Maddon impressed with Davis' demeanor

Veteran closer serving as mentor to Cubs' young pitchers

Maddon impressed with Davis' demeanor

CHICAGO -- Wade Davis is 10-for-10 in save opportunities this season, but on Wedensday night, he served up a two-run homer to snap a stretch of 64 1/3 homerless innings. It also was his first game in a week. Does Cubs manager Joe Maddon need to get his closer more work?

"He'll tell me," Maddon said Thursday about Davis. "If he needs to be out there, he'll let me know."

Maddon knows Davis well from their days together in Tampa Bay, but what's been enjoyable to the manager is seeing the right-hander mentor the Cubs' young pitchers.

"Often, I'll walk through the video room, and he'll be sitting there with a young relief pitcher or a catcher," Maddon said. "There's a lot of respect. A lot of guys come to me and say, 'Listen, Wade is really great to be around,' 'Wade is this,' 'Wade is that.' He's grown into this."

Maddon said Davis was "raised properly" by the Rays coaches and players.

"He's passing it along," Maddon said. "He goes out there and has a great cutter, slider, fastball, curve, but he's very good with everyone around him."

Jon Lester's complete game on Tuesday and Kyle Hendricks' seven-inning outing on Wednesday marked the first time this season Cubs starters have gone at least seven frames in back-to-back games. Prior to that, Chicago starters had gone at least seven innings four times in 43 games.

Lester's dazzling complete game

"We're still kind of heating up," Jake Arrieta said. "June, July, August, we'd love to see a bunch of seven, eight-inning outings. There's a lot of things that go into that. The feel and crispness of our offspeed pitches -- it takes a while for all of that to come around, and not that we can't pitch well and have success early in the season, but to force early contact and throw quality breaking balls and get early outs.

"There's also a lot of luck -- well, not luck, but you have to have good fortune," Arrieta said. "You have to have cooperation from the other side, you have to be on top of your game, defense has to be playing pretty crisp behind you. That's the goal -- we all want to finish the seventh and be in the eighth with the ball in our hands."

Plus, none of the starters want to be the weak link.

"There's that competitiveness within the starting group to do what the guy did before or out-pitch him, and not for selfish reasons but to help the team," Arrieta said. "Kyle goes seven, I go eight, Jon goes nine, [John] Lackey goes nine -- that's great for us. It means we're doing a lot of things really well."

• Maddon said if players are being mentioned in trade rumors, it's usually because they're struggling or the team has a lot of depth at that position. Infielder Javier Baez seems to be popular in recent trade buzz.

Baez's two-run homer

"I think the nature of our team with young guys, you'll hear that," Maddon said. "If you're going to attempt to get pitching, you'll hear the typical names mentioned. From our players' perspective, I hope they don't take [the rumors] to heart too often. ... None of these guys are nearly as good as they'll be in a couple years, so be patient."

• The Cubs have had to endure a lot of rain during their homestand.

Schwarber's towering solo homer

"This weather's been a little unpredictable lately," Kyle Schwarber said. "We think someone is just hitting a sprinkler button every time we run out on the field. But we're ready to get out there [to California], have some nice weather, but we're going to focus on today, worry about today and worry about the '70s later."

The Cubs head to the West Coast after Thursday's game for a six-game road trip to Los Angeles and San Diego. The '70s reference is because this is a themed road trip, with players asked to dress like the "Anchorman" movie.

• On Thursday, the Reds claimed right-handed pitcher Jake Buchanan off waivers from the Cubs. Buchanan, who was starting at Triple-A Iowa, was designated for assignment on Monday to open a spot on the 40-man roster for reliever Zac Rosscup.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.