(CBS) Now in his 15th MLB season and at 39 years old, veteran Cubs catcher David Ross accomplished a feat Wednesday night that he believes he’d never done before in the big leagues.
He threw out four Brewers baserunners, helping Chicago stomp out Milwaukee rally after rally in what eventual was a 2-1 win for the Cubs in 13 innings. Making a difference behind home plate was a focus of Ross’ leading in 2016 after a 2015 season that saw left-hander Jon Lester — for whom Ross serves as a personal catcher — struggle to slow baserunners because of his disinclination for making pick-off throws.
Lester allowed an MLB-high 44 stolen bases in 2015, per Sportingscharts.com.
“I’m taking advantage of what other teams are giving me,” Ross said. “We have some pitchers that can be slow to the plate at times, and baserunners tend to get bigger leads. I worked this offseason, in spring training a little more focused on my throwing because of what Jon went through last year. I wanted to make sure my end of the bargain was locked in and had all my ducks in a row. I’ve always been able to throw well. I threw well in college. I’ve thrown well in my career — I’ve had a couple down years, here these last couple years, not as good as I’d like. But I still feel like I got a couple bullets in the gun here. I’m just trying to keep those guys close. The closer I can keep those guys, the better on the hard base hit. They don’t get such a big lead, and those plays at the plate can be bang-bang sometimes. Especially with the outfield arms we have, we want to give those guys a chance.”
“I don’t know if I’ve done that or not. I don’t think so. I told our guys after the game, I’d totally forgotten what I’d done in the game because it was so long. I told the reporters I felt like what I did was yesterday. And they told me it was.”
Listen to Ross’ full interview with Mully and Hanley below.