Photos of Cubs pitcher John Lackey.
was the beneficiary of a no-decision Wednesday thanks to Jon Jay’s game-tying home run, but his performance is what will make his extra rest heading into the All-Star break all the more well-earned.
It was disclosed after the game the Cubs starter has been pitching with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. The pain can be difficult for him to push off the pitching rubber, but Lackey retired 10 of the final 11 batters he faced and prevented the Rays from pulling away.
"I (have some time) before I pitch again," Lackey said after his final start before the break. "I’ll be all right. I’m 38 years old. I’m bothered by a lot of things."
Manager Joe Maddon was impressed that Lackey’s velocity picked up after a rocky first inning.
"In my mind, I tell myself, ‘Settle down. He knows what he’s doing,’" Maddon said. "He knows how to take care of their aggressiveness. He’s able to do that with young hitters."
The Cubs now can allow Lackey’s foot time to rest until July 18 — their fifth game of the second half at Atlanta.
Maddon confirmed Lackey’s sore foot was one of the reasons they moved his start back a day and moved up Jon Lester to pitch Tuesday and then Sunday’s first-half finale.
Lackey didn’t walk a batter for the third time this season and he snapped a streak of nine starts in which he allowed at least one home run.
Photos from the Cubs-Rays game at Wrigley Field on July 5, 2017.
Koji’s kingdom: What seemed like a curious move actually paid off when Maddon summoned Koji Uehara to face the formidable Evan Longoria at the plate with the tying run at first with two outs in the eighth.
Carl Edwards Jr. retired the first two batters before allowing a single and walk.
Edwards throws about 10 mph harder than Uehara, but Maddon preferred Uehara because of his better control.
Uehara proceeded to strike out Longoria on an 87 mph fastball, marking the 13th time in 25 career at-bats that Uehara has struck out Longoria.
Extra innings: The Cubs improved to 14-6 in games against left-handed starters. … Reliever Pedro Strop, who pitched a scoreless seventh to gain the victory, has allowed one run in his last 10 outings.