Anthony Rizzo revealed Friday that the Cubs have adopted a new method of taking out their frustrations during games, reasoning that "you can only stay sane for so long" without snapping. Speaking of John Lackey, the snap-happy starter was removed with ...and more »
Anthony Rizzo revealed Friday that the Cubs have adopted a new method of taking out their frustrations during games, reasoning that "you can only stay sane for so long" without snapping.
Speaking of John Lackey, the snap-happy starter was removed with a one-run lead against in the fifth inning of the Cubs' 5-4, 10-inning win over the Brewers, a move that seemingly signals the end to any remote chance Lackey could earn a postseason start.
Tommy La Stella's bases-loaded walk in the 10th put the Cubs ahead, and Carl Edwards Jr. pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings for the win.
With the win, the Cubs moved 5 1/2 games ahead of the Brewers and reduced their magic number to win the National League Central to five games. The Cardinals leapfrogged the Brewers and are five behind the Cubs after their ninth-inning comeback victory over the Pirates.
Can the Cubs clinch by Monday?
"Yeah, but baseball is a funny game," Edwards said. "We might have a game or two that don't go our way, but as of now we're playing great baseball and we're going to continue to do that."
Lackey declined to get giddy about the possibility.
"I don't know about that," he said. "We'll play (Saturday)."
Manager Joe Maddon opted to split up the combustible battery of Lackey and Willson Contreras, whose dueling ejections one week ago at Wrigley Field led Lackey to bark about being denied a chance at a win, saying they "don't grow on trees."
Maddon instead paired calm and cool catcher Alex Avila with the not-so-calm-or-cool Lackey, hoping to get six or seven innings out of the veteran.
Despite serving up back-to-back home runs in the second inning, Lackey held a 4-3 lead before being removed after only 77 pitches following a leadoff single in the fifth. If looks could kill, Maddon would be referred to as the dear, departed manager of the Cubs.
Asked if he wanted to pitch longer, Lackey said: "Ya think?"
Either way, another opportunity for a win was denied Lackey, and he's expected to make his final start as a Cub next week in St. Louis.
Shortstop Javier Baez, who threw out Ryan Braun from his knees in the eighth inning, spilled the beans on Rizzo before the game. Baez said Rizzo called a meeting in the clubhouse during the eighth inning of Thursday's game after he'd struck out with runners on in a 2-2 tie.
"We got this new thing," Baez said. "I don't really want to be the one saying it. Let him say it.
"It's really fun when someone is mad — everyone walks in and we do some fun thing that kind of gets us hyper. ... You guys ask Rizzo."
Rizzo was tipped off about the clubhouse leak but pretended to be upset.
"He doesn't know how the Italian way works," Rizzo said while smiling. "Jeez."
Rizzo called the bonding exercise a "team retreat (for) anyone who wants to let out some steam" and claimed the Cubs were 3-for-3 since their first retreat a couple of weeks ago. It can only be called when they're not ahead, and Rizzo insisted guys can't "be selfish and go on a nice little retreat and snap when we're winning."
What's the point?
"It's a long season and you go through ups and downs, and there are times (you) get to that boiling point (when) you just want to kill anything in your way," he said.
"It happens upwards of 25 times a year. Now in September we've come up with a team thing where we're all in it together."
Lackey's name was not mentioned, but Rizzo insisted playing behind him was "fun."
"Like I said, we've come together now," Rizzo said. "It's not about any one (individual), it's about us. And when things go wrong for a certain individual, you rally around him.
"That's what we've got to keep doing from here on out until it's all said and done."
During the year, Rizzo speculated he'd destroyed 20 helmets. No TV cameras or mics are allowed at the retreat, not even the pretend ones Tommy La Stella and Ian Happ use when impersonating reporters.
"That would be considered fake news," Rizzo said.
Rizzo did admit some cameras were put in "designated areas for later on," so chances are you may be seeing see some retreat videos on someone's social media account in the near future.
Meanwhile, the Brewers are barely alive, though manager Craig Counsell noticed a story in Friday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said Thursday's game was tied in extra innings when the paper went to print. A reporter explained he had an early deadline and had to file his article before the wild ending.
"I did make a comment to my wife about it," Counsell said. "'I don't think it will be good for your job security' is what I said. I made some reference to the future of the newspaper industry."
Rest assured, the Journal Sentinel will still be printing Oct. 2 when the regular season ends.
Whether the Brewers will still be playing remains a question mark.
Chicago Cubs,Anthony Rizzo,Javier Baez,Paul Sullivan,Milwaukee Brewers,Craig Counsell,Joe Maddon,John Lackey