Chris Davis returned to Baltimore knowing he has to prove himself all over again to the home crowd.
He said he feels new and improved after his five-RBI weekend in Atlanta, but still has to convince Orioles fans that he figured something out during that eight-game span in which he watched from the dugout and reassessed his approach at the plate.
“I hope so,’’ he said before Monday night’s series opener against the Seattle Mariners at Camden Yards. “I feel I’m a completely different player and I hope that showed the last couple of games, but I understand their frustration. I know exactly what I’m capable of and what I’ve done in the past. I know the standard is high and I haven’t been playing that well, but at some point in time, at least for me, I’ve got to move on and move forward and try to find a way to still have an impact on this season.”
Despite his success against the Braves, Davis didn’t look like much different in three of his four at-bats Monday, striking out both times against Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez and again in the eighth inning. He got a nice ovation when he made a quick reaction play to flag down a line drive in the second inning, but heard a smattering of boos after the second strikeout.
No one imagined he would never strike out again, but it would have been nice of him to put on more of a show in his first game back at Camden Yards.
Davis did join a two-run rally in the sixth inning, getting hit by a pitch to load the bases with no one out. Not exactly like the opposite-field home run or three-run double he delivered in Atlanta, but he had an impact.
Obviously, it’s not just about Davis. The Orioles are in the midst of a horrendous season, and that has been reflected in the stands. They drew a decent Monday crowd (an announced 21,202) for the team’s Buck “Snow”alter snow globe giveaway, but they have been a hard sell on most nights.
“It’s frustrating,’’ Davis said. “We always want to see the stands packed as players. That’s part of the adrenaline rush. That’s part of the things that get us going. But we also understand we have a role and responsibility to provide something people want to see. If the seats are empty and we’re winning ballgames, that’s another issue, but that’s not the case right now.”
The Orioles have fallen way, way out of contention, and they’re not going to get up. The only thing left to play for is the chance to change the future.
“I was fortunate enough to be traded over here halfway through 2011 and this really is the first time — and I think about last year, too — we haven’t won here,’’ Davis said. “I don’t like it. Nobody in this clubhouse likes it, and we have to find a way to change that, and that’s why we think the rest of the season is so important.”
Read more from columnist Peter Schmuck on his blog, "The Schmuck Stops Here," at baltimoresun.com/schmuckblog.
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