Lester, Montero get signals crossed in loss

Cubs catcher not accustomed to pitcher's signs

Lester, Montero get signals crossed in loss

LOS ANGELES -- For the third time this season, Miguel Montero caught Jon Lester, and apparently the catcher wasn't quite up to date on what David Ross does to keep baserunners in check against the Cubs pitcher.

Lester adjusts the timing of his delivery to try to throw baserunners off. In the fourth inning of the Cubs' 5-2 loss, the Dodgers had two on and one out and Lester had fallen behind to A.J. Ellis, 2-0. That's when Cubs manager Joe Maddon went to the mound.

"I wanted to talk strategy there, what was going on with the baserunners," Maddon said. "I had some thoughts."

And he helped clarify what he wanted Montero to do.

"They were giving me signs and I really didn't know what it means," Montero said. "I don't know what kind of signs they have when Lester pitches with runners going, so I felt like I was a little bit lost."

The Dodgers did steal three bases against the Lester/Montero combo. Lester leads the Major Leagues in stolen bases against (39).

"When you know they're going to go, you have to make a perfect throw to maybe throw the guy out," Montero said. "You try to be as quick as possible. There's not much I could do."

Montero was subbing for Ross, who was home in Atlanta to tend to a family matter.

"We probably haven't worked enough together to have 100 percent confidence," Montero said of Lester. "That's OK and understandable. For the most part, I think we were on the same page."

In the sixth, Lester wasn't sure what to throw against Justin Turner, and Montero suggested a good fastball down and away. Lester did so, firing a 95-mph pitch, and struck Turner out, one of seven K's for the day.

But the Dodgers took a different approach in the seventh, rapping four straight hits, including a two-run single by Andre Ethier en route to the win.

"The good thing is, I don't have to go back to the drawing board," Lester said. "My stuff was there. Location was there, stuff was there, velocity was there. Everything was there. Now it's a matter of a little bit of luck going my way and maybe the outcome is a little different."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.