TORONTO — With a home run early and a clutch two-run single late to break open the Orioles' 4-1 win at Toronto on Friday night, first baseman Chris Davis showed he might be in one of those spells where he's the Orioles’ premier offensive threat.
What brings those stretches to pass, however, is still something he admits is hard to pin down.
"I have no idea," Davis said. "I wish I did. It would make this game a lot easier. Maybe it's getting a break here and there, trying to string some good at-bats together. It comes and goes honestly. If I knew what it was that made me tick, I'd be a lot better player."
If this stretch continues, Davis will have two such productive stretches on his resume for 2019. He followed up his hitless three-week start to the season with three weeks of legitimate production, homering five times while batting .290 with a .952 OPS in 21 games after he got his first hit.
He then went 26 games without a homer while batting .145 and striking out 43 times in 90 plate appearances before breaking his home run drought Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Rays. All it takes is three straight games with a hit, as Davis has in July, to raise his average from .169 to .182, for the notion that he's on to something to take hold.
Manager Brandon Hyde said the difference to him is Davis aggression and belief that he can hit the early fastball in an at-bat.
"I think he's just feeling it at the plate," Hyde said. "I think he got some pitches to hit. I like when I see CD ready to hit from the first pitch, and I think he goes through spurts where he gets caught in between, maybe starts guessing a little bit.
"But I like when he's on time with the fastball from the first pitch of the at-bat, and I think that helps him a lot, being ready to hit early on heaters and be on time with the fastball. It allows him to be able to stay on off-speed stuff. When he's overly patient, he's getting in deep counts — pitcher's counts — instead of counts where he can drive the ball. I like when he's ready to hit from the first pitch."
"I think I just am seeing the ball a little bit better, not fighting myself as much, a bit calmer, and just taking advantage of pitches in the zone and not missing those pitches, " Davis said. "I think that's the biggest thing. When I'm struggling, when I'm grinding I'm really fouling those pitches off and swinging through those pitches. I feel like really over the last week or so, I've felt a little bit more patient; feel like I'm seeing the ball a little bit better and I'm able to get my swing off."