When Chris Davis homered out of the cleanup spot in the Orioles’ 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels on May 12, his average had climbed from the infamous .000 through 12 games to the brink of .200 in the span of a month. It was hard to imagine he would be back to this point so quickly.
On Saturday night, Davis was out of the lineup for the second straight game in Colorado and third time in a week as the Orioles try to again pull him out of one of his significant funks. Since that game against the Angels, the Orioles had a pair of rainouts, and in the ensuing 11 games Davis went 4-for-34 (.118) with two walks and 22 strikeouts. He entered Saturday batting .171.
"I just think that he's in a little bit of a rut," Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. "We had a few weeks there where he was really taking good at-bats and swinging the bat well. In the last two weeks or so, he's just fallen back a little bit into indecision, possibly in-between pitches — late on the heater, out in front of off-speed. Maybe pressing a little bit, and I want him to relax, and I want him to focus on taking good at-bats, and sometimes the best thing is to get away from it for a little while."
It's another in a series of extremes for Davis, who began this season by extending his major league-record streak of hitless at-bats and plate appearances to 54 and 62, respectively. Beginning with the April 13 game in which he got that elusive hit, Davis reeled off a 21-game stretch in which he hit five home runs while batting .290/.371/.581.
He got plenty of praise from Hyde and his fellow Orioles for the work he did to pull out of his rough stretch and become a productive force who pushed his way up to the lineup's No. 4 spot. That work continued at least earlier this week with extra batting practice against a pitching machine to simulate game velocity.
But how quickly the results of his side work show up in a game has a lot to do with when he plays again — and Hyde said it wouldn't be this weekend in Colorado, at least not in the starting lineup. The Detroit Tigers are scheduled to start three left-handers in the three-game series that begins Monday at Camden Yards, and that won't help matters.
"I'm not sure," Hyde said. "I'm day to day right now with him. I'm giving him a breather as of right now, but we're going to go from there. Not today, not tomorrow. I just want Chris to feel good, and I care about Chris. I just want to put in positions to have success, and I want to give him breaks when I feel like he needs it. We have an awesome, awesome relationship. I just want to do what's best for him."
Ynoa to start Monday
Right-hander Gabriel Ynoa will start in Dan Straily's recently vacated rotation spot in Monday's series opener against the Tigers on Memorial Day, Hyde said.
"He's more stretched out than our other guys, and he's been in kind of a long-relief role for us," Hyde said. "We're going to give him an opportunity to start on Monday."
Ynoa has a 5.60 ERA in nine appearances this season.
Around the horn
Former Orioles outfield prospect Mike Yastrzemski made his major league debut Saturday for the San Francisco Giants, going 0-for-3 with a run scored after he was hit by a pitch in a loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Orioles dealt Yastrzemski to the Giants at the end of spring training. … Straily said he supported the decision to move him to the bullpen. "The stuff's just not sharp," Straily said. "It's kind of bland right now. We're trying to get that crispness back to the pitches."