After Cubs opener Derek Holland surrendered seven runs to the St. Louis Cardinals over 2.0 IP in the final game of the 2019 season, Cubs manager Joe Maddon turned to expanded roster call-ups Duane Underwood Jr., James Norwood and Dillon Maples to pitch the next seven innings. Maddon, who had announced in a joint press conference with Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein prior to the game that he would not be returning as Cubs manager in 2020, then asked another possibly departing member of the Cubs, veteran utility player and 2016 World Series MVP Ben Zobrist, to take the ball for the 8th inning.
Zobrist allowed no runs on zero hits, surrendering two bases on balls and striking out Cardinals C Yadier Molina to end the inning.
After the game, Zobrist said the pitching appearance was “really fun” and gave him the feeling of playing “like a kid again”, which will surely be a good memory to end what could be the final game of his Cubs and MLB career.
With their 9-0 victory over the Cubs, the Cardinals clinched the NL Central Division title on the final day of regular season play. They will face the Atlanta franchise in the National League Division Series starting on Thursday, October 3. The start time is TBD.
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