Tough Pill To Swallow--Brewers 3 Cubs 2

The Cubs lost in so many ways today. The hits began with the news that Javier Báez's thumb wasn't just a minor strain needing a few days rest but was indeed a hairline fracture. That put the Cubs star shortstop 2019 season in jeopardy. The Cubs then lost a game that never trailed until the final swing of the game. The game was a Rorschach test for fans who could certainly find whatever is the preferred target for Cubs ineptitude to point to as the team's undoing. Joe Maddon pulled his returning from injury starter after just 72 pitches. After Darvish had twirled five shutout innings, the Cubs bullpen only managed to place one more zero on the board. The offense was anemic in every way, with very few scoring chances and most of them squandered. And after all of that in the game the Cardinals won yet again to extend their lead back to a season high 3.5 games.

WPA CHART

Source: FanGraphs

Yu Darvish was very good. The starter, whose method for dealing with forearm tightness apparently is crushing a bunch of pain medicine, yielded a mere four base runners over five frames. He struck out seven Brewers in his outing. The Brewers really only managed two scoring chances against Darvish. The first came early with Yasmani Grandal singling and Christian Yelich drawing a base on balls with one out in the bottom of the first. Darvish struck out Eric Thames, and Ben Gamel flew out to end the threat.

The Cubs offense managed to get a base runner in the first inning against noted Cubs killer Gio Gonzalez, but could do little in the first two innings. The Cubs did threaten in the third inning. Victor Caratini lead off with a single. Yu Darvish bunted to advance Caratini into scoring position, but Grandal pounced on the short bunt attempt quickly to fire to second. The throw didn't appear to beat the Victory Carrot at second, but either way the ball was dropped, and the Cubs were in business. "Leadoff" hitter Albert Almora Jr. bounced into a double play, and Nicholas Castellanos bounced back to the pitcher to end the promising inning.

Darvish was in a little trouble in the fourth inning. Christian Yelich singled through the right side and then stole second base. Darvish would retire the next six batters he faced to complete a triumphant personal return. Things were looking up when Addison Russell took advantage of how well the ball carries at Miller. The shortstop hit a ball that was just over the fence in dead center to put the Cubs ahead 1-0, and Darvish left the game with the lead.

Freddy Peralta took over for Gio Gonzalez in the sixth inning. Almora grounded out to start the inning, but Nicholas Castellanos ripped a double. He reached third on a wild pitch. Peralta then struck out the next five Cubs batters he faced to keep the Cubs at a single run through the seventh inning. Kyle Ryan was summoned to face the parade of lefties in the Brewers lineup. He retired Trent Grisham and Grandal to start it, but he walked Yelich and Thames to keep the inning alive. Ben Gamel continued to do his best Kirk Nieuwenhuis impression with a game tying single. Steve Cishek was called on to face Lorenzo Cain and the steady veteran righty did his job. He kept the game level heading into the eighth inning.

Junior Guerra took over in the top of the eighth, and he walked Caratini. Ben Zobrist delivered a pinch hit single. Drew Pomeranz and Ian Happ were the next September baseball game matchup, and this one worked out in the Cubs favor with Ian Happ drawing a bases loading walk. Josh Hader was the final Brewers pitcher, and he struck out Castellanos for the first out. Anthony Rizzo managed to coax a run scoring walk to put the Cubs back ahead 2-1. Kris Bryant popped out to third, and David Bote struck out with the Cubs failing to tack on.

That loomed large when David Phelps threw one pitch to Yasmani Grandal and the game was re-tied. Derek Holland was called on to face Yelich and walked him. Rowan Wick finished the eighth. It took some work with the Brewers loading the bases, but Wick managed to finish the eighth with the score 2-2. Hader retired the side in order in the ninth.

Brandon Kintzler was given the bottom of the ninth and he did what he does, inducing a groundball right away. Unfortunately Addison Russell's throw was nowhere near first base and allowed Tyler Austin to reach first. Grisham flew out to left, and Grandal struck out swinging for the second out. Yelich ripped a double into the left field corner to score the winning run and further ruin the night.

Random Reference
I know I've used this bit before, but it makes me laugh. And I/we could use a laugh at this point.

Comments

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  • Cubs lose, Cards win, elimination number dips to 18, so I order another beer.

  • Just like the last series with Milwaukee - win one, then snooze through the rest of the series. I'm ready for some MAJOR lineup changes.

  • 3 more weeks and this season will mercifully come to an end. Better be wholesale changes this off season, starting in the dugout

  • StL beat PIT, ARZ beat CIN. No change in the Magic Numbers.

    Division: 25
    Playoffs (WC): 20

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Maddon's magic number is 21

  • Let's go blue! First pitch 1:10!

  • Just watched a video of Javy's replacement discussing his error that led to the game-losing run. He said "but it was good to have that happen" so that it will motivate him to get better and work on some things.

    How about working on your interview skills?

