After a deep fly out to left field in the 6th inning, Justin Steele had a long conference on the mound with David Ross and the athletic trainer. It wasn’t clear on the broadcast what was being discussed – what the coaches must have seen – but it was a very long chat.
Ultimately, Steele departed with the athletic trainer, which is never good, but he was also at 88 pitches in a late August game in a season where he’s way over his career innings high. If the Cubs say it was precautionary in the end, I’d buy it. Steele was having another fantastic night overall.
UPDATE: Cubs say it was lower-back tightness for Steele, which squares with the long conversation on the mound about how to proceed. No need to pitch through anything at all right now. Maybe this will require an IL stint like the lower-back tightness did for Keegan Thompson – again, these guys are having long, long seasons compared to what they’ve done before – or maybe Steele just needed to be pulled for tonight. We’ll see. Either way, I’m not terribly worried for now.