Jon Lester’s departure leads to Brewers closing gap on Cubs

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it was Jon Lester’s back, then it was Josh Hader’s arm. Both contributed to the Milwaukee Brewers’ 3-2 win over the Chicago Cubs on Monday, drawing them to within one game of the two-time defending National League Central Division champions.

Lester had to leave after 5⅔ innings due to back spasms, handing the ball to much maligned reliever CJ Edwards, who promptly threw a wild one on his first pitch, allowing the winning run to score. Lester thought he might have hurt his back on a swing earlier in the game.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“I think it will be fine,” he said afterward. “It’s not anything painful, just kind of uncomfortable.”

Painful was watching Edwards enter a tie game with men on second and third and two outs. It’s a decision by Cubs manager Joe Maddon worthy of second guessing: Over his past 15 appearances, Edwards had walked 10 and given up eight hits. With a rested bullpen — the Cubs were rained out Sunday — Maddon could have chosen any number of arms, but instead, called upon the least reliable of his top relievers.10

“I just wanted to reduce his outing tonight to one out,” Maddon explained. “Once Jon was in the situation he was in, I thought, ‘Get Carl out there, get one out, let him walk off the field, feel good about himself, and then you have the other guys for the rest of the game.’

“We need to get Carl straightened out. The symmetry of the bullpen is different without him out there. His skill set is really important to us. We have to get him right.“china nike nfl jerseys cheap

The Cubs do, indeed, need a good Edwards for October, but they might not get there by pitching him in a high-leverage situation right now. To add insult to injury, Edwards didn’t exactly hustle to cover home on the wild pitch. And so after taking the lead, Brewers manager Craig Counsell called on Hader, the dynamic lefty, for the next two innings. He struck out all six batters he faced, the first time that has happened (facing at least six and striking them all out) for a pitcher since 2013, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

“What are you going to do with that?” Lester said rhetorically. “The guy is throwing 97 mph. He’s basically Chris Sale from a relief standpoint, with his angle and everything.”