No, Wade Davis does not play around. This could be why, as the Cubs play in-and-out baseball in the wake of their extraordinary World Series run, Davis is the one at the 88th All-Star Game presented by Mastercard (tonight, 6:30 CT on FOX). Chicago manager Joe Maddon calls Davis his anchor, the team's most consistent force in the first half. Davis is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA, he is striking out 13 batters per nine innings, and he is 16-for-16 in save opportunities. It is his third straight All-Star appearance.
The first two, though, were with the Royals, where he teamed up with Greg Holland (now a Rockies All-Star) and Kelvin Herrera to make up one of the most dominant bullpens in baseball history.
"We had a swagger," Davis said.
"Oh, it doesn't matter what uniform he wears," Holland said. "Wade is dominant."
But this year's All-Star theme for Davis is different because he is here alone (the Cubs' entire infield started last year's game), and that reflects Chicago's surprisingly lackluster first half. Again and again, Davis was asked questions about that and about his own surprise at the Cubs' losing record.
And again, Wade Davis didn't play around.
He absolutely doesn't expect the losing record to last.
"I can't really speak to what it has been like for the guys, because I wasn't here last year," Davis said. "All I can do is tell you what it was like for me last year [after the Royals had won the 2015 World Series]. I had some fatigue, and I went on the DL. But you work through it.
"I think you're going to see a lot of guys have All-Star second halves. These guys are way too good. I've watched the way they take batting practice. I've watched the way they take infield. I've seen how they carry themselves. They'll be fine. They'll be twice as good in the second half. That's how baseball is. It will even out."
As for Davis, he is a free agent at the end of the season. That's another thing he said he does not spend a lot of time worrying about. And unlike others who say those sorts of things, you can believe him. In Kansas City, he was often called a Cyborg for the seemingly emotionless way he went about his business of getting hitters out. Maddon has said that his favorite story about his closer was the time Davis went hunting in Canada and came across a black bear. He did not flinch and he did not back down.
Still, Davis said he actually expects to be a little nervous should he come in to pitch during tonight's All-Star Game -- he says that pitching in the 2015 Midsummer Classic was the most nervous he had ever been on the mound.
"It's strange," Davis said. "You're trying to win, but you know it's something more. You're not on your own team, but you're facing the greatest players in the world, some who will be in the Hall of Fame. Yeah, I was really nervous for that. I'm sure I'll be nervous again if I pitch."
Tonight at 6:30 CT, 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.