10 years later, Bob Brenly still bitter about Ben Davis’ bunt

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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.

Marcus Stroman dealing with blister again

Marcus Stroman
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Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman might be headed to the disabled list soon, manager John Gibbons told reporters following Friday’s rain-shortened loss to the Yankees. The righty lasted just four innings on the mound before calling it a night, and gave up five runs, six hits and two walks in a performance that Gibbons claimed was at least partially affected by recurring blister issues on his right middle finger. Now, it looks like he might be removed from the rotation for some much-needed rest and rehabilitation; if so, it’ll be his second such stint this year.

Stroman, 27, has struggled to return the kind of winning record and sub-4.00 ERA that characterized his previous seasons with the club, mostly due to the combined seven weeks he missed with blisters on his throwing hand and chronic fatigue in his right shoulder. In a recent start against the Rays, things got even more gruesome when his blister appeared to start bleeding in the middle of his outing and MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm notes that the wound has constantly interfered with the right-hander’s pitch selection and delivery. When healthy, Stroman has managed a 4-8 record through 18 starts in 2018 with a career-worst 5.27 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 6.8 SO/9 in 100 2/3 innings. This will be the first year since 2015 in which he has not logged at least 200 innings in a single season.

While Stroman may not need an extended stay on the DL before he returns to the mound, it’s not clear what kind of timetable the Blue Jays expect for his recovery. He’s been the second-most valuable starter (behind the now-traded J.A. Happ) in a rotation that currently ranks 17th in the majors with a combined 4.90 ERA and 6.8 fWAR.