By Dan Connolly
The Baltimore Sun
10:25 PM EDT, April 5, 2013
Orioles first baseman Chris Davis has been here before, with fans screaming his name and his teammates shaking their heads at his latest incredible power display.
Davis, though, also has been on the other side, when things are going terribly and he's sent to the minors and he's not really sure he can play this game.
So that's why, after his eighth-inning grand slam in Friday's home opener — which gave the Orioles' a 9-5 win over the Minnesota Twins and Davis a mind-numbing four homers and 16 RBIs in four 2013 games — the extroverted first baseman was rather subdued.
He almost seemed embarrassed by his Bunyan-eque baseball feats — 11 homers in his last 11 regular season games dating back to 2012.
"There were times when it was really hard to go out on a baseball field and grind out four at-bats. But you learn from that," Davis said after the game. "You remember that. And it keeps you humble. That's one of the big things in this game. You can be as hot as wildfire one minute and cold as ice the next minute. You've just got to ride out the highs and grind out the lows."
He's riding the wave right now, at an historic clip. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no player in baseball history has driven in more runs in the first four games of a season. Only three other players in baseball history — Willie Mays, Mark McGwire and Nelson Cruz — have homered in each of their club's first four games of a season. No one has done it five times.
"You put him in the Grand Canyon, he'll hit it out," Orioles center fielder Adam Jones said.
Says left fielder Nate McLouth: "I've never seen anything like that. I've seen guys get hot, but he's doing damage. He's not just getting hits. … To be in that kind of zone is amazing. When you've got the power that he's got, you can do some special things and it's so fun to watch."
Davis, 27, is currently on pace for 162 home runs and 648 RBIs.
"I don't know if I am going to get all those," Davis said, laughing.
Still, what he is doing is so unusual that even manager Buck Showalter is playing along with the hyperbole. Whenever Showalter is asked a "have you seen this before" question, he almost always responds with a "probably" and an explanation that a lot of impressive things have happened as he's watched this game.
So has he ever been around a player on this scorching of a hot streak?
"You all know I'm one of those guys that says, 'Well I can probably think back and …,'" Showalter said, cutting himself off. "Probably not."
There is one player willing to challenge the conventional wisdom that Davis is currently at his most scalding. Orioles right-hander Tommy Hunter played in the Texas Rangers organization with Davis and remembers a time in Triple-A Round Rock where he seemingly was unstoppable for weeks.
"I'm not like, 'Whoa, he's doing this?' Nah. A lot of the other guys who've played with him would probably say the same thing," Hunter said. "He's had a run that squashes this one like Andre the Giant on an ant."
In 2011 at Round Rock, he hit 10 homers and had 28 RBIs in a 21-game stretch; 20 homers and 52 RBIs in 31 games at home and batted .700 with four homers and nine RBISs in one three-game series.
But that was in the minors. And that was with an organization that shuttled him between Triple-A and the majors and eventually traded him (and Hunter) for reliever Koji Uehara.
Davis is now getting curtain calls at Camden Yards. But as he does it, he's not forgetting his up-and-down days a few years ago. He's taking that with him as he enjoys this ride.
"I think a lot of things that happened to me when I was younger, my hot start with Texas as a rookie [in 2008] and then struggling and going back and forth, I just really learned a lot about myself," Davis said. "Not only as a player but as a person."
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