8/27 Looking for some relief
Joe Mather did not want his sporadic pitching career to continue, but the outfielder was needed in the ninth inning on Monday. The good news for the Cubs: He threw four pitches, all strikes. The Cubs called upon Mather to get the final out and end a nine-run ninth inning as the Brewers posted a 15-4 victory.
“Obviously in the ninth it got out of hand,” Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun said, “but it was a really close game and a tightly-contested game up until that point.”
The Brewers led 6-4 going into the ninth against Alex Hinshaw, and sent 13 batters to the plate. Braun, Ramirez and Corey Hart hit consecutive home runs off Hinshaw to take an 11-4 lead. Lendy Castillo took over but served up four more runs before he was pulled for Mather, the first position player to pitch for the Cubs since Gary Gaetti on July 3, 1999, against the Phillies. Mather, making his second career relief appearance, gave up a RBI single to pinch-hitter Jeff Bianchi, but got pinch-hitter Martin Maldonado to hit into a force and end the inning.
“Those guys have to pitch when we’re losing,” Dale Sveum said of the relief corps. “We can’t just keep throwing [Shawn] Camp and [Manuel] Corpas and [James] Russell and those guys in the games. Those other guys have to get through those innings. Obviously, we couldn’t accomplish that.”
Mather last pitched April 17, 2010, while with the Cardinals in a 20-inning game.
“Obviously, it’s never what you want to do,” Mather said. “I know Dale doesn’t want someone to come in and throw like that. It’s an unfortunate thing you have to do, and tonight we got out of it pretty quick.”
He did throw strikes.
“I think it goes back to your childhood and you want to be competitive,” Mather said. “You want to get the team out of the situation it’s in and you want to get those guys out. You can’t help but want to go out and beat the guy you’re facing.”
— Carrie Muskat