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Davis taking teammates' admiration to Miami

MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

CHICAGO -- Brian Duensing credits Wade Davis with helping him turn his career around. John Lackey says Davis is unflappable. Carl Edwards Jr. wants to be just like him.

There's a reason Davis is going to the All-Star Game presented by Mastercard. The right-hander will be the Cubs' lone representative on Tuesday, a salute to his perfect 16-for-16 record in save opportunities and 1.80 ERA. It may seem odd that the defending World Series champions' only rep will be a player who wasn't on the team in 2016, but maybe it's a sign that it's time to turn the page.

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CHICAGO -- Brian Duensing credits Wade Davis with helping him turn his career around. John Lackey says Davis is unflappable. Carl Edwards Jr. wants to be just like him.

There's a reason Davis is going to the All-Star Game presented by Mastercard. The right-hander will be the Cubs' lone representative on Tuesday, a salute to his perfect 16-for-16 record in save opportunities and 1.80 ERA. It may seem odd that the defending World Series champions' only rep will be a player who wasn't on the team in 2016, but maybe it's a sign that it's time to turn the page.

View Full Game Coverage

Talk to Davis, and you'd never know he's being honored. That's part of what makes him special.

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"Lackey made a great comment," Edwards said. "He said, 'You don't know if Wade just gave up 75 runs or if he hasn't given up a run all year.' He's the same guy every day. That's what I'm trying to be like."

This will be Davis' third All-Star trip after he made the American League team in 2015 and '16 with the Royals. He's the first Cubs reliever to go to the event since Carlos Marmol and Kerry Wood did so in 2008.

Manager Joe Maddon, who also will be in Miami to manage the NL team, calls Davis the "anchor." Duensing is even more complimentary.

"He's very knowledgeable when it comes to mechanics or maybe breaking down a hitter," Duensing said. "He's obviously been around for a while and seen a lot of guys. When he was at Kansas City last year, I learned a lot from him in spring -- our lockers were next to each other. I think that, personally, he helped me turn a corner.

"I was struggling with some of my pitches, and I was talking to him about mechanics, and he ended up talking about some things he's learned from other guys. A couple things clicked, and the next thing you know, I felt more comfortable on the mound. I think I owe a lot of that success or whatever it may be from Wade, just talking to him."

When the Cubs' relievers are in the bullpen and watching a game unfold on the television, Davis will point out something about a hitter that he might have noticed studying video.

"He's very knowledgeable with the way hitters go about the game, and he's very knowledgeable about who he is as a pitcher," Duensing said. "He doesn't try to overdo things. We have conversations all the time about how ridiculous it is as pitchers and how our egos will get in the way. If we don't have our best stuff that day, we still try to use stuff we don't have.

"If you have 91 [mph] that day, pitch at 91 instead of trying to throw 93," Duensing said. "He's a good sounding board to talk to, and he's got some good insight into the game."

Edwards is always eager to talk pitching with Davis.

"If he's faced [a batter], he has something on them," Edwards said. "Usually, we're talking about strategy. I'll throw out, 'Hey, I might try to go up and in on him,' and we throw out scenarios to see which one sounds best. We go out and try to execute what we talk about."

Part of Davis' knowledge comes from his prior career as a starter.

"You have guys like [Aroldis Chapman] who can be 97 to 101 [mph] and throw it, 'Here it is,'" Duensing said. "Wade's 94, 95, 96 [mph] but he also has a cutter, a little bit of a curveball, a sinker. He knows how to use it and pitch with it. It gives him a lot more weapons."

On Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. ET, tune in to the 2017 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2017 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote. The 88th All-Star Game, in Miami, will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Chicago Cubs, Wade Davis