Chris Davis: Feast or Famine

On pace to be baseball's all-time Mr. Whiff-or-Wallop
On pace to be baseball's all-time Mr. Whiff-or-Wallop

Now playing first base for your Texas Rangers ... Ryan Howard.

Okay, would you settle for Rob Deer?

Chris Davis continued his amazingly dichotomous season last night with two home runs and, you guessed it, two more strikeouts.

Dr. Jeykll: Davis leads the Rangers with 12 homers.

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Mr. Hyde: Davis leads the planet with 68 strikeouts.

But ain't this grand? More than a quarter into the Rangers' season and the biggest concern is a 23-year-old first baseman on pace for 42 homers.

The Rangers, who survived a two-hour, 24-minute rain delay and the Yankees last night, can do something tonight they haven't done in 10 years. Not since 1999 have the Rangers gone into a series leading the AL West and won the series. After 10 failures, tonight they can take two of three from the Yankees by having $400,000-a-year Derek Holland out-pitch $16 million-a-year A.J. Burnett.

A couple more dingers from Davis wouldn't hurt either. But about those strikeouts ... 

Davis entered last night's game in a 1-of-29 slump. But after striking out in his first at-bat, he went yard twice - his first homers since May 14 and the first multi-homer game of his career. 

With 12 in 45 games, he's on pace for 42 homers. But with the 68 Ks, he's also on pace to shatter baseball's all-time record.

In 1986 Milwaukee's Deer was fourth in homers (33) and second in strikeouts (179) and Howard has struck out 199 times the last two seasons with homer totals of 47 and 48. But no American League hitter has ever fanned 200 times in a season - Oakland's Jack Cust set the record last season with 197. The Rangers' record of 185 was set by Pete Incaviglia in '86.

Davis' pace: An astonishing 243.

Though there's a troubling twinge of Dave Hostetler in Davis' Yin-Yang hit or miss, this isn't the time to turn up the volume on those Justin Smoak murmurs. Holland may get battered around the park tonight on ESPN2. Elvis Andrus will likely have a multi-error game or three.

Davis, from Longview, is one of the nicest, hippest cats to come through Arlington in a long time. If he's the Rangers' biggest problem, this could indeed be a magical season.


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