Davis' woes continue as A's drop 3rd straight

Oakland slugger strikes out 4 times in loss to Rangers

July 27th, 2019

OAKLAND -- If there was ever a perfect moment for to break his home run drought, it was in the ninth inning Friday night.

Trailing the Rangers by three runs entering the inning, and led off by reaching base to set the table for the A’s slugger to come to the plate as the potential tying run. But something has been off with Davis over the past month, and the struggles continued.

Davis struck out against Rangers reliever Chris Martin, and the A’s went down quietly in a 5-2 loss that dropped them a half game behind the Rays for the second American League Wild Card. The loss also marked the first time Oakland has lost three in a row since dropping five straight from May 28 to June 2.

The strikeout was the fourth of the night for Davis, who left the ballpark without talking to reporters, and he’s now homerless over his past 28 games, the longest stretch of his career without a home run over a single season.

“You go through a drought and he wants to be there for his guys and maybe starts pressing a little bit and trying to do too much,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “Right now, it’s not going for him. He needs a good game to get his confidence back.”

Signs of a resurgence were scattered during the club’s recent seven-game road trip. Davis was driving the ball the opposite way with power, which is usually what he does at his best. With his 30 home runs against the Rangers, the most he’s hit against a single team over his career, this four-game series sets up as a good opportunity to get back on track. So far in the two games back from that road trip, Davis is 0-for-7 through the first two games with five strikeouts.

Davis saw 15 pitches from Rangers pitchers Friday and swung through 11 of those for strikes. The designated hitter dealt with separate hand and oblique issues earlier in the season, but Melvin doesn’t believe Davis’ slump is the result of any physical issue.

“His swings are healthy again,” Melvin said. “It’s not like before when he had some hand or side problems. The swings are fine. He’s just going through a drought.”

Davis was just one of many A’s hitters continuing a collective funk at the plate. Oakland’s offense has combined for just seven runs over its last 27 innings and hasn't hit a home run in the past three games.

Much like the previous night, the A’s had Texas’ starter on the ropes early with the first three batters of the first inning each reaching base against Lance Lynn to load the bases with no outs. A sacrifice fly by Ramon Laureano got the A’s on the board, but that was the only run of the inning the offense as Lynn pitched his way out of the jam and settled in soon after.

“The game was similar to yesterday,” Melvin said. “We had guys on base and had a really good pitcher on the run. He got out of the first with one run and was a little different guy after that. We put a bunch of pitches on him and looked like even if we weren’t going to score, we might get him out of the game earlier. But he got back into it and got early-count outs as it went along and ended up giving them what they needed to win the game. We weren’t able to finish him off.”

Lynn held the A’s to just two runs (one earned) on four hits over six innings. Through the first two games against Texas, Oakland has registered a total of two hits after the third inning.

In the final games of a stretch of 13 consecutive games without a day off, the A’s could be feeling the after-effects of what was a hot and humid seven-game road trip in Minnesota and Houston last week.

“Tonight would have been nice to come back and win. That would have been a nice pick-me-up. But we’re fighting and I think we’re on the right track,” Canha said. “We just need something to happen, somebody to make something happen and pull together and dig through.

“This stuff happens over the course of the season. It hurts more now because we’re getting into the point where all the games feel important. I think we just have to stay even-keeled and stay on track.”

Laureano nabs another
Shin-Soo Choo either forgot to read the scouting report on Laureano or just really wanted to see if the hype about the center fielder’s arm is real. He found out the hard way in the ninth.

After a flyout to deep center by Rougned Odor, Choo tagged up from first and attempted to take second when Laureano fired a missile to Jurickson Profar that arrived in plenty of time for a double play. It was yet another outfield assist for Laureano, who leads the Majors with 17 since his Major League debut on Aug. 3, 2018.