Whether our entry yesterday had anything to do with it or not, Cubs PBP man Len Kasper decided to bring up the Curt Schilling game with former Diamondbacks manager and current Cubs color guy Bob Brenly today on WGN.
And Brenly still isn’t happy about the play, saying that Davis did in fact break unwritten rules by bunting to ruin Schilling’s chance at a perfect game on May 26, 2001. Kasper pointed out that the bunt single brought the tying run to the plate, and Brenly didn’t much seem to care, saying it was never right to break up a no-hitter with a bunt.
In giving his reasons for being upset, Brenly repeatedly called Davis a backup catcher and said Davis had never bunted for a hit in his career. He said second baseman Jay Bell was playing extra deep at second base because Davis never bunted and that was why Davis was able to come up with a hit on what was a “terrible” bunt.
The data on whether Davis ever had a bunt hit previously isn’t available, but Brenly wasn’t being entirely fair. Davis was something of an established regular at that time. He went on to play in 138 games in 2001, hitting 11 homers and driving in 57 runs. The Padres actually had him batting fifth that day against the Diamondbacks. And while he certainly wasn’t an accomplished bunter, he did have three sacrifices in 2000.
Brenly also made the comment that his statements at the time slamming Davis may have been overly heated because the Schilling game was the first in a doubleheader and, as a result, he had to talk to the press immediately after the game and didn’t have time to cool down.
Of course, we do have some data there. The Diamondbacks played no doubleheader that day. It was a pretty typical Saturday night game — the third game in a four-game series. Arizona played just one doubleheader that year, that coming three months later.
Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.
While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.
When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.
Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.
More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.
Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)
It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.