Out of position: Cubs alternated relievers Duensing and Cishek in LF
Oh, that rascal Joe Maddon and his nifty bag of tricks. What will he pull next?
The Chicago Cubs manager, looking to play matchups in the eighth inning of Wednesday's 1-0 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers, brought lefty reliever Brian Duensing into the game. Instead of removing right-hander Steve Cishek entirely, however, Cishek was moved to left field.
The two relievers alternated playing the field and pitching so the Cubs always had the handedness advantage in the inning.
(Video courtesy: MLB.com)
"The last time I played outfield was probably 2001, senior year of high school. I'm old. That's sad," Duensing told reporters, according to ESPN's Jesse Rogers. "I used Willson (Contreras)' glove. It was a little bigger than mine. Apparently, we only have one left-handed outfielder. It was a little terrifying, to be honest. A lot of praying going on out there that it came to right field instead of left."
Duensing added he and Maddon had discussed the possibility of deploying this strategy when the Cubs played in Atlanta in May, but he had no idea it would actually happen on Wednesday.
"When I came into the mound and saw Cishek go to get his glove, I knew what was up," Duensing said. "I don't know. It was weird."
He got his wish and never had to field a ball hurtling in his direction, though the final out of the inning was a fly ball to left. By that point, Contreras had entered the game, replacing Cishek. The risk paid off.
Not everyone was amped by Maddon's creative approach to his defensive alignment. Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain, who drove in the game's lone run on a solo homer earlier - came to bat expecting to face the lefty, only to see Cishek return from left. He wasn't pleased:
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