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 Reds have sent second baseman Scooter Gennett in for an MRI exam after he was forced to make an early departure from Friday’s 6-4 loss to the Brewers. The exact nature of the injury has yet to be reported, but starting pitcher Robert Stephenson said Gennett may have hurt himself after he “rolled weird” while trying to rein in a ground ball. He appeared to be grabbing at his right thigh/groin area immediately afterward and was helped off the field.
Following the incident, the 28-year-old was swiftly replaced by veteran infielder Carlos Rivero, who went hitless as he finished out the game. Though Gennett went 0-for-1 in his lone at-bat on Friday, he’s been tearing through the Cactus League competition this spring with a .351/.405/.486 batting line in 42 plate appearances so far.
The extent of Gennett’s injuries have not been disclosed — and may still be unknown to the team as well — but any significant setback would undoubtedly throw a wrench in the Reds’ plans this season, as he was the presumed starter at the keystone after turning in his first All-Star worthy performance in 2018. Although they have a promising alternative in top infield/outfield prospect Nick Senzel, the 23-year-old has not seen any time at second base this year and was recently reassigned to Triple-A Louisville to start the 2019 season.