.”