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Chris Davis extends hitless run to record 61 PA

@JoeTrezz
April 11, 2019

BALTIMORE -- What a difference a week makes. Each time Chris Davis walks to the plate, the sound that fills Oriole Park is one of compassion, of support, of empathy in an unconditional form. Such was the scene once again Thursday afternoon, all four times Davis’ name was announced during

BALTIMORE -- What a difference a week makes. Each time Chris Davis walks to the plate, the sound that fills Oriole Park is one of compassion, of support, of empathy in an unconditional form.

Such was the scene once again Thursday afternoon, all four times Davis’ name was announced during the Orioles’ 8-5 loss to the A’s. His historic hitless streak is still alive, now the longest ever by a position player by several measures. But the atmosphere surrounding Davis has demonstrably changed as his plight has caught the attention of a national audience.

“I appreciate it so much,” Davis said. “Really the last few nights, just the encouraging yells and shouts throughout the game and I know they’re behind me. I know the people that boo aren’t the majority and I really appreciate the fans showing up and backing me.”

They cheered early and often Thursday, before and after Davis stretched his hitless run to an MLB-record 58 consecutive plate appearances by lining out in the first. They cheered before he grounded into the shift in the fourth, before he walked in the seventh. Davis received a standing ovation from the crowd of 8,374 on hand prior to striking out against Joakim Soria in the eighth. That punch-out stretched his hitless streak to 61 plate appearances, four past the previous record set by Tony Bernazard in 1984. Earlier this week, Davis passed Eugenio Velez’s record of 46 straight hitless at bats, which had stood since 2011. He is 0-for-his-last-53 dating back to Sept. 14 of last season.

“It is what it is,” Davis said. “The more I try to go out there and do or the more I try to shoulder this all by myself, the harder it gets. I have to trust the process, I have to trust the work I’m putting in. At some point it’s going to turn around.”

Until then, Davis and the Orioles remain focused on the positives, which are plain to see in his underyling metrics. The streak has persisted despite Davis making hard contact consistently over the course of this past homestand. He’s put his last nine balls in play with exit velocities of upwards of 90 mph, including one Thursday at a season-high 105.1 mph. Three of the past four registered more than 100 mph.

Sitting on Bernazard’s record in the first, his 105.1 mph liner to center off A’s starter Aaron Brooks left the bat at a 18 degree launch angle – similarly batted balls result in a .650 expected batting average, per Statcast. Nonetheless, it settled into Ramon Laureano’s glove to secure another unfortunate place for Davis in baseball lore.

“When I hit it I knew it was a good swing. I mean, I did everything I could. That’s just kind of the way it’s going right now,” Davis said. “[The at-bats] feel completely different. I would hope it looks different, too.”

Said O’s manager Brandon Hyde: “We were hoping the ball got over Laureano’s head, not quite enough.”

Joe Trezza covers the Orioles for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JoeTrezz.