CHICAGO -- Wade Davis was more concerned about his fantasy football team after he picked up his 31st save on Sunday. That pretty much sums up the Cubs closer, who would prefer to count his saves once the season is over, which he's hoping won't be until sometime in November.Davis
CHICAGO -- Wade Davis was more concerned about his fantasy football team after he picked up his 31st save on Sunday. That pretty much sums up the Cubs closer, who would prefer to count his saves once the season is over, which he's hoping won't be until sometime in November.
Davis is a perfect 31-for-31 in save situations, and keeps extending the Cubs' franchise record with every successful outing. He pitched all three games against the Cardinals, which the Cubs swept at Wrigley Field to maintain a four-game lead over the Brewers in the National League Central Division. Davis needed the work. He had last pitched on Sept. 10.
Davis, in his first season with the Cubs, has not blown a save since Sept. 2, 2016, when he did so against the Tigers.
"There's so many games left in the season," Davis said, downplaying what he's accomplished so far. "After the season, you can look back. Now, you have to worry about the Rays. Maybe after the season, it's something I'll look back at."
The Cubs open a two-game Interleague series against the Rays on Tuesday, sending versatile Mike Montgomery against Chris Archer in the opener. Montgomery had been substitute starting for Jacob Arrieta but was moved back into the bullpen against the Cardinals. The lefty wasn't needed against the Redbirds.
Sorting out the bullpen for potential postseason play is one of the Cubs' top priorities in the remaining 13 regular-season games. Hector Rondon (right elbow) and Koji Uehara (back) have been battling injuries. Lefty Justin Wilson has been inconsistent, although he did deliver a big strikeout when needed on Friday after John Lackey was ejected for arguing with an umpire.
What was encouraging was that the Cubs' relievers combined for nine shutout innings in the three-game series against the Cardinals. That's something to build on, especially the performances of C.J. Edwards, Pedro Strop and Brian Duensing on Sunday.
"We all either came into some trouble or created our own trouble and got out of it," Davis said of Sunday's outings. "[Getting out of trouble] was definitely something we want to be able to do. If we can keep that going, we'll be all right."
"In the postseason, there will be bigger moments than that," Edwards said. "It could be bases loaded with one out, and you could be lucky to get that ground-ball double play. I feel this game [Sunday] really helped the bullpen out. In the postseason, we're going to see that, and it's good we're seeing it in the regular season. It won't be a shock for us."
The addition of Davis has certainly provided an anchor.
"We don't take it for granted," Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward said of Davis' efforts. "We know how much that means for our ballclub. We're happy to have a guy like that go out there every day and be consistent in his approach. Regardless of the result, he's consistent in his approach. He's trying to get it done the best way he can."
"He doesn't give in," Edwards said of Davis. "He's the same guy every day. He goes out there and does what he has to do. He's a really big part of this team, and the bullpen especially. He comes in, and there's no second thoughts, just go right after guys."
Asked if the three-game series against the Cardinals felt like October baseball, Davis shrugged.
"I felt like the whole year has felt like that here [at Wrigley Field]," he said.
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.