OAKLAND — A small crowd watched the Oakland A's shut out the Texas Rangers Tuesday night, but the chant came through loud and clear.
“MVP! MVP! MVP!”
Khris Davis is proving every day that he belongs in that discussion. The A's slugger crushed his 38th home run of the season Tuesday, a two-run opposite field shot, to tie Boston's J.D. Martinez for the MLB lead. Davis drove in three runs on the night, giving him 102 RBI for the season, just four behind Martinez for the league lead.
“Pretty special,” Davis said of the “MVP” chant. “[I'm] just appreciative.”
Davis continued to dominate the Rangers, and upped his season batting average against them to .311. But it's not just Texas he's owned lately, as the 30-year-old has mashed against almost everyone else, too.
Since July 1, Davis is slashing .317/.370/.720 with 18 home runs and 47 RBI. Only Matt Carpenter has more homers (19), and nobody has more RBI.
“Why wouldn't you [chant]?” Bob Melvin asked reporters postgame. “I've been hearing some talk on some of these national broadcasts about MVP, and his name is not even brought up. I mean, how can you not? It's ridiculous that he's not part of that conversation.”
On Tuesday, Davis became just the fifth Oakland A's player to record 100 or more RBI in three straight seasons, and the first since Miguel Tejada and Erich Chavez. He's also within two home runs of his third consecutive 40-homer season.
“He's a joke,” said Brett Anderson, who tossed seven shutout innings Tuesday night to earn the win. “He hits balls that left-handed pull hitters don't hit to right field. The ball comes off his bat different than pretty much everybody I've ever seen. He should definitely be in the [MVP] equation.”
Shortstop Marcus Semien added: “It's impressive, considering this ballpark has been one of the least offensive parks in the league. It doesn't matter with him. He can hit the ball out to all fields, even on cold nights like this.”
Since 2016, Davis leads all of baseball with 123 home runs. Yet he is constantly overlooked when it comes to awards and national recognition. That doesn't bother Davis, who continues to quietly go about his business, allowing his bat do the talking.
“I'm just trying to do my job,” he said. “I've just got to continue working hard and help this team win ballgames. That's probably my main focus, just getting to the playoffs.”
For the second consecutive season, Davis is on pace to improve upon his output from the prior year. He needs six more homers to surpass his total from last season (43), and only nine more RBI. The A's have 36 games left in the campaign.
“Every year he's gotten better with us,” Melvin added. “Just as impressive is the deep count at-bat with the RBI single to center field. That club really wasn't in his bag for awhile, and now he has that too, where he's knocking in big runs without the homer, so he just continues to get better.”