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Yeah - I thought that if he can't get motivated by the fact that his team is fighting for survival in the last month of the season, he doesn't need to be here. It's far beyond time to "work on some things."

  • fb_avatar

    Addy is the ONLY answer at short? Pathetic! 3 errors 3 games...come on man!

  • In reply to Scott Tomkiewicz:

    Even had we never found out what a horrible person he is..............

    I agree.

    The fact that he seems to truly thinks things like well my mistake in a big game like this, will help him going forward.....

    He's a good defensive ss, but now, does he even care when he out there?

    I realize the other options aren't good, but are they worse than someone who may not be playing 100%

  • In reply to Scott Tomkiewicz:

    I agree. Addy is not the only choice at short BUT he is a possibility and we can't forget he helped us win a pennant and world series (or we won in spite of him; I'm not sure!). A bigger concern is that he is no worse of an offensive threat that Bote, Almora, Happ, and even Bryant, Heyward, and Contraras at this point in time. Sorry we can't just pencil in Rizzo, Zobrist, Castellanos, Caratini, and maybe Schwarber and just play the rest in the field!!!

  • I see where many are saying, because of our hitting woes, we should pick up this hitter and that hitter in free agency like Anthony Rondon. I don't know if anyone would agree with me, but other issues must be addressed as well. Like starting pitchers. To me the best pitch in baseball is still the fastball. We have a bunch of 3 and 4 starters on this staff. Even in a short series with their hitters working on all cylinders, can you imagine them taking on a Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Thor, DeGrom, Scherzer, Strasburg.
    To me Anthony Rizzo is the only player on this team who should be a life long Cub. He is the only one in this lineup I would trust to get the big hit or even walk in a playoff situation against elite pitching.
    It wouldn't upset me to see the Cubs trade both Baez and Bryant in the off season. I know this is abhorrent to all the Cub sentimentalists and devotees, but this is a rebuild. Until we get some dominant number ones on our pitching staff, we will be chasing the dream much like we were in the 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's and early decade of the 2000's.

  • In reply to Playball:

    I agree with the notion that there are NO "untouchables" on this team. The focus is to put a better team on the field in 2020, even if it means trading someone (or someones) from the "core."
    That said, I don't agree that "this is a rebuild." Call it a retool or reinforcement, but a rebuild smacks of tanking and starting over and the Cubs are a far cry from that.

  • In reply to Playball:

    You have some excellent ideas. I heard Theo on the Score around 10 days ago saying that there will be a rebuild, but that it should be a smooth transition from this year's foundation to next year's. That scares me. I hope it doesn't mean looting the farm system again and going over the club's salary cap limit with the loss of draft choices as a consequence. That is short term thinking, looking for instant gratification. I think Ricketts has been very generous in spending for Theo, but I don't think that he wants to damage the long term future by going over the cap. Some of the top teams like the Yankees, Dodgers, and Braves do not trade away their top farm prospects nor go over the club salary limit because they know you have to add young talent from your farm system.

  • In reply to shalin:

    And none of those teams have won a w/s in over 19 yrs and the dodgers in over 30 years. Do you want to be competitive or win the w/s?

  • In reply to stix:

    Yankees won in 2009.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    So I guess it’s 19 years not over. Sorry. The initial comment is still relevant.

  • In reply to stix:

    I think it's 10 years.

  • In reply to stix:

    I want the Cubs to be very competitive every year and maybe win another championship some day soon, but it takes a lot of luck to win it all, a harmonic convergence if you will. The Cubs got lucky against the Dodgers and Indians in 2016 and have been fading the last 3 years.
    It happens..

  • To simplify, the Brewers have Yelich and the Cubs do not.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    And our closest comparison just went down for the year.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I would not say Baez is in the same class as Yelich. Yelich is a much better player. Especially hitting. He is a gold glove fielder and an excellent base runner. Baez is a good player just not a top 5 in the game like Yelich.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I agree. I did say closest comparison, not equal.

    Yelich is a beast. I've liked him since his early days in Miami. I admired the complete game that he played. But I never saw this level coming.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I guess I miss read your post. I agree also, I did not see this level of play coming.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    That's fine. I do that all the time. I'm in a much better mood this morning than I was yesterday, anyway.

    I am happy to report that all the fluffy puppies and kittens in my neighborhood are safe and sound.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    In many ways Javy brings more to the table, but Yelich is more of a stud than Baez. I'm not saying that it has never happened, but I don't recall Yelich ever getting himself out. It's a control thing. Even when the Marlins had that All Star outfield and Christian had to fight for playing time, the Marlins were better with him on the field. Yerich is a winner. If the game is on the line, I want Yelich at the plate.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I read somewhere that Yelich is impotent...

  • From Tony Andracki on twitter:

    Gio Gonzalez vs. Cubs this season: 1.21 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 5.1 H/9

    Gio Gonzalez vs. everybody else this season: 5.25 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, 9.4 H/9

    (This is thru the 3rd inning Saturday)

    Also from Tony:

    Why is Gio Gonzalez able to have so much success against this Cubs lineup?

