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Khris Davis breaking long slump at perfect moment

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It took two years, but Davis is khrushing the ball once more

Division Series - Houston Astros v Oakland Athletics - Game Two Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

It’s time for everyone’s favorite game: Name that stat line! Following are two September batting lines for hitters on the 2020 Oakland A’s.

  • Player A: .267/.327/.556, 140 wRC+, 3 HR, 4.1% BB, 16.3% Ks
  • Player B: .296/.375/.519, 144 wRC+, 1 HR, 12.5% BB, 21.9% Ks

Both excellent! Player A hit for a bit more power, while Player B also slugged but added in some walks to get on base more. Their skills averaged out to similar production overall, and in Statcast’s xwOBA they were separated by only four points.

Obviously, one of those is Jake Lamb. He is Player A. But the other is Khris Davis, which is why we were calling to free him over the final week of the season. The idea was that if he could get in a groove then he could make a serious impact in the playoffs. After all, if everyone was excited about Lamb bouncing back after three awful and injured seasons, then why not Davis after only two poor years? The only difference is that we didn’t watch Lamb’s struggles first-hand like we did with Davis.

And indeed, that October breakout is exactly what has happened. In the Wild Card Series against the Chicago White Sox, Davis drew the start in Game 2 against lefty Dallas Keuchel. He responded with a homer in his second at-bat, providing the A’s a helpful insurance run.

Oakland won that series and moved on to the ALDS against the Houston Astros, and Davis took it up another notch. In Game 1 he opened the scoring with a two-run blast in the 2nd inning off Lance McCullers. The A’s ended up blowing their lead and losing, but if they hadn’t then this would have been a big part of a victory.

Davis repeated his feat in Game 2. In the 2nd inning against Framber Valdez, he got a hold of a hanging curve and skied it over the wall for the first run of the game. Once again Oakland let the lead slip away in an eventual loss, but Davis is certainly doing his part.

All three dingers came against excellent starting pitchers, and the one off Valdez was notable for being only the second homer all year off his curveball. The stats for each one, in terms of exit velocity and distance:

  • WCS G2: 100.0 mph, 399 feet
  • ALDS G1: 103.8 mph, 418 feet
  • ALDS G2: 99.7 mph, 394 feet

Davis’ three homers tie him for the most of any hitter in the postseason so far, along with Carlos Correa of the Astros and Giancarlo Stanton of the Yankees. They’re also more than he hit in the entire regular season in 30 games.

  • Davis, season (99 PAs): .200/.303/.329, 2 HR, 10.1% BB, 26.3% Ks
  • Davis, playoffs (15 PAs): .400/.400/1.000, 3 HR, 0.0% BB, 26.7% Ks

His average exit velocity so far in the postseason is 99 mph. Still wondering how a resurgent Davis might affect a playoff series? It hasn’t yet been enough for the A’s to beat the Astros, but the ALDS isn’t over yet even down 0-2. If Davis keeps destroying the ball, then that’s one more step toward a comeback.

He’s not Khrush anymore, by his own request. But he’s khrushing the ball once again, just like he used to.