Brewers 1B/OF Eric Thames homered in his fifth consecutive game in Monday’s series opener against the Cubs. It came on a 3-2 breaking ball thrown by starter John Lackey leading off the top of the third inning at Wrigley Field. Thus continues the odyssey of Thames, who went from major league washout to a feared slugger in Korea and carried that power back with him for a second stint in the majors.
Lackey and Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio are suspicious. Though neither came right out and said it after Monday’s game, both hinted that something might be up with Thames.
In his post-game press conference, Lackey said (via the Chicago Tribune) that Thames’ home run was “kinda one of those things that makes you scratch your head.” Lackey seemingly very intentionally winked at the reporter who asked him the question.
Bosio appeared on the Mully and Hanley show and was asked about Starling Marte‘s recent suspension after testing positive for Nandrolone. Chris Cwik of Yahoo Sports provides the transcript:
Well, the bottom line is [Thames] has hit the ball and we gotta figure out a way to get around [it]. All that other stuff, I’ll let other people worry about. But he’s doing stuff that I haven’t seen done for a long time.
You start thinking about Ken Griffey Jr., Manny Ramirez when he went to the Dodgers, Barry Bonds … You’re talking about some of the greatest players to ever play this game. So, yeah, it’s probably a ‘head-scratcher’ because nobody knows who this guy is. And when he was here before, his body has changed. But, like I said, I’ll leave that to everyone else and we’re just gonna try to worry about how to pitch him better and get him out.
For what it’s worth, Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that Thames was given a drug test immediately after Monday’s game against the Cubs.
Entering Thursdays’ game against the Cardinals, Thames is hitting .408/.500/.959 with seven home runs and 12 RBI. And, for now, his 8-8 Brewers are neck-and-neck with the 8-7 defending world champion Cubs.