NEW YORK — Cubs pitcher Scott Feldman admitted he “did not know what I was doing” when making a headfirst slide into third base during the fourth inning of Saturday’s 5-2 win over the Mets at Citi Field.
The 6-foot-7-inch, 230-pound pitcher lumbered from first to third on a single by Darwin Barney, looking like he was about to re-enact the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
The last time Feldman remembered making a headfirst slide was 10 or 11 years ago while playing at the College of San Mateo in California.
“I still have pretty good form though, right?” he said.
Feldman had one of those crazy days on Saturday, allowing one run on two hits over seven innings, giving the Cubs the lead with a two-run single and capping it off with the headfirst slide.
“Like a battleship,” Carlos Marmol said as he mimicked Feldman’s slide.
Manager Dale Sveum conceded he was “cringing” while watching the play develop, but not because of the slide.
“I was cringing like ‘Why are you going to third, you’re a starting pitcher and you’ve got a bad knee?’ ” Sveum said.
The Cubs have won three straight since losing eight of 10, and won their first series since sweeping a pair from the White Sox on May 29-30.
Feldman (6-5) came into the year with only 18 at-bats over eight seasons with the Rangers. But Sveum mentioned him as a possible pinch-hitter in the next few days, with the Cubs playing one position player short after the injury to David DeJesus.
“We have pitchers who can hit,” Sveum said. “It might be one of those things where you just stick with the pitcher for a while and see what happens that way. We have Travis Wood and Feldman, they all can swing that bat to where if you get in a bind late in a game, or even early in a game, you can use one of those guys and not spend a (position player).”
Feldman laughed at that idea, though his two-run single gave him eight RBIs, surpassing Wood for the major league lead among pitchers.
“I might be like fourth or fifth on the depth chart with that,” Feldman said. “Maybe a pinch-runner.”
In truth, Feldman enjoys hitting and likes the chance to hit in the National League.
“It makes it more fun,” he said. “It makes it like you’re a little kid again playing baseball, the real way you remember when you were a kid.”
With a 3.05 earned-run average, Feldman and Wood are the two most likely candidates for what’s likely to be one spot to represent the Cubs on the National League All-Star team. Feldman could be the Cubs’ 2013 version of Paul Maholm, a veteran starter signed at a modest salary and then flipped for a prospect. But he insists he wants to stay a Cub.
“That kind of stuff always happens this time of year with a number of players,” he said. “I’ve never really been in that position before, but I hope we can get hot and get back in this thing a little bit. Then it will be harder to trade away some of the guys. Either way I love it in Chicago. It’s an honor to put a Cubs uniform on.”