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Davis, Chapman put on a show in Tokyo

@JaneMLB
March 18, 2019

TOKYO -- Khris Davis did Khris Davis things on the other side of the world Monday, homering in dramatic fashion for a mostly new audience. Others, of course, have seen this act play out many times before. “I literally said, I’ve seen this happen before,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said.

TOKYO -- Khris Davis did Khris Davis things on the other side of the world Monday, homering in dramatic fashion for a mostly new audience. Others, of course, have seen this act play out many times before.

“I literally said, I’ve seen this happen before,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “The guys were saying the same thing, so it wasn’t a surprise to anybody.”

Davis’ two-out, three-run homer in the ninth inning put the A’s in a tie with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, 6-6. That’s the way this exhibition finale would end at Tokyo Dome, where they’ll be back in action on Wednesday for the much-anticipated Opening Series with the Mariners.

“It’s a little tougher because you haven’t seen them, but you just take your ABs and try to do your job,” Davis said. “Just try to simplify it. Sometimes too much information can be bad.”

“They’re not easy at-bats,” A’s third baseman Matt Chapman said of facing the Fighters. “They throw a lot of different pitches, some pitches we hadn’t seen before, and their delivery style is a little different than the one we’re used to. They keep you off-balance, they’re quick to the plate, they change locations in and out. It seems like you’re not seeing the same pitches twice, so it’s definitely challenging.”

Yet, as Melvin noted: “Says the guy that got on base eight straight times.”

After going 3-for-3 with two walks in Sunday’s game, Chapman picked up two hits in as many at-bats and added another walk Monday, reaching in all eight of his plate appearances against the Fighters.

“The guy’s ready,” Davis said.

Both players were slowed this spring -- Chapman finished rehabbing his surgically repaired left shoulder, while Davis dealt with a left calf strain -- and suddenly appear ready to roll, just in time.

“They’re our key players for sure, and you want to get good at-bats leading into the season,” Melvin said. “It lends for some confidence, and when you get on base eight straight times, you’d think you’re pretty confident, and then KD saved his best for last as we’ve seen him do so many times.

“These are two of not only our best players but two of the best in the league.”

Fiers raring to go
A’s right-hander Mike Fiers will soon make the first Opening Day start of his career -- in front of a televised audience that won’t include many friends.

“My dad is definitely going to record it, but my friends won’t be up,” Fiers said. “They ain’t staying up for that. They have work in the morning. But I’m sure they’ll find a way to watch it -- record it or just watch the reruns.”

A 6:35 p.m. start time in Tokyo on Wednesday equates to a 2:35 a.m. PT first pitch in Oakland. Regardless of who’s watching, though, Fiers is eager to get going.

“Oh, I mean it’s definitely a pleasure,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for me. It kind of speaks highly of what this organization and the coaching staff thinks of me as a pitcher to lead this team.”

“I think he’s inspired by the fact that this is his first time doing it,” Melvin said. “He was with us last year, he performed well and was a big part of the season for us. We felt right away early in spring that he would probably be the guy for the job, and a veteran guy tends to have maybe less nerves than a younger guy.”

Fiers will be opposed by Seattle lefty Marco Gonzales, who is interrupting Felix Hernandez’s run of 10 consecutive Opening Day assignments.

The A’s, of course, have been on the other side for many of them.

“He’s had his way with us for a while now," Melvin said. "Maybe he’s a little different at this point in time, but when you’ve experienced him on Opening Day on what seems like every Opening Day since I’ve been here, it feels like we’re on the short end of the stick on that. Marco Gonzales has performed really well and deserves to start, but I’ve had enough pain from Felix to maybe feel a little relief from that.”

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.