The Cubs got blown out by the Brewers on Thursday afternoon, falling behind 9-0 after three innings. As a result, manager Joe Maddon had outfielder Jon Jay take the mound in the top of the ninth.
Jay had never pitched before as a professional baseball player and it showed. His first pitch to Stephen Vogt registered at 57 MPH. His next pitch was even slower, 55 MPH, but he got Vogt to fly out to right field. Jay peaked at 66 MPH but managed to get Jonathan Villar to pop out in foul territory, then worked around a Domingo Santana single by getting Yadiel Rivera to line out to left field to end the inning.
Jay threw 16 pitches in total, averaging 57.2 MPH. Only four of those pitches were measured in excess of 60 MPH.
After Thursday’s 11-2 loss, the defending champion Cubs fell to 4.5 games behind the first-place Brewers. There’s a sentence I knew, before the season, that I’d be writing.
The Nationals selected the contract of reliever George Kontos from the Atlantic League Long Island Ducks, per an official announcement on Saturday. The right-hander has been assigned to Triple-A Fresno, but could still make his season debut sometime before the first half of the season draws to a close.
Kontos, 33, hasn’t pitched in the majors since he took a handful of back-to-back-to-back gigs with the Pirates, Indians, and Yankees in 2018. He inked a minor league pact with the Cubs over the offseason, but failed to break camp with the team and was subsequently released in mid-April. He turned in seven strong innings for the Ducks since then, allowing one run and one walk and striking out six of 27 batters in six appearances.
Last year, the veteran reliever posted a combined 4.39 ERA, 2.4 BB/9, and 5.1 SO/9 over 26 2/3 innings. While he hasn’t pitched anywhere close to his career-best numbers in four years, he may still provide some valuable depth for the club, whose bullpen ranks 10th best in the league with a cumulative 4.59 ERA and 5.9 fWAR so far in 2019.