Cubs fans had plenty to cheer about late in Friday's game against the Cardinals, but not in the way they expected.
With St. Louis absolutely wearing out the Cubs pitching staff in an 18-5 blowout, Joe Maddon turned to a trio of position players to pitch.
In front of 41,077 people at Wrigley Field for the second game of the official second half of the season, Tommy La Stella came on to pitch for the Cubs with 2 outs in the top of the sixth inning. After La Stella got 4 outs, it was Victor Caratini's turn for the eighth inning.
The Cubs have actually used multiple position players as a pitcher before, but it was back on June 16, 1884 in a 20-9 loss, according to historian Ed Hartig. Obviously, the game of baseball was quite different back then.
But just using two position players on the mound wasn't enough for this wacky day at the ballpark.
Ian Happ got the nod for the ninth inning on the mound, serving as the third different position player on the mound. He joked he was using his sinker effectively and that he's now the Cubs clubhouse leader in ERA after not giving up a run in his inning of work.
Was there a friendly competition between Happ, Caratini and La Stella?
"Yes," Happ said. "I won."
How did Maddon determine who would get the opportunity to make history?
Well, for starters, the process began with getting a certain player OUT of the lineup.
"I had to take Rizzo out of the game because he would've been badgering me the whole time," Maddon laughed. "So it started by getting Rizzo out, and that made my decision-making process a lot easier. Otherwise just imagine him harping in your ear constantly that he wants to pitch and every time I go out to the mound and the game may be lopsided as I'm maybe bringing somebody else in, he reminds me.
"At some point, hopefully in a good situation where we're leading [he can get in and pitch]."
Seeing a position player pitch has actually been a pretty common occurence under Maddon as he's done everything he can to limit the stress on the bullpen:
"I think the fans kinda started to enjoy it, too, which is always fun when you're getting blown out," said Kris Bryant, who connected on his 11th homer of the season in the blowout loss. "Those guys stepped up for us to save the bullpen. So there ya go. We're making history."
Meanwhile, on the other side, Matt Carpenter had a record-setting game.
Before being removed from the game in the sixth inning, Carpenter smashed 3 homers and 2 doubles and drove in 7 runs. It tied a Cardinals record for total bases (16) while tying the MLB record for most extra-base hits in a game (5):
It also was only the second recorded game in MLB history where a player had 3 doubles and 2 homers. The other? Bryant, of course — in Cincinnati in 2016.
Of course, the fact he did it all before the game reached the seventh inning is remarkable:
Offensively, the Cubs left 12 men on base, which would normally be the focal point of ire for the fanbase if not for the rest of the day's events...