Chicago Cubs starter John Lackey was fantastic tonight against the Cardinals, but his night ended a bit earlier than he would have hoped. Having just cleared the 100 pitch mark with two outs and a runner on base in the 7th inning, Lackey looked uncomfortable for his final few pitches to Randal Grichuk, wincing in discomfort after what would be his final pitch.
Joe Maddon came out with the trainer, and, despite Lackey’s obvious argument to stay in the game and finish the inning, he pulled his starter. Based on Lackey’s argument, there’s a pretty good bet that he thought it was just cramping or some kind of “normal” discomfort at the end of a start, but Maddon wasn’t going to mess around either way. Lackey is far too important for the Cubs’ season to let him talk his way into a serious injury.
Hopefully we’ll find out soon that it was just cramping and there’s no injury. Until then, I’ll probably be a touch nervous.
The Cubs will probably update after the game and/or tomorrow.
UPDATE: Well, this isn’t quite as “hey, it’s totally no big deal” as I was hoping we’d get after the game:
Shoulder stiffness for John Lackey. Nothing clear beyond that.
— Mark Grote (@markgrotesports) August 15, 2016
Cubs manager Joe Maddon said John Lackey's shoulder stiffened up.
"They treated it and he felt better afterward."#Cubs
— Chris Kuc (@ChrisKuc) August 15, 2016
With an off-day tomorrow, I wonder if Lackey will undergo further evaluation. I suppose it’s possible he wakes up feeling normal, and there’s nothing to this. It’s also entirely possible that the shoulder stiffness is indicative of an underlying issue that the Cubs are going to want to rest before September rolls around. I guess we’ll know more early this week.
Hopefully he makes his next start as scheduled, and we barely remember this.