Khris Davis

Why A's Bob Melvin, Billy Beane believe Khris Davis will bounce back

Why A's Bob Melvin, Billy Beane believe Khris Davis will bounce back

OAKLAND -- For all of the positive developments in the A's 2019 season, there still is one giant unsolved mystery.

What in the world happened to Khris Davis?

After recording at least 40 home runs and 100 RBI in each of his first three seasons with the A's, while incredibly batting .247 all three years, Davis plummeted back to earth this year. The 31-year-old slashed just .220/.293/.387, all career-worsts, with only 23 homers and 73 RBI.

"I know it was frustrating for Khris," A's executive vice president Billy Beane said. "I think he probably put a lot of pressure on himself. Khris takes a lot of pride in his role on the team and being that guy who's the 40-homer, middle-of-the-lineup guy. I think he was trying to find the answer as much as anybody, and it certainly wasn't for a lack of effort on his part or the coaching staff's.

"But we expect him to come back next year and return to his annual 40-homer, .247 (batting average)."

Davis actually got off to a tremendous start this season, batting .265 with 10 home runs and 19 RBI in his first 17 games. A week later, he signed a two-year, $33.5 million contract extension. That's when everything started to go wrong.

In his next 14 games, Davis failed to hit a home run, batting a lowly .189 during that stretch. Then on May 5, he collided with the left-field side wall in Pittsburgh, suffering a left hip contusion. From that point on, Davis hit 13 long balls in his final 97 games.

"The injury kind of sidetracked him," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He wasn't injured at the end of the year. For a guy that's used to being 'the guy' and is consistent at .247 with 40-something home runs and 100 RBI, it's hard. It's hard. You can get down on yourself and you can lose confidence.

"And then when it continues, it starts to snowball on you a little bit, and I think that was the case with him."

The question now is whether Davis can find a way to revert to the Khris Davis of old. Both Melvin and Beane are confident that he can and will.

"I expect him to come back and produce like he always has, and I know he expects the same thing," Melvin said. "Sometimes you just need a little bit of distance from a difficult year. When you look at the back of a baseball card, there's always going to be a year -- your worst year is going to be on there.

"He's been so consistent for us that it stands out, but I think he and we expect him to come back and do the things he has in the past."

Beane is on the same page as his manager regarding Davis' future, too.

[RELATED: Why A's will win World Series within next three seasons]

"He'll come back and he should be healthier. He had some little injuries at the beginning of the year that possibly could've been a factor. He hasn't used that as an excuse, to his credit. But they were there. He had the collision with the wall in Pittsburgh and then other issues as well. Again, he didn't use it as an excuse, but it's quite possible that there were some things that happened as a result of those injuries that messed with his mechanics a little bit.

"But he's got the offseason to forget about it and come back like we know he can."

A's vs. Mariners lineups: Mark Canha, Khris Davis back in wild-card lock game

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A's vs. Mariners lineups: Mark Canha, Khris Davis back in wild-card lock game

Mark Canha and Khris Davis return to the lineup Friday night as the A's look to clinch a playoff berth for the second straight season.

Oakland needs either a win in Seattle or an Indians loss in Washington to lock up a spot in the AL Wild Card Game. The A's also lead the Tampa Bay Rays by one game for the top wild-card position.

Canha will start in center field and bat fifth after missing Thursday's game with a left groin strain. Davis will serve as the DH and hit sixth. He missed two games with the stomach flu.

Right-hander Mike Fiers will take the hill for Oakland, seeking his 16th win of the season, which would be the most by an A's pitcher since Bartolo Colón won 18 games in 2013. Fiers, 34, is 15-4 with a 3.91 ERA in 32 starts. In 11 career outings against the Mariners, he is 3-2 with a 6.15 ERA.

Seattle will counter with left-hander Justus Sheffield. The 23-year-old is 0-1 with a 6.10 ERA in seven games this season, including six starts. This will be his first time facing the A's.

Here are the full lineups for the A's-Mariners game, which will be broadcast on NBC Sports California and the MyTeams app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. PT, with first pitch at 7:10.

Oakland A's (96-63)
SS Marcus Semien
RF Ramón Laureano
3B Matt Chapman
1B Matt Olson
CF Mark Canha
DH Khris Davis
LF Chad Pinder
2B Sheldon Neuse
C Josh Phegley

RHP Mike Fiers (15-4, 3.91 ERA)

Seattle Mariners (66-93)
LF Shed Long
SS J.P. Crawford
1B Austin Nola 
3B Kyle Seager
RF Kyle Lewis
DH Daniel Vogelbach
C Tom Murphy
2B Donnie Walton
CF Dylan Moore

LHP Justus Sheffield (0-1, 6.10 ERA)

A's vs. Mariners lineup: Khris Davis, Mark Canha won't face King Felix

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A's vs. Mariners lineup: Khris Davis, Mark Canha won't face King Felix

The A's will be a bit shorthanded Thursday night as they open their final series of the regular season in Seattle.

Oakland will be without outfielder Mark Canha and designated hitter Khris Davis. Canha strained his left groin late in Wednesday's win over the Angels, while Davis will miss his second straight game due to illness.

Ramón Laureano will move from right to center field and bat cleanup, while Robbie Grossman will start in right and hit eighth. Chad Pinder replaces Davis in the DH spot and will bat seventh.

Left-hander Sean Manaea will be on the hill for Oakland, making his fifth start of the season. The 27-year-old has been terrific in his first four outings, going 3-0 with a 1.14 ERA and 0.80 WHIP. In 10 career starts against the Mariners, Manaea is 5-4 with a 3.90 ERA.

Meanwhile, Félix Hernández will likely be making his final start in a Seattle uniform. The 33-year-old right-hander has had a brilliant career with the Mariners, going 169-135 with a 3.42 ERA and 2,521 strikeouts over his 15-year career.

Hernández has struggled this season, however, going just 1-7 with a 6.51 ERA in 14 starts. In 52 career appearances against Oakland, he is 26-14 with a 2.85 ERA.

The A's enter the series with a magic number of three to clinch their second straight playoff berth. Oakland leads the Tampa Bay Rays by half a game and the Cleveland Indians by two games in the AL wild-card race.

[RELATED: How Chapman saved A's season]

Here are the full lineups for the A's-Mariners game, which will be broadcast on NBC Sports California and the MyTeams app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. PT, with first pitch at 7:10.

Oakland A's (95-63)
SS Marcus Semien
3B Matt Chapman
1B Matt Olson
CF Ramón Laureano
LF Seth Brown
2B Jurickson Profar
DH Chad Pinder
RF Robbie Grossman
C Sean Murphy

LHP Sean Manaea (3-0, 1.14 ERA)

Seattle Mariners (66-92)
2B Shed Long
SS J.P. Crawford
RF Kyle Lewis
3B Kyle Seager
1B Austin Nola
C Omar Narváez
DH Domingo Santana
LF Dylan Moore
CF Mallex Smith

RHP Félix Hernández (1-7, 6.51 ERA)