    Joe Maddon: "Because we expand our strike zone. There's one answer to that and one only. That's it."

    I've noted this several times before when we struggle vs. sub-par pitchers. They continue to throw junk, purposely or just because they're not good, and we continue to chase. Gio does it as a game plan, and why would he change? We won't.

  • Almora "leading off" with Bote in the 5 hole? Is this the Iowa Cubs?

  • Bryant looks really out of sorts. He must be dealing w/ something substantial to be this bad. He swung at a pitch so far outside yesterday, I was embarrassed for him. Not a September to remember so far.

  • In reply to Oneear:

    I'll try to tackle this one as tactfully as possible. Someone sarcastically asked the other day if a sore knee will make you expand your strike zone, and I answered yes it will. Let me try to explain my thinking, and this is just my opinion.

    When KB is healthy he is a top-5 offensive player. But I'm noticing a pattern over the last few years. When he is not 100%, everything seems to get out of whack. Not just the pain he is dealing with, but his whole approach and game plan.

    I've always admired the "baseball rats" who squeeze more out their natural talent than would be expected. I referred to KB in his rookie season as a step above that, a "baseball robot". His routine and repetitions in the cage and off the tee are the stuff of legend, but I'm beginning to think it is also a large part of his slumps. We've seen it with his beaning in the head, his wrist injury, his shoulder injury, and now the knee irritation. Whenever he is not 100%, something else malfunctions. Like a robot, if one circuit goes down, you don't know what else it will take with it. Even when the physical ailment is healed, it seems to take time to reprogram. And then he is top-5 again.

    Hopefully this is something he learns to adjust to. I have heard him say, I think back at his first wrist injury, that he had never had to deal with anything like that before. He always had his health, his routine.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Makes sense, but I've seen this story play out many times. Injuries effect the players ability to play at this level. Those gifted players often have their careers taken. Rondell White, Grant Hill (different sport, same results) and Mark Prior to name a few.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I get that, and I thought about that after I voiced my opinion. Of course every player in every sport has injuries that impact their routine, and it throws off the rest of their game, but my sense is it's more profound with Bryant because of his lifelong routine. He isn't adapting as quickly as other players do. I'm hoping he will get better at that with more experience dealing with injuries, and I think he will. He's, unfortunately, starting to rack up some of that experience that he had never dealt with before.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    It's no different than a golf swing or any other athletic motion. When something isn't right you start making adjustments to compensate. Then when you're right again you have to find your way back to where you were when all was well. And it's not instantaneous because you instilled new muscle memory.

    It's maddoning.

  • In reply to Cubmitted:

    I just saw a new video of the KB vs. Hader AB. Bryant fouled a ball into the 1B seats and immediately grabbed his buckling knee. It is bad.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I saw that. His knee just buckled.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I think he fouled the ball off his knee.

  • How many times this year have we seen the opposing team hitter, hit a HR off of our relief pitcher’s first pitch. I think it is at least 5 times. I have been listening to Cubs games on the radio & going to the games since the late 30’s. When TV became available in 1948, I started watching the games. I do not think the Cubs advance scouts do as good of a job as the opponent team’s advance scouts. The Cusbatters & pitchers are very predictable. The Cubs to not implement a “team” game plan, whether it is our pitching staff or our hitters. Last year & this year have been the most frustrating season in my Cub fan life. I feel like this is ground hog day & I am back in 1969, Stick a fork in this team, They will not catch the Cardinals & the D’Backs will pass them this coming week. It hurts to watch this team. I was a strong supporter of Joe since Joe,s first interview after he signed. Joe has done a good job of managing egos, much like Phil Jackson did with the Bulls. The Cub players have tuned him out much like the Bear players tuned out Dikta.

  • In reply to Cubs1935:

    It's difficult to hear Joe talking about things the Cubs need to do better, realizing that they've been needing to do those things better for YEARS and still aren't. For that reason, I believe Joe is gone after this season. Great or not, nobody is listening...

  • In reply to Cubs1935:

    I don't know that I've seen you post before. If not, welcome.

    There is a lot of wisdom in your words.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I have been a follower of this site from the very beginning. It is my go to site each morning & I look at at 3x’s per day. I post very seldom. I am totally frustrated with this team. I really pains me when they lose. Barley, thanks for your feedback.

  • I suppose all off season we will hear how banged up the cubs were all year, especially KB, and that things will turn around next year. Every team has injuries, the cubs can’t seem to overcome them like our counterparts. We have no depth in our system to compensate for them. That is all on Theo. Meanwhile the cardinals have had just as many injuries all year and will win this division and knowing their luck win The Whole damn thing. God help us cub fans who have to live with so many obnoxious cardinal fans.

  • No Baez no Bryant. Bench needs to step up. Simple as that.

  • In reply to Cubmitted:

    We can do this. Someone will step up, and maybe Javy's replacement will be motivated beyond something other than a paycheck.

    Go Cubs!

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