Demoted starter John Lackey blows it for Chicago Cubs’ bullpen

first_img Dodgers’ bullpen dazzles in Games 1 and 2 Justin Turner’s 3-run walk-off homer gives Dodgers 2-0 NLCS lead Fan who caught Justin Turner’s game-winning home run has been there before Whicker: Justin Turner’s homer is a thrill, but not a surprise Maddon instead picked Lackey, a veteran who is perhaps working the final games of an illustrious career that began with the Angels 15 years ago. Lackey had been dropped from the Cubs rotation for the playoffs because of a 4.59 ERA during the season. As a starter, Lackey figured to have enough pitches in him to get through the 10th, too, which was Maddon’s plan.Maddon also said he trusted Lackey in that spot because of his experience. This is a pitcher who pitched Game 7 of the World Series as a rookie with the Angels, and has won rings with the Angels, Boston Red Sox and Cubs.“I’m just betting on his experience right there as much as anything,” Maddon said. “I know that he went out there and tried to make the pitches that he wanted to make. I know that the crowd would not affect him, and it didn’t.Lackey entered with a runner at second and two outs, and righty Chris Taylor up first. He ended up walking Taylor.“Two righties coming up right there,” Maddon said. “I liked (Lackey) a lot on the first guy, Taylor. Once that walk occurred, all bets were off against Turner. Nobody is a really great matchup against Turner, so it just did not work out.”Lackey’s 1-and-0 fastball to Turner was over the middle of the plate and Turner crushed it to straightaway center.“You want to get in these games,” Lackey said. “You’ve got to get the job done.”Although it ended up as another loss for the Cubs’ bullpen, the relievers at least pitched better for most of the night, rewarding Maddon for his confidence.“When guys struggle, I know everybody wants you to open up a new can of relief pitchers, but that’s not how it works,” Maddon said before the game. “These are our guys, and I have a lot of faith in our guys. I have to keep putting them out there in the situations they’re supposed to be in, and you believe it’s going to work out right.”With Edwards – who had allowed six earned runs in 2 1/3 innings so far in the postseason – it worked. He retired all four batters he faced.Brian Duensing also put up a zero, getting out of the eighth with a double play ball. But Duensing walked Yasiel Puig to lead off the ninth, setting off the chain of events that led to Lackey giving up the game-winning homer.It sent the Cubs back to their clubhouse, thinking about a bullpen that took another loss and an offense that gave their relievers no margin for error.“We still have a long way to go,” Cubs slugger Kris Bryant said. “Hopefully we’ll turn it around.” Video: Justin Turner’s 3-run walk-off home run extends the Dodgers’ NLCS lead over the Cubs Miller: Justin Turner goes Kirk Gibson and makes everything right again center_img LOS ANGELES — Just when the Chicago Cubs’ relievers seemed to have righted the bullpen ship, it was sunk by … a starter.The Cubs’ bullpen, which had allowed 16 earned runs in 20-1/3 postseason innings before Game 2 of the National League Championship Series against the Dodgers, had matched the Dodgers’ unhittable relief crew with zeroes on Sunday night.With the score tied in the ninth, though, with the Cubs’ dominant closer sitting in the bullpen, demoted starter John Lackey came jogging to the mound. On his eighth pitch, he gave up a three-run homer to Justin Turner, ending the Dodgers’ 4-1 victory on Sunday night.Related Articles Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error The Cubs now face a daunting 2-0 deficit in the series, although with at least a glimmer of hope because some of their struggling relievers had a nice night on Sunday, most notably Carl Edwards Jr. The story behind Yasiel Puig’s catchy walk-up track ‘Wild Horse’ But in the ninth, it was Lackey instead of Wade Davis.Conventional wisdom, of course, dictates that the visiting team shouldn’t bring its closer in unless it’s a save situation. Of course, in a postseason game, particularly a postseason game when facing a potential two-game deficit in a best-of-seven series, that usually goes out the window.In this case, however, Cubs manager Joe Maddon said he didn’t want to bring Davis in without the lead because he was still recuperating from Thursday’s seven-out performance in the division series.Besides the strain of Davis pitching more than one inning, Maddon was leery of even warming him up multiple times.“I really just needed him for the save tonight,” Maddon said. “He had limited pitches. It was one inning only, and in these circumstances you don’t get him up and then don’t get him in. So if we had caught the lead, he would have pitched. That’s it.”last_img read more