Opinion

Wade Davis sets new Royals team record for strikeouts by a reliever

Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Wade Davis (17) now holds another Royals record — most strikeouts in a season for a reliever.
Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Wade Davis (17) now holds another Royals record — most strikeouts in a season for a reliever. The Kansas City Star

The ritual has repeated itself on multiple occasions this season. Wade Davis will set some new record in a game. He will come into the clubhouse unaware of the milestone. A Royals official will inform him. A reporter will ask about the latest feat.

And Davis will say…

“Somebody told me about that today,” Davis said on Monday night. “I had no idea.”

The latest? Davis set a new franchise record for strikeouts in a season by a reliever. He has 104 on the season and counting. He snapped the record of 103 held by Jeff York since 1971, a number that was tied by closer Greg Holland last season.

You could argue Davis has been the best reliever in baseball this season. He leads all qualified relievers with a 0.90 ERA. He ranks seventh with 13.37 strikeouts per nine. He has given up four extra-base hits in 70 innings — and zero home runs.

Cincinnati closer Aroldis Chapman has been more dominant, perhaps, but has thrown 20 fewer innings. Yankees rookie Dellin Betances may be the only reliever with a more impressive resume. He has thrown 19 more innings than Davis while striking out out batters at a slightly higher clip (13.45) with fewer walks (2.43 per nine versus 2.96 per nine for Davis).

Still, Davis has been a godsend for the Royals. He allowed the club to cover the loss of Luke Hochevar. Together with Holland and Kelvin Herrera, he formed the backbone of this club’s daily strategy. Once Ned Yost picked up a lead in the seventh inning, he felt comfortable. He knew his trio could handle any situation.

“From the start of spring training, I wanted to be better than I’ve ever been, as far as attitude about everything and performing,” Davis said. “Whenever I found out about the situation I was going to be in, I just wanted to be able to take that role and embrace it. And really excel in it.

“I know how good a team can be when you have those roles locked down. You can win a lot of games like that.

“So I think I took that approach. ERA and all that stuff, it’s kind of, whatever. As long as I’m getting the job done that needs to be done, then it’s a good thing.”

FROM THE STAR

Danny Duffy came through for the Royals. They picked up a half-game on Detroit and maintained their lead over Seattle.

Vahe Gregorian wrote a column on how a potentially rough day became a good one for KC.

Dayton Moore wouldn’t discuss his potential interest in the Braves GM opening. David Glass said he would let him interview.

THE ROYALS’ PLAYOFF PERCENTAGE (ACCORDING TO BASEBALL PROSPECTUS)

87.6 percent.

THE STANDINGS IN THE AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL

KC trails Detroit by one game.

THE STANDINGS IN THE WILD CARD RACE

KC leads Seattle by two games.

HERE IS SOME ROCK MUSIC

“Lunar Phobia” by No Joy.

To reach Andy McCullough, call 816-234-4370 or send email to rmccullough@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @McCulloughStar.

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