An odd evening for Cubs’ pitching produced bad, good, then interesting


Chicago Cubs pitcher Jon Lester works against the Oakland Athletics in the second inning at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019. The A’s won, 11-4. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)

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CHICAGO – Their good fortune at home has been one of the most positive storylines of the 2019 season, but that still means there can be off nights.

One of those was Tuesday, when the Cubs were soundly defeated by the Athletics 11-4 in a game that was decided quite early. Yet within a blowout came quite an interesting day for Cubs pitching, one in which there was some infamy, history, and maybe a little hilarity.

The first, and unfortunately worst part for the Cubs, came from Lester, who endured one of the worst starts of his MLB career. That’s not hyperbole either, because in four innings he allowed 11 runs, nine of which were earned, which was the second-most in his career.

Lester gave up ten hits and a pair of homers along with three walks compared to six strikeouts. His ERA jumped from 3.86 to 4.69 in just four innings of work as he fell to 9-8 on the season.

“What happened is I gave up 11 runs, so it doesn’t matter how I feel, doesn’t matter about a game plan, doesn’t matter about executing pitches, doesn’t matter about anything, I gave up 11 runs, so it really doesn’t matter,” said Lester of the performance. “Injuries are injuries, but I’m pretty much the weakest link in the rotation right now and got to figure out a way to right that ship.”

Yet right after him came a performance on the mound that made some Cubs’ history.

Duane Underwood Jr, who was called back up to the Cubs in place of the injured Brandon Kintzler, came in the fifth and struck out six-consecutive batters. That performance tied the franchise record for consecutive “K’s” by a relief pitcher.

Then in the ninth came a little fun as a position player took the mound to finish off a long night. That was catcher Taylor Davis, who got to throw the ninth inning to Kyle Schwarber, who was catching for the first time since 2017.

He endured a very up-and-down inning, allowing the first three runners to reach on hits before retiring three-in-a-row to register a scoreless frame.

It ended an unsuccessful night for the Cubs who had the bad, the good, and the interesting on the mound on Tuesday.


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