Cubs

Montador: We're not holding our breath

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Montador: We're not holding our breath

Talking, discussing, working it out. The NHL and NHLPA havent done much of that lately but thats set to change. After a lengthy meeting at a secret location on Saturday, the two sides are reportedly set to meet this week again, beginning on Tuesday.

Great news, right? Well, sort of. As good as it is the two sides are talking and hopefully talking substantially now Steve Montador said proceed with caution.

Wed rather be talking than not talking, so thats definitely a positive. But nobodys holding their breath unless there are new proposals or changes coming from it, said the Blackhawks defenseman and player representative. Im not expecting much from it because I dont know how far (the league) will come toward our side. Weve come far enough with continued concessions. But our goal is to always talk. Thats important.

And the two sides need to keep talking throughout the week, not just on Tuesday. They need to take whatever came out of Saturday and build off it, get into the nitty-gritty of discussions. So much has already been canceled, from regular-season games through November to the Winter Classic, which was nixed on Friday.

So right now, theres at least some hope that this weeks chats could lead to progress.

Were just hoping theyre taking steps forward, said Washington Capitals forward Troy Brouwer. Hopefully this week and last weekend theyre making (up) some ground, be it core economics, discipline, pension, things like that. As long as things are getting worked out then were getting closer to a deal.

Saturdays meeting was done quietly, with NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr talking at an undisclosed location. After they talked, reportedly into the early Sunday-morning hours, each made a quick statement and that was it. No snide comments, no details, no rhetoric. And it looks like the two sides will keep it quieter to the media this week, too. A league spokesman told CSNPhilly.coms Tim Panaccio not to expect a formal media session following Tuesdays talks, that the silence may lead to better traction in talks.

Fine. Whatever works. The quicker this gets worked out, quietly or not, the better.

Sometimes, just having meetings and not having to explain it and then have it critiqued a bunch of ways can help us, Montador said. I dont know how much that can really happen these days; someone will see or hear something. But wed rather keep meeting than not meeting. I dont think its a bad thing to have some quiet meetings sometimes.

Joe Maddon goes after Sean Doolittle's delivery: ‘That's exactly what I was told Carl can't do’

Joe Maddon goes after Sean Doolittle's delivery: ‘That's exactly what I was told Carl can't do’

The Cubs finished Saturday's loss at the Nationals under protest after Joe Maddon saw what he believed to be an inconsistency in how illegal pitches are being called.

Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle came in to close the game out in the ninth with the Nats up 5-2. After one pitch, Maddon went to the umpires to complain. This dragged on throughout the inning.

Maddon didn't like that Doolittle's delivery involved him pausing and potentially even touching the ground in the middle of his wind up before coming home with the pitch. To Maddon, it was clearly an illegal pitch and he was fired up because that's something Carl Edwards Jr. got called for earlier in the season. By comparison, Edwards' version may be more deliberate, but Maddon thinks it is the same thing.

"That's exactly what I was told Carl can't do," Maddon said postgame in a video posted by ESPN's Jesse Rogers. "There's no judgment. If he taps the ground, it's an illegal pitch, period. There's nothing to judge. You can judge whether he did or not. It's obvious that he did, or if you can't tell that then there's something absolutely wrong."

Maddon and the Cubs protested the game as a result. If they win the protest, the game would be restarted with one out in the ninth, when Maddon notified the umpires of the protest.

Doolittle was less than amused by Maddon's protest.

"I have no qualms against Doolittle," Maddon said. "He's great, but they took it away from our guy so for me to sit in the dugout and permit that to happen while they stripped us of that ability earlier this year with Carl, how could I do that? You can't do that. I got to say something."

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Jon Lester's hot streak comes to an end at Nationals

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USA TODAY

Jon Lester's hot streak comes to an end at Nationals

Jon Lester was on a heck of a run since coming off the IL in late April, but it came to a screeching halt on Saturday.

Lester had by far his worst start of the season at the Nationals in a 5-2 Cubs loss. He labored through his start, giving up five runs in 4 1/3 innings.

Lester gave up 10 hits, which matches the most he has given up since joining the Cubs. He gave up a fair number of hits in his last two starts, but was able to avoid trouble on the scoreboard. Lester gave up nine hits in 6 2/3 innings against the Brewers last time out, but only gave up an unearned run. On May 7, Lester gave up eight hits to the Marlins, but only allowed two unearned runs in six innings of work.

This time, Lester couldn’t stay out of trouble. Brian Dozier got the Nats on the board with a solo shot in the second and then the wheels came off in the third.

To open the third inning Lester gave up six straight hits. The Nats got three runs that inning and then added another in the fifth, when Lester departed the game.

Since Lester came off the IL on April 25, he had allowed just one earned run (four runs in total) in 24 2/3 innings. During that stretch, he had 25 strikeouts against just two walks. His ERA fell to 1.16, which would have led all of baseball if he had enough innings to qualify. It’s at 2.09 after Saturday’s loss.

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