While mid-June MLB games aren’t normally especially memorable, Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon did something on Wednesday that won’t be soon forgotten. In the bottom of the eighth inning in Chicago’s game vs. the Milwaukee Brewers, the Cubs used four men, including two pitchers, to play left field.
The inning started innocently enough. Starter Kyle Schwarber went to left to start things off, while relief pitcher Steve Cishek came in to pitch. Cishek surrendered a hit. Milwaukee then brought in lefty Eric Thames to pinch hit. Maddon wanted Brian Duensing to face Thames, but didn’t want to lose Cishek for the rest of the game. So, Duensing was brought in to pitch, while Cishek replaced Schwarber in left, becoming the inning’s second left fielder.
After Duensing struck Thames out, Cishek returned to the mound to face Lorenzo Cain, while Duensing headed out to left swapped places. After Cishek retired Cain, he was removed from the game, Duensing was brought back in to pitch, and Willson Contreras became the inning’s fourth (and final) left fielder.
Ultimately, the strategy worked okay. The Cubs lost the game 1-0. But they did escape the inning unscathed. Only one ball was hit to left, which Contreras chased down.
One thing we can say for absolute certain is this. Maddon managed the heck out of that inning.