Hiura's Fury -- Brewers 5, Cubs 3

Jon Lester had a fantastic start for the Chicago Cubs, but it wasn’t enough to get the win, as the Cubs fell 5-3 to the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday night.

Robel García led it off for the Cubs against Brewers starter Chase Anderson and popped out for the first out. Willson Contreras hit a double but would not score, as Kris Bryant struck out and Anthony Rizzo grounded out to short for the third out.

Lorenzo Cain led off for the Brewers and flew out to center, followed by a single from Christian Yelich. The Brewers would not score in the first, either, as Ryan Braun popped out and Kestin Hiura flew out to center.

The Cubs got on the board in the third inning on a home run from Rizzo, his 21st of the season. The Cubs led by 2-0.

The Brewers replaced Anderson with Alex Claudio in the sixth inning, and he got a ground out from Rizzo. Javier Báez followed with a line out, and Jason Heyward ended the inning with a strike out.

Hiura hit what was originally called a home run in the bottom of the sixth, but the ball was clearly foul and the call was overturned. Hiura then went on to strike out to end the inning.

Matt Albers entered the game on the mound for the Brewers in the seventh and faced pinch-hitter Albert Almora Jr after a ground out from Ian Happ. Almora struck out looking, and Lester lined out for out three.

Almora remained in the game at center field in the bottom of the seventh and Happ moved from center to left field. Lester worked an efficient, with a ground out from Mike Moustakas and strike out from Jesús Aguilar. He walked Manny Piña next, but then got a strikeout from Orlando Arcia.

The Cubs moved to the bullpen in the eighth, calling on Steve Cishek to replace Lester. Lester went seven innings with four hits, no runs, three walks, and five strikeouts. He was at 94 pitches. Pinch hitter Ben Gamel hit a solo home run off of the first pitch from Cishek, putting the Brewers behind by only 2-1. Cain then doubled, and Cishek was pulled for Derek Holland. Holland got Yelich to fly out to center and Cain advanced to third. Tyler Chatwood then took over pitching and got a pop out from Braun but a double from Hiura to tie the game at 2-2. Rowan Wick was the fourth and final pitcher of the inning. He intentionally walked Moustakas and then got a strikeout from pinch-hitter Eric Thames.

Freddy Peralta pitched the ninth for the Brewers and walked Rizzo to lead things off. He then got a pop out to first from Báez, a pop out to short from Heyward, and a called strikeout from Happ.

Wick remained in the game for the Cubs in the bottom of the ninth and walked pinch-hitter Yasmani Grandal. Arcia followed with a sacrifice bunt, advancing Grandal to second. Gamel then reached on a fielder’s choice, with Grandal out at third. Gamel stole second and Báez prevented him from trying to advance to third by faking a tag when the ball was not in his glove. Cain then struck out swinging and the game headed to the 10th.

Almora hit a no-doubt homer, his 11th of the season, off of Peralta to lead off the 10th inning and the Cubs were ahead by 3-2. Further insurance was not in the cards, though, as Victor Caratini (pinch hitting) and García struck out, Contreras singled, and Bryant grounded out to short to end the inning.

Craig Kimbrel was called on to close it out but couldn’t get the job done. Yelich hit lead off homer to tie it again at 3-3. Pinch hitter Tyler Saladino then walked, and Hiura launched an opposite-field home run to walk it off 5-3.

 

WPA CHART

Source: FanGraphs

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  • fb_avatar

    Glass half full—as horribly as we’re playing we’re still only one game out.
    Glass half empty—at the start of the road trip we were 2 games up and we’re sinking like a two ton anchor.

  • Two really tough losses. Bullpen and offense are struggling badly. But this is how champions are formed. If they can pull together and finish off this trip winning 3 of 4 they’ll be back in first place

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    That's a valiant thought but if they continue to average 1+ strikeouts per inning, they won't be winning very many of the remaining games.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    We don’t seem do agree on much Clark but