Chicago Cubs: New record underscores dependable Wade Davis

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 23: Wade Davis
CHICAGO, IL - JULY 23: Wade Davis /

Wade Davis set a new franchise record Tuesday night, as he converted his 27th consecutive save in the Chicago Cubs win Tuesday night.

Wade Davis joined the Chicago Cubs record books Tuesday when he converted his 27th consecutive save, passing Ryan Dempster who set the mark of 26 during the 2005-06 campaign.

Davis currently holds the longest current ML streak of 33 straight saves dating back to last season with the Royals.

When you think of baseball’s top closers, Boston‘s Craig Kimbrel, the Dodgers‘ Kenley Jansen, or even fellow NL Central All-Star Corey Knebel of the Brewers might come to mind.

What Wade Davis has done, or rather maintain, even better than those three and everyone else is perfection in saves.

Not flashy, just good

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Obviously, the save stat alone may not be the best measure of success, and I’m not suggesting Davis is better than the top closers based on the statistical element alone.

In fact, as of this writing, he ranks 46th among qualified relievers in terms of WAR according to FanGraphs (0.9).

Carl Edwards Jr. has the best K/9 among Cubs relievers, and nearly top 10 in baseball (12.99), just edging Davis (11.43).

Brian Duensing has a better a better BB/9 (2.22) and Davis is actually walking batters at a higher clip than he ever has (4.73), which even includes his days as a starter.

He actually has walked as many batters in 45 2/3 innings as Clayton Kershaw has in 140 1/3 IP!

Yet, Davis has brought the type of consistency Theo Epstein bargained for when he acquired the 31-year-old relatively on the cheap for Jorge Soler, who has dealt with injuries and spent most of the season in the minors.

Even though Davis might not statistically boost the best numbers, even for him, a look beyond that goes to show just how important he has been to the Chicago Cubs this season.

Thriving with pressure

Among what constitutes high leverage situations according to FanGraphs, Davis has thrown 19 1/3 innings, the most among his low-to-high index.

In that category, he has faced more batters, (68) and has hitters hitting just .035 off him. Only two hits, three runs off him in that spot.

In low-leverage situations, batters hit .267 off Davis, as he’s allowed four ER and 16 hits while walking seven.

When there’s no one on base, (24 2/3 IP), hitters are .204 off Davis and it’s even lower, (.125) when runners are in scoring position (11 1/3).

Finding consistency

For whatever reason, closers such as Davis seem to struggle with a sizable lead or non-save situation.

Whether that emboldens a theory that closers thrive with pressure, Davis has also infrequently been used at times in 2017.

In May he went at least five days in between appearances, and coincidental or not, allowed runs in the first games after those breaks against the Cardinals May 12 and Giants May 24.

There was the June 26 appearance against the Nationals when the Cubs nearly squandered a 5-run, 9th inning lead. He entered midway through that inning, allowing two ER before cementing the victory.

On the flip side, he’s gone a week in between appearances and pitched clean 1-2-3 innings as he did against the Orioles July 14.

For the month of April, Davis had a perfect 0.00 ERA. He didn’t allow his first run until May 12, and his first ER recorded off him came May 24.

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In the end, Wade Davis does his job as well as anyone when it comes to nailing the final out. Pretty good for a guy who publically admitted once he had no interest in anything other than starting.