Cubs

Cubs: Jon Lester doesn’t have any answers for Tigers

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Cubs: Jon Lester doesn’t have any answers for Tigers

Surrounded by reporters, Jon Lester leaned against the chair in front of his locker and kept shrugging his shoulders.

The Cubs seemed a little dazed and confused after getting knocked around by the Detroit Tigers during this two-game interleague series at Wrigley Field. The Tigers put 25 runs on the board and finished with eight homers and 40 hits against a Cubs staff that’s supposed to be pitching deep into October.

Lester’s even-keel off-the-field personality wouldn’t allow him to hit the panic button after Wednesday night’s 15-8 loss. But the Cubs have real questions about the state of their rotation.

“I’ve been down this road a time or two,” Lester said. “We’re all human. But one thing I’ve always tried to do is when this one’s over, it’s over. I’m back tomorrow and I’ll watch the game again (with) a clear head and see where everything was (and) move on.

“This season’s too long. It’s too much of an up-and-down (ride) to allow one of those abomination starts that stick out to effect your season. Obviously, this is a bad time of the year to have one.

“Tomorrow, we’ll come back and look at it and evaluate it. And make sure that I’m not going crazy (and) flush it down the drain.”

[MORE CUBS: Do Cubs have enough pitching to finish the pennant race?]

The Cubs are 67-51 and three games in front of the San Francisco Giants for the second wild-card spot, trailing the Pittsburgh Pirates by four games for home-field advantage in a one-game playoff.

The Tigers are underachieving this year at 58-61, but they still have high-end talent with Ian Kinsler, Miguel Cabrera and J.D. Martinez anchoring the middle of their lineup.

Lester came into the game with a 5.25 ERA in 10 career starts against Detroit. This time, he couldn’t finish the third inning, walking off the mound with his team down 7-0.

“They’ve obviously been a thorn in my side for a long time,” Lester said. “That’s easy to see and something that stands out. But with that being said, I still got to figure out a way to get deeper in that game.

“Like I’ve said from Day 1, I’ll be honest with you guys as best I can. I’m being honest with you right now. I’m scratching my head.

“I feel like within that game, there were pitches that were made that deserved better results.”

[MORE CUBS: No Chase Utley, but Cubs hope Chris Coghlan could become their Ben Zobrist]

This has been a strong overall season for Lester (8-9, 3.58 ERA) in the first year of that $155 million megadeal. But he couldn’t believe the ball Nick Castellanos hammered into the left-center field bleachers for a grand slam in the third inning.

“I think I can go back two years and that’s the first first-pitch curveball hit (against me) — let alone homer,” Lester said.

There was also the 94-mph fastball in the second inning that Tigers pitcher Daniel Norris blasted out to center field for a two-run homer in his first big-league at-bat.

Norris was a key piece in the David Price blockbuster with the Toronto Blue Jays and had been a pitcher the Cubs liked when they shopped Jeff Samardzija last year. Norris had knocked out a video-board panel the day before during batting practice, but he left this game in the fifth inning with a strained oblique muscle.

Don’t look at Lester for any easy explanations with the Cubs now trying to stop a three-game losing streak.

“I don’t know,” Lester said more than once. “No matter what I say tonight, it really doesn’t justify or sum up anything that happened tonight. You try to step back and come up with answers (and) reasons. I want to say I threw the ball down the middle. But there were some good pitches that were made tonight that got hit.”

Reds pitcher Amir Garrett apparently held a grudge against Javy Baez for a year

Reds pitcher Amir Garrett apparently held a grudge against Javy Baez for a year

Baseball players don't forget grudges. Javy Baez and Reds pitcher Amir Garrett gave an example of that on Saturday.

Garrett struck out Baez in the seventh inning of the first game of the Cubs-Reds doubleheader. Garrett showed some excitement with the strikeout and then said something to Baez. They both started jawing at each other and suddenly the benches cleared.

At first glance, it looked like Garrett was a bit too excited to get a strikeout with no one on base. Turns out Baez had his own bit of swag for Garrett last year (Friday was the one-year anniversary) in the form of a grand slam at Wrigley Field.

This time Garrett got Baez and wanted to even things up a bit.

Things didn't get too feisty despite the benches clearing, but Anthony Rizzo did rush to Baez's side at some speed. This could be a matchup to keep an eye out for in the future.

Cubs Talk Podcast: The greatest Cubs moments at Great American Ballpark

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: The greatest Cubs moments at Great American Ballpark

Siera Santos, Kelly Crull, and David DeJesus go into the audio archives to break down the biggest games for the Cubs in Cincinnati.

David DeJesus gives us his top 3 ballgames with such gems as The Schwarber Game, The Kris Bryant Game, Starlin Castro’s debut, and Jake Arrieta’s second no hitter.

Listen to the full Cubs Talk Podcast right here: