No manager "likes" to have a reliever go hit, but sometimes it's an inevitable part of a game. You just can't avoid it.
Having come in out of the bullpen in the eighth inning of the Cubs' 3-2 win over the Dodgers in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series presented by Camping World, Cubs reliever Wade Davis' spot in the batting order came up. Acting manager Dave Martinez (who took over after Joe Maddon's ejection in the top half) elected to let Davis swing away instead of bunt -- possibly due to Davis' dislike of bunting.
Said Maddon after the game when asked about his non-bunt:
"He doesn't like to, and I knew that. I'm upstairs in the TV room, whatever, in the video room, and I said after the first pitch, 'I bet you Wade told Davey he doesn't like to bunt.' It's simple."
Since this was just Davis' second at-bat since 2013, with the most recent coming in Game 4 of the 2015 World Series (as a member of the Royals), he needed some assistance. He had to borrow a teammate's bat ... in this case, Kris Bryant's. Really:
Clearly, the odds would seem to be working against Davis as a hitter ... so naturally, then, he had a pretty epic nine-pitch at-bat against Tony Cingrani in which he managed to hit five foul balls:
Mapped out, it was quite a battle.
Great 9 pitch AB by Davis... pic.twitter.com/DhIjyYJdFr- Daren Willman (@darenw) October 19, 2017
Davis ended up taking a called third strike, but his impressive performance earned a standing ovation from the hometown fans.
Also worthy of a standing ovation was Davis' pitching on the night: He gutted his way through the game's final two frames, throwing 48 pitches and helping the Cubs push this series to at least one more night after coaxing Cody Bellinger into a game-ending double play:
Speaking with MLB.com's Carrie Muskat after the game, Davis went into more detail about his situation. He apparently did away with his own bats:
"I did," Davis said. "I sent them home, though. I definitely didn't think I'd be hitting. I thought K.B. had some type of love in those bats."
Bunting wasn't really part of his game plan:
"We were discussing maybe possibly bunting. [Jon] Jay just got hit in the elbow, so I'm definitely not going to try to bunt a ball. I wasn't going to try to put my chin out there and get hit on the wrist. I was seeing him good. But I don't think I was ever going to straighten one out."
Despite a lengthy battle, Davis admitted he grew tired as the at-bat kept going:
"I gave up after a little bit. He was bringing it pretty good. I haven't seen a baseball in a while coming in like that."
Speaking of: Tune in to Game 5 of the NLCS presented by Camping World on Thursday, 8 p.m. ET on TBS.