It’s only June, but Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon treated Wednesday’s game like the entire season was on the line. With the Cubs trailing he division-rival Milwaukee Brewers by one run in the eighth, Maddon used four different left fielders to ensure he would have desirable matchups.
The beginning of the inning started out normal. Kyle Schwarber went out to left and Steve Cishek came in to pitch. Cishek gave up a single to Orlando Arcia, which brought Brewers manager Craig Counsell out of the dugout. He was going to pinch-hit with Eric Thames. That’s when the fun started.
To counter Thames, Maddon decided to make a pitching change. He brought in lefty Brian Duensing to get the platoon advantage on Thames.
Instead of taking Cishek out of the game, Maddon put him in left field for Schwarber. Turns out, Cishek’s night wasn’t done just yet.
Cishek returns to the mound
Duensing struck out Thames, which once again brought Maddon to the mound. He wanted to insert Cishek as the team’s pitcher again so he could have a righty-on-righty matchup with Lorenzo Cain coming to the plate.
Duensing, however, wasn’t done yet either. Maddon decided to put him out in left field for the at-bat in case Christian Yelich came up during the inning.
Duensing gets out there again
Cishek got Cain to ground out. As expected, Maddon walked to the mound once again. This time Cishek was actually done for the day. He left the game. Duensing walked back to the mound to pitch to Yelich. Maddon decided to use catcher Willson Contreras as the fourth left fielder of the inning.
Did it work?
Yep. Yelich actually hit the ball to left, but Contreras was able to run it down for the inning’s final out. The Cubs’ tinkering kept the Brewers from extending their lead. The Cubs went into the ninth inning needing just one run to tie the game.
Then what happened?
None of it mattered. The Cubs failed to mount a come back against the Brewers, losing the contest 1-0, only it took longer than expected due to all of Maddon’s late substitutions.
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