Now that I've titled this post with a double entendre (hee hee, haw haw), can we get down to business? Get your mind out of the gutter and onto the basepath please!
When Chris "Crush" Davis exploded onto the Rangers scene in the middle of '08, hitting homeruns and playing inspiring defense, we all looked at each other and said "Texieria who?" Going into the '09 Spring Training, we had a lot of questions. We were wondering how the highly controversial move of Michael Young and the promotion of Elvis Andrus was going to effect the team. We were wondering if Kinsler's hands were going to get any softer. We were trying to decide between Salty and Teagarden. But we we were not worried about 1B. We had a sure thing over there.
Now that we've discovered that Young fits nicely at 3rd, Andrus' promotion was well deserved and Kinsler can have some soft hands, we're pereplexed about Chris Davis' bat. And the horrific number of times it seems to miss hitting the ball. There's probably nobody who is wondering what happened more than the former star of the Longview H.S. (TX) Lobos.
With Davis on his way to shattering (no pun intended) the season strikeout record, everyone wants to know one thing: What happened? And everyone wants to know: When's the Rangers braintrust gonna send Crush to OKC to figure it out?
One quick observation: Would we be as worried if the .200 BA was coming with less strikeouts? If Chris was putting more balls in play, walking more and flying out to CF, would there be as much of a hullabaloo about sending Davis to the Redhawks? When David Murphy started the season going 0-for-everything, he was doing so with fly balls and ground outs. No one was clamoring for his demotion.
With seemingly everyone packing Davis' bags for him, here are my two reasons why he shouldn't get the luggage out right away.
Reason #1 - He's just one slumper in a team full of slumpers. As mentioned in other prolific articles, the Rangers have been playing some quality teams with quality pitchers. Davis started the season crummy and then tried to get better on a steady diet of very good pitching. In the series again the Giants and now against the DBacks, he's showing better plate discipline and catching up to fastballs again. He could be coming out of right now. Meanwhile, there have been other guys on this team that have been struggling as well and Davis could get better when the rest of the team heals.
Reason #2 - Who else you gonna put there? Most pundits are saying that uber-prospect Smoak isn't ready yet. Max Ramirez, another prospect, is trying to learn the craft of catching, rather than the ubiquitous C/1B role (and "DH" prospect). Hank Blalock, and his missing rib bone, probably isn't healthy enough (or durable enough) to play that spot everyday. And the experiment of Andruw Jones at 1B is intriguing, but not an everyday solution.
A month ago, before the June gauntlet began, Rob and I were driving home after a great day of watching the Rangers win a doubleheader against the A's. We were listening to two post-game shows on the radio. On one station, the two guys were talking about how it was time for Davis to go to the Sooner state and figure out what's wrong with his hitting. On the other station, the two guys were talking about how his defense is really good (and it is!) and we could put up with crummy hitting for now.
I don't think that anyone but the Rangers braintrust know exactly what to do. But I do think that we gotta give him more time. Because he may just need a little more time to figure it out and I don't think we have any immediate, viable everyday options.