Cubs still figuring out next step for John Lackey

Cubs still figuring out next step for John Lackey

John Lackey hasn’t gotten an MRI for his stiff right shoulder, manager Joe Maddon said before Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Milwaukee Brewers, but the Cubs also didn’t have a definitive plan for one of their most valuable pitchers.

Less than 48 hours earlier at Wrigley Field, Maddon had pulled Lackey after watching him shake his right arm in the seventh inning of Sunday night’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals. Lackey had looked sharp to that point, giving up one unearned run before getting a no-decision in a 6-4 loss to his old team.

“We’ll know more soon,” Maddon said. “I’m hearing that he feels good. But we haven’t decided anything yet.”

Whether that means putting Lackey on the disabled list or pushing back his next start, the Cubs will have to take the long view and think about the “Big Boy Games” in October. Lackey, a two-time World Series champion, has lived up to his reputation in the first season of a two-year, $32 million contract, going 9-7 with a 3.41 ERA and accounting for 158-plus innings.

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The Cubs are also facing a decision with Game 1 starter Trevor Cahill, the 26th man activated for the day-night doubleheader.  

“We’re going to go through today and then create the plan,” Maddon said. “We haven’t decided or determined anything yet. But we’re going to have to do something very quick.”

Basket Slam: Wrigley's quirks come to Cubs' aid in walk-off win

Basket Slam: Wrigley's quirks come to Cubs' aid in walk-off win

The Wrigley Field basket has played a huge role in this week's Cubs-Reds series.

In Monday night's game, Cincinnati catcher Curt Casali hit a game-tying homer into the basket in the seventh inning of a game the Cubs went on to lose.

But the basket giveth and the basket also taketh away.

Tuesday night, it was Kyle Schwarber and the Cubs who were singing the praises of one of the strangest ballpark quirks in baseball.

Schwarber connected on a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 10th inning off Reds closer Raisel Iglesias, hitting a fly ball through the impossibly-humid air and into the basket in left-centerfield for a 4-3 Cubs win.

"Whoever thought about that basket — whenever that occurred — tell them, 'thank you,'" Joe Maddon said. "Although it did work against us [Monday]. When it works for you, it's awesome."

Schwarber has stood under the left-field basket many times with his back against the wall, thinking he might be able to make a play on a high fly ball only to see it settle into the wickets and turn into a chance for a Bleacher Bum to show off their arm. 

But is he a huge fan of the basket now that it worked in his favor?

"I guess so," Schwarber laughed. "Yesterday, it cost us, but today, it helped us out. It's just the factor of Wrigley Field. Happy it worked out today."

It was Schwarber's first career walk off RBI of any kind.

It was the Cubs' fourth walk-off homer of the season, but their first since May 11 when Willson Contreras called "game" on the Milwaukee Brewers. 

The Cubs are now 4-1 since the All-Star Break and hold a 2.5-game lead in the division.

Baseball Night in Chicago Podcast: Big changes to the Cubs roster


Baseball Night in Chicago Podcast: Big changes to the Cubs roster

Doug Glanville and Ozzie Guillen join Leila Rahimi on Baseball Night in Chicago to discuss all things baseball.

The talk about the trade that sent Cubs pitcher Mike Montgomery to the Royals in exchange for Martin Maldonado, Willson Contreras' injury that sent him to the injured list and an update on the White Sox roster moves and rebuild status.

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below: