Khris Davis' mysterious power outage is one of the biggest storylines over the last two seasons of Oakland A’s baseball. But with the team advancing to the ALDS and down one of their big bats in Matt Chapman, Davis appears to be coming around.
“He’s back,” starter Chris Bassitt proclaimed Monday night following the A’s Game 1 loss to the Astros. “We’ve been saying it in the clubhouse.”
After hitting 133 home runs and driving in 335 RBI over his first three seasons in an A’s uniform, the 32-year-old slugger came crashing back down to Earth. He was limited to 23 homers and 73 RBI last season, and his struggles carried over to the 2020 campaign, where he hit just two deep balls and drove in 10 runs over 99 at-bats.
“The whole season he’s been grinding to get back, but the last month, we’ve been like, ‘Man, you’re truly back,’” Bassitt said. “The world is kind of catching on that he truly is back to normal form.”
After crushing a ball in a must-win Game 2 victory over the White Sox in the AL Wild Card Series, Davis did it again in Monday's game against the Astros.
“He hit the ball well last series,” first baseman Matt Olson said. “It’s good to get his confidence going and we’ve got a lot of baseball left.”
After a one-out walk by Olson in the second inning, Davis attacked a 93 mph first-pitch sinker from Astros starter Lance McCullers and blasted it 418 feet into the bleachers at Dodgers stadium.
“That was huge, he put us on the board two-to-nothing,” manager Bob Melvin said. “He hits it kind of in his sweet spot out to right center field. He gets a hit the next time up. He’s been doing his best work here recently.”
Melvin has shown a lot of faith in Davis over the last three games. He has seen the work the slugger has put in behind the scenes and he's also aware of the leadership role Davis holds in the clubhouse.
Davis’ teammates haven’t lost faith in him. In fact, they all seem to be waiting for a moment like this when one of the great power hitters in the game regains his edge.
“KD can do some things that not everybody can do,” Olson said. “You saw it today, that home run to right field ... he’s got the most right-field juice out of any righty that I’ve seen.”
Davis hit in the six hole for Melvin’s squad in the series opener against Houston, but the A’s manager has been moving his players around the lineup almost on a daily basis. Whether he’s hitting cleanup or sitting near the bottom of the lineup, it sounds like Davis has regained his footing, and it might be at the perfect moment.
“He’ll continue to get at-bats, as he should,” Melvin said. “Because he’s swinging the bat really well and it's the postseason. This is a guy that’s done a lot of damage over the course of his career.”
With the A's already down a game in the best-of-five series against the Astros, they need all hands on deck. If Davis can give the team a monster right-handed bat in the lineup, it could greatly increase their chances of advancing.