Former Cubs reliever did something on Thursday no other MLB pitcher has done

Veteran reliever David Robertson struck out Shohei Ohtani, Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman on Wednesday in one inning, then did it again on Thursday.
Texas Rangers v Los Angeles Dodgers
Texas Rangers v Los Angeles Dodgers / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages

Since Shohei Ohtani joined the Los Angeles Dodgers, no opposing pitcher had managed to strike out Ohtani and the other pieces of the team's 'Big 3' in Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts. That is, until former Chicago Cubs reliever David Robertson did it on Wednesday - and again on Thursday.

With Betts and Ohtani firmly in the NL MVP discussion and Freeman turning in another stellar campaign at the plate, it's no wonder nobody had managed to strike out all three in a single inning. For Robertson to be the one to do it not once, but twice in two days, after turning 39 back in April is just the latest evidence that anything can happen in this game.

Doing it once is impressive, but his second time through the powerful trio was truly something else. Robertson allowed the first two batters of the inning to reach only to shut down the Dodgers by punching out Betts, Ohtani and Freeman to escape the jam.

“What a gutty effort,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said after the game. “He regrouped and made some tremendous pitches, which you have to do against those guys. What he did is a huge deal to go through those guys again. He just nailed his location. He’s got so much poise and experience, he just turned it up a notch after [getting into a jam].”

David Robertson had a brief, but impactful stint with the Cubs

Robertson only pitched a half-season with Chicago, but he was brilliant, working to a 2.23 ERA in 36 first-half appearances before Jed Hoyer traded him to the Philadelphia Phillies at the deadline in exchange for Ben Brown.

That move could wind up going down as one of the most impactful and underrated of Hoyer's tenure on the North Side given Brown's dominance since a rocky MLB debut against the Rangers in late March. Since that outing, the young right-hander has made eight starts and a half-dozen relief appearances, working to a 2.68 ERA/2.78 FIP over 53 2/3 innings, holding opponents to a .192 mark.

Still just 24 years old, Brown looks like he'll be a staple in this Cubs pitching staff for years to come. So while Robertson may have only had a cup of coffee in Chicago, his impact, by extension, could still be felt long after he hangs up his spikes and calls it a career.