LOS ANGELES – A number of television and phone cameras caught the sight of a pitcher in a dream world.
Major league debuts will do that do a player, and that was the case for Duane Underwood Jr. on Monday.
He was in the original Theo Epstein draft in 2012, taken in the second round of Alan C. Pope High School in Marietta, Georgia. He would spend the next six years in the minors improving his craft, finally making his way up to Triple-A in 2018.
Monday was his day to finally get into the Cubs’ rotation as he filled the gap left by Tyler Chatwood’s leave after the birth of a child. That’s why he was seen hanging out around the stands and the field at Dodgers Stadium before the game.
It wasn’t perfect when the crowd and the home team arrived for the start time at Chavez Ravine, but he did enough in four innings to keep the Cubs in the game. But the team’s bats fell silent and weren’t able to back it up, as he took the loss in his debut in a 2-1 loss to Los Angeles on Monday night.
Underwood went four innings and had 77 pitches, allowing his only run in the second inning on a homer to Enrique Hernandez. He finished with three strikeouts and three walks before being replaced by four bullpen pitchers the rest of the way.
Chris Taylor’s homer off Justin Wilson in the eighth would turn out to be the winning run as the Cubs got on the board in the ninth inning on a sacrifice fly by Javier Baez. With a runner on first, however, Kyle Schwarber had an unfortunate bounce off the bat on a pitch from Kenley Jansen, which dribbled right in front of the plate which led to an easy out to end the game.
It brought the end of a dream night for Underwood – a pitcher who had to wait over a half-decade to make his major league debut. A few more hits, and the dream would have been a little more like he would have envisioned.