OAKLAND — The power Khris Davis shows at the normally pitcher-friendly Coliseum is self-evident.
It’s a good thing, because the A’s slugger sure isn’t one for talking about it.
Asked Friday night if it was extra-special setting a career high in homers in his first season with Oakland, Davis just shook his head.
Quizzed on why his swing allows him to generate so much opposite-field power in this ballpark, he offered:
“I don’t know, I honestly don’t know. I have no answer.”
If it ain’t broke, why discuss it?
Davis connected for his 28th homer during the A’s three-run first inning Friday against Mariners starter Joe Wieland, which sent them on their way to a 6-3 victory to open this three-game series. He went after an 0-1 pitch on the outer half of the plate and drilled it over the wall in the right field corner for a two-run shot.
Though Davis has shown his pull-power this season, the most convincing display of the thunder in his bat comes on the homers he's hit to right.
‘Nobody hits the ball like that down the right-field line,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “Guys just don’t do that. His opposite-field power is similar to a guy like (Miguel) Cabrera.”
With 28 homers and 46 games left, Davis stands a good chance of posting the A’s best home run season of the past decade. He needs six more to eclipse Jack Cust’s total of 33 in 2008. But in the grander scheme, it’s big for the A’s that they’ve landed a guy with the ability to mash at his home ballpark.
Davis’ 15 homers at the Coliseum are the most for an A’s player at the venue since Josh Reddick hit 18 in 2012. The Coliseum isn’t known for being generous to home-run hitters, and it’s considered even tougher to homer in Oakland at night. Given that, it’s worth noting that Davis’ 23 homers in night games leads the majors and is the most night homers by an Athletic over the last 10 years.
“He's got the most power to right field that I've seen,” A’s shortstop Marcus Semien said. “Wherever the pitch is, he's trying to hit it there. He knows he can hit it out of the park anywhere, so that's a special gift to have.” Davis, 28, came over in a February trade from Milwaukee, and while he was floundering through a rough April during his first month with his new club, hitting coach Darren Bush still credited the work ethic he was showing in the batting cage. Now that Davis has busted out, tying for fifth in the American League in homers and leading the A’s with 72 RBI, Bush says he’s happy that all the work is paying off. But he also doesn’t deny Davis’ natural tools.
“It’s strength, but it’s hand strength,” Bush said. “He’s got really good bat speed, he has bat speed from the beginning to the end. He keeps his bat in the zone a long time. You see guys like the other Chris Davis, you see guys like Miguel Cabrera. Those guys have that kind of strength. He’s the same way, a ton of strength in his hands.”
One thing Davis will open up about to reporters: The comfort level he feels with the A’s. That bodes well, because he’s just about to enter his first year of arbitration this winter. He’ll be in line for a substantial pay hike over the $525,000 he’s making this season, but his affordability would seemingly have him locked into the A’s plans for next season.
“It’s more the organization, the team. That’s where I find my comfort level,” Davis said. “That’s who I’m playing for. I’ve been having a good time as long as we win. Just being a new guy, knowing my surroundings and dealing with the day-to-day people, it’s all been great.”