As much as Cubs starter Alec Mills wanted to pitch better against the Phillies Wednesday night, he also would have changed how he handled being pulled from the game in the fifth inning of a 6-5 loss.
Mills was visibly upset as manager David Ross approached him to take the ball, shaking his head as he walked back to the dugout.
“None of them like it when I come out there and take the ball from them,” Ross said. “I'll tell you that."
The Phillies led 3-2 and had a runner on second with two outs when the Cubs intentionally walked Bryce Harper. Ross then went to the bullpen with All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto coming to the plate.
“Looking back, I was not very pleased how I handled it,” Mills said. “But at the same time, I'm a competitor. I want to stay out there.”
Realmuto, who was 1-for-2 off Mills with a groundout and bloop single, hit an RBI single off reliever Scott Effross, extending Philadelphia’s lead.
“I thought I had a real good shot of getting him out,” Mills said. “I made some good pitches against him the first two at-bats.
“Obviously I wish I could take back how I handled it. I think being competitive, that’s one thing I take a lot of pride in. I also take a lot of pride in getting as far into games as I can. I really wanted to finish that inning before the bullpen came in.
"I wish I could change some things.”
Mills allowed six hits, two walks and was charged with four runs. He pitched into the sixth inning in his previous three starts, including Aug. 28 against the White Sox, when he threw a season-high 8 1/3 innings.
“Obviously I showed a little bit of frustration, probably more than I should have,” Mills said.
“We all want to stay in the game as long as we can. We all want to pitch. That's what we're doing. That's our job. I want to do it and I want to do well.”