Jon Lester threw out Ryan Braun attempting to steal third base

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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.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.