Something unexpected, yet fun, happened during the eighth inning of yesterday’s 12-4 shellacking of the Chicago Cubs in Miller Park: David Ross got to pitch.
After Cubs starter Travis Wood gave up six runs on six hits, the bullpen fared no better again a newly charged Milwaukee Brewers offense that had been inept as best this season prior to the arrival of new manager Craig Counsell. When a score like this occurs so early in the game, it gives not only perspective but also the chance for a manager to try a few things he wouldn’t ordinarily do with a game on the line.
Cubs skipper Joe Maddon pulled first baseman Anthony Rizzo and replaced him with outfielder Chris Coghlan because you never know when a backup first baseman could come in handy. He also inserted Welington Castillo to give him few innings as there aren’t exactly enough games to go around for all three catchers on the roster to get reps every single week. The unexpected then occurred though when Castillo was put in at catcher: starting catcher David Ross took the mound.
Ross, 38, pitched his first inning in the Majors last night mostly because the Cubs relief staff was so atrocious, manager Joe Maddon had no need to further see them get trounced. Madden asked if he wanted to pitch, to which Ross replied, “Why not?” To the surprise of not only the fans in attendance but also both ball clubs, he tossed quite well. He threw all fastballs and nothing harder than 75 mph, but that was all he needed. He took down all three batters that he faced in the eighth and even got a souvenir baseball for his efforts.
Ross is close to the end of his career and has never played anywhere but catcher and DH before yesterday. His efforts didn’t contribute to a Cubs win but like all ball players should, he was just out there having fun. It’s just a game after all.