We assumed the Chicago Cubs signed veteran catcher David Ross this offseason because he’s had a good working relationship with Jon Lester in the past. Perhaps there was more to it than that, or maybe the Cubs have discovered something unknown since the ink has dried, because his role on Saturday night was not to catch Lester or any other Cubs pitcher.
David Ross WAS the Cubs pitcher, at least in the eighth inning with the team trailing the Milwaukee Brewers 12-4.
He was — and this can’t really be debated — the Cubs most effective pitcher, too, retiring Hector Gomez, Scooter Gennett and the hot-hitting Adam Lind in order. It was a lot better than say, Edwin Jackson, who has one career no-hitter under his belt and is still owed nearly $26 million over the next two seasons to do exactly what Ross did on Saturday night.
It’s pretty amazing considering that in 14 seasons and 758 major-league appearances, Ross had never played anywhere in the field other than catcher. He wasn’t exactly refined on the hill, but he put the ball in the strike zone and let his defense so the heavy lifting.
“All fastballs,” Ross said after the game. “Just throw it and hope they don’t hit it back at me.”
As for the moment Joe Maddon approached him about pitching.
“It’s a baseball game,” Maddon said of turning to Ross. “I want to keep them in the right frame of mind. We got beat up tonight. It happens.”
It happens alright, though rarely to this extent.
In fact, Ross is just the second position player to pitch in a game this season. Oakland A’s first baseman Ike Davis tossed a perfect inning against the Los Angeles Angels back on April 21, so that’s six up and six down for the non-hurlers.
Whoever’s next, the pressure is on!
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