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.
Mariners starter Félix Hernández will come off of the disabled list to make his final start of 2018 on Wednesday against the Athletics, MLB.com’s Greg Johns reports. Hernández has been on the disabled list since September 8 with a right hamstring strain.
Hernández, 32, has endured the worst season of his 14-year career. He’s 8-13 with a 5.46 ERA and a 121/57 K/BB ratio over 151 2/3 innings. Hernández wants the opportunity to finish 2018 on a good note. He said, “I feel good. No problems. It’s 100 percent. I just want to finish strong and show them I can still pitch. It wasn’t a big injury. They just wanted to give me some rest.”
Hernández is under contract for one more year at $27 million. He has been the face of the franchise for the last decade, but if he doesn’t show he’s capable of beating major league hitters by the end of spring training next year, the Mariners may not be able to afford to give him a spot in the starting rotation. Despite a second-half slide, the Mariners were competitive in the AL West this year, entering the All-Star break 58-39, five games out of first place. With some roster fine-tuning, the Mariners could give the Astros and Athletics a run for their money. Hernández’s involvement with that effort remains to be seen.