Chicago Cubs relievers Wade Davis and Carl Edwards Jr. have combined to give up no earned runs this year.
It is May 4.
Davis (12.1 innings, 13 appearances) and Edwards (12.0 innings, 12 appearances) not only feature pristine 0.00 ERAs so far, they also are sporting 34.1% and 36.6% K rates, respectively, and 6.8 and 9.8% BB rates. Their combined WHIP – like, if you added their 0.57 and 0.50 WHIPs together for some reason – is lower than any other pitcher on the team except for Hector Rondon.
To say they have been ridiculous, as the title suggests, almost feels like an understatement.
Davis, whom the Cubs acquired for Jorge Soler in the offseason (Soler has yet to play for the Royals due to a spring oblique injury), has been every bit the shutdown closer the Cubs hoped they were getting.
Did you see the cutter Davis was throwing last night in finishing off the Phillies? It’s just silly how he was spotting it perfectly, getting so much movement, AND throwing the dang thing at 92mph. His outing last night was one of those instances where relying on swings and misses as an indicator of stuff can be a little deceiving: Davis’s stuff was so good that Phillies batters kept staring at close strikes because there was nothing they were going to do with the pitch anyway. And the one whiff he got? It was a *perfectly* located 0-2 96mph fastball at the top outside corner of the strike zone. You could not walk the ball there and spot it any better.
For his part, Edwards did not pitch last night, but that’s because he’d thrown two expedient, perfect innings the night before to bridge the game from Jon Lester’s five-inning outing to the latter part of the bullpen. Right now, that’s Edwards’ role in this bullpen: things are shaking out for him to be used all over, from a multi-inning type to a late-inning type, to a get-out-of-a-jam type, and more. With so many excellent setup arms in the bullpen, the Cubs don’t need to put Edwards, 25, into a particular box.
Long-term, though, Joe Maddon sees very bright things for Edwards.
“He’ll be a closer someday, there’s no doubt,” Maddon told CSN. “The biggest thing with him is to not abuse him as he’s getting bigger and stronger. His stuff plays against righties and lefties and he knows how to pitch. Having been a starter a little bit (in the minors), it’s not unlike Wade [Davis].”
Davis came into his own as a reliever only after struggling as a starter in the big leagues, but Edwards has similarly seen his performance improve – particularly his command – after becoming a reliever full-time, a conversion the Cubs started in the upper minors.
With Davis a free agent after this season, and Hector Rondon under team control only one more year after this one (and perhaps settling back into a setup role in any case), it’s not inconceivable that Edwards could emerge as a closer for the Cubs as soon as next year. Perhaps, in the interim, he can learn a thing or two from Davis.
The duo will eventually give up a run, but right now, it’s a treat to watch them dominate with huge fastballs, good cutting movement, and sharp swing-and-miss curveballs.
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