For a few moments of Saturday’s 6-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers, the Cubs and their fans had a hard time breathing.
With two outs in the top of the second inning, Milwaukee’s Carlos Gomez hit a blooper into short-right field between first and second base. Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell both charged after the ball and collided as they lunged to make a play, with both staying down as Martin Maldonado scored.
At that second, Maldonado scoring to give the Brewers a 3-0 lead was of little concern to the Cubs. Joe Maddon and a trainer rushed out to check on the two franchise cornerstones, both of whom stayed down before getting up after the longest few seconds of the season.
Maddon described what he was thinking after the play.
“You’re running out there looking for blood. There’s no blood,” Maddon said. “Nobody was howling in pain or anything like that but your first thing is that they’re going to be fine and then you’re looking for some kind of a bleeder and then that was also good.”
Maddon talked to Rizzo and Russell and both said they were fine. The pair stayed in the game, and Rizzo’s sixth-inning home run gave the Cubs their only run.
“It’s just one of those plays where, two outs you’ve got to try and make that play at all costs,” Rizzo said.
Jake Arrieta appreciated the effort.
“It’s a scary moment. They were both giving a lot of effort on that play,” Arrieta said. “It was a little out of their reach. One of those unfortunate things where two guys are going kind of (all) out to make a play. We’re thankful that they’re both OK.”
EASY TO TAKE
After the Brewers stole three bases in four attempts, the Cubs have allowed opponents to steal on 20 of 22 tries. Maddon said preventing steals begins with how fast the pitcher gets the ball home and then it goes to the catcher.
“We do have to do a better job with that overall,” Maddon said. “It’s something we talked about a lot in spring training and we just have to get better with it.”