OAKLAND — Last season, it took until April 15 for Oakland Athletics slugger Khris Davis to draw two walks. It took eight games for him to have five hits.
Davis ultimately finished the year with 42 home runs, representing one of few bright spots for the A’s in a 69-93 lost season.
“I don’t want to talk about last year. It’s over,” Davis snapped before repeating himself. “It’s over. I don’t want to talk about last year.”
Perhaps a strange outlook for a player to have on his breakout season, but if blocking out 2016 has been a part of his approach to the first week of this year, it seems to be working.
Through one four-game series, which the A’s capped with a 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels at the Coliseum on Thursday, Davis is 5-for-12 with a pair of walks — he had three bases on balls in the entire month of April 2016.
Against the Halos, he reached base safely in every game of the set in addition to launching a pair of homers on Opening Night.
In the series finale, Davis hit a sacrifice fly in the third — to give Oakland a 2-1 advantage — and led off the sixth with a double, which Trevor Plouffe later cashed in with a single.
“It’s not a shock after you’ve seen what [Davis] did last year,” manager Bob Melvin said about Davis’ opening games of 2017, unafraid to broach the subject of yesteryear. “… It’s great to see him get off to a good start, too, because there’s no telling what the numbers can look like at the end of the year with him.”
The other power hitter who emerged from last season, Ryon Healy, is also swinging a hot bat, helping the Athletics split their four-game series with a division rival. On Thursday, he hit a monsterous two-run shot in the third to cap Oakland’s four-run frame.
“He’s quite the force,” Melvin said. “From the moment he got here last year, he plays with an edge, very confident at the plate and has power to all fields.”
The 25-year-old Healy, who debuted as a third baseman last season, made his first start on the other side of the infield and showed solid adaptability, not allowing his offensive game to be affected by a change of scenery on defense.
But don’t expect him to take on the role of a talkative first baseman, a’la Brandon Moss.
“I’m a young guy still. So I like to stay to myself,” he explained. “If Mike Trout says hello to me, I nod my head and I say, ‘Hi, how are you, sir?’”
I’ll check back with Healy about that next year.