Cubs starter Jon Lester‘s issues with throwing to bases is well known around baseball. Teams have been trying to take advantage of it in the last two postseasons, in fact. Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun was no different during Thursday’s game.
Braun walked with two outs to extend the bottom of the first inning for the Brewers. As Travis Shaw came to the plate, Lester was collecting his thoughts or fixing the dirt around the mound — or something — so he was looking down for a long time. Braun sneakily strode towards second base before making a break for it. Before Lester could do anything, Braun was sliding into second base.
Braun got greedy, however. After Lester threw a first-pitch ball to Shaw, Braun again tried to catch Lester napping. This time, Lester was ready, stepping off and bouncing a throw over to Kris Bryant at third base, who applied to Braun for the final out of the inning. Sweet, sweet revenge.
The Cubs scored three times in the second inning, the third of which scored on a ground ball hit by Lester and misplayed by Hernan Perez.
The Athletics appear to be closing in on a deal for Mets’ right-hander Jeurys Familia, according to reports from ESPN’s Buster Olney. Nothing has been finalized just yet, however, as the Mets confirmed that they would not be announcing a trade tonight and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic points out that other teams may still be in the mix for Familia’s services. It’s not clear what the A’s would be giving up in any potential deal for the reliever.
Familia, 28, has been pitching well this season. He currently sports a 2.88 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and 9.5 SO/9 through 40 2/3 innings — across-the-board improvements from his last run with the Mets in 2017 — and has racked up 17 saves to boot. He’s due another $3 million for the remainder of 2018, and Rosenthal adds that the club is willing to throw some cash in the deal in order to guarantee a better return for the closer.
While the A’s have one of the better bullpens in the American League, sitting seventh-best with a 3.50 ERA and 2.8 fWAR, they still have a ways to go in order to overtake the Mariners and Astros for a postseason berth by season’s end. Familia’s contract expires at the end of the year, but he should provide enough short-term value to give the A’s the boost they need.