Catcher Ross pitches a perfect eighth inning
MILWAUKEE -- David Ross' pitching approach was simple -- he went with his best stuff.
With the Cubs trailing in their eventual 12-4 loss on Saturday, manager Joe Maddon turned to the veteran catcher to pitch the final inning. The 38-year-old Ross, who said he had not pitched since Little League, turned in a 1-2-3 eighth inning in his debut on the mound.
"I just threw all fastballs," Ross said. "I lobbed one in there that he fouled off. I was just going to throw it and just hope they didn't hit it back at me. That was my main goal."
Ross retired Hector Gomez on a flyout to center and then got pinch-hitter Scooter Gennett and Adam Lind on groundouts, throwing nine of his 11 pitches for strikes.
"I was just trying to play catch," Ross said. "It was nice just to get an easy inning. I don't envy those pitchers out there on the mound. I don't want that job. I like hiding behind the mask a lot better."
When Maddon approached him, Ross said he thought it was to pinch-hit.
"There was nobody else left on the bench, so I was getting loose to pinch-hit in case we got some guys on," said Ross. "He came to me with a big smile and said, 'Do you want to pitch?' I just kind of stared at him for a while, and said, 'Yeah, why not.' He said, 'All right, you're in there.' Then the nerves and the heart rate went to another level."
In addition to providing a light-hearted close to a tough game, Maddon said the move also would help a bullpen that allowed 10 runs in six innings in the first two games of the series.
"In spite of having a bad night, it ended on a good note in a sense, plus [Zac] Rosscup never moved his arm and [Justin] Grimm never moved his arm tonight at all, and then [James] Russell only threw eight pitches," Maddon said.
Brewers starter Kyle Lohse, who got the win despite allowing four runs on seven hits in five innings, said it didn't bother him that the Cubs used a position player to finish the game.
"I might go to the tape and, like, figure out what he's doing, mix that in," Lohse said. "A little 75 mph whatever that was. I wasn't watching too closely, but I'm going to check the tape and see if I can pick anything up."