Oakland Athletics: You Can’t Spell Khris Davis Without the ‘K’

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Khris Davis is hitting a meager .147 after two weeks into the season and has struck out in nearly half his at-bats. With RISP, he's 1-for11 and six Ks. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Khris Davis is hitting a meager .147 after two weeks into the season and has struck out in nearly half his at-bats. With RISP, he's 1-for11 and six Ks. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /
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Oakland Athletics Khris Davis Showing He Has a Big Cut, But It Ends There

It seems Oakland Athletics fans were really high on Khris Davis at the start of this baseball year after obtaining the – and I’ll use the word loosely – “slugger” in an off-season trade with the Milwaukee Brewers. After all, this spring he flat-out earned the left field slot, batting .314 and belting two home runs – giving the Athletics a promising outfielder patrolling the Coliseum pasture, along with Billy Burns and Josh Reddick.

But that was Spring Training ,where the games don’t count for anything, and everyone is in first place when the season starts.

As we come into Wednesday night’s game against the Yankees, Davis and his whopping .143 batting average – last for all A’s players – is still in the starting line-up, showing that someone in the Athletics’ organization must still be “high” on Davis (fitting, since the date is 4/20).

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To make matters worse, the guy who whacked 28 home runs for the Brewers last season has struck out in nearly half of his at-bats this year (18 Ks in 42 at-bats), including three times in five at-bats on Tuesday. He has had only one extra-base hit all season – a double back in the second game of the season that was his first hit as an Athletic. With runners in scoring position, he’s 1-for-11, striking out six times. Davis has only come through once, on April 15 against the Royals: a fourth-inning single off the glove of the shortstop in a 4-2 losing effort.

So why hasn’t Davis been kept out of the lineup? He’s been in 12 of the A’s first 14 games, has only contributed one RBI all season, and is hitting no better than a National League pitcher.

If the team can sit $22 million in salaries with the struggling Billy Butler alongside Coco Crisp, then why can’t they bench Davis? Unfortunately the back-ups are Crisp himself, with his .158 average, or Mark Cahna, who is striking out over 50 percent of the time, with 8 whiffs in only 14 at bats.

But in Cahna’s defense, he needs more playing time to get a true weigh-in on his contributions. He seemed to be back last night against the Yankees. delivering the go-ahead run in the 11th inning. He also has a home run in his brief playing time this season. As a rookie last season, Canha amassed 16 home runs and 70 RBIs in 124 games.  In August, after he acquired a regular role in the lineup, he hit over .300 and continued the pace to the end of the season. If given the chance to play every day, he can be the ideal number 2 batter behind Billy Burns.

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Whatever the choice, Davis isn’t cutting it – OK, maybe he is cutting, a bit too much, and that seems to be the problem. At this point, the Athletics may take a run with Crisp in left along with more time for Cahna, until Davis gets his eye at the plate back.

A’s fans have seen this failing promise before with left fielders, with Chris Young in 2013, Scott Hairston in 2009 and as far back as Allen Battle in 1996.

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