BALTIMORE — Chris Davis has tied the major league record for the longest hitless streak by a position player, going 0 for 46 during an unproductive run that began last year.
Baltimore’s highly paid first baseman was retired in his first two trips to the plate Monday night against Oakland, leaving him hitless in 25 at-bats this season. Combined with his 0-for-21 finish in 2018, Davis is tied with Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Eugenio Velez for the lengthiest run of futility by a non-pitcher, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Velez went hitless in his final nine at-bats of the 2010 season before going 0 for 37 in 2011 and eclipsed the previous longest hitless streak, shared by Pittsburgh’s Bill Bergen (1909), Dave Campbell of San Diego and St. Louis (1973) and Milwaukee’s Craig Counsell (earlier in 2011).
This isn’t the first dubious record owned by Davis. He batted .168 last year, the worst batting average in major league history for a qualified player.
Davis is in the fourth season of a $161 million, seven-year contract.
The 33-year-old has two RBIs this season ‚Äî on a bases-loaded walk and a forceout. He’s struck out 13 times.
On Monday, he lined out to right field in the second inning against Marco Estrada and matched the record hitless streak in the third with an opposite-field fly to left. Before the record-tying out, Davis got a second chance when second baseman Jurickson Profar dropped his foul pop to right.
Manager Brandon Hyde was asked before Monday’s game whether he considered resting Davis rather than insert him in the lineup against Estrada.
“He really wanted to play today,” Hyde said.
Davis entered hitting .167 (6 for 36) with three homers against Estrada.
Hyde has done his best to be patient with Davis.
“I was hoping he’d get off to a good start and he would play well early and hit,” Hyde said. “I’m pulling for him. I’m trying to put him in position for success and I talk to him a lot. He’s up front with it.”
Davis has been getting booed by the home fans after his strikeouts.
“Fans are welcome to handle situations the way they want to,” Hyde said. “Unfortunately, it’s hard to listen to for me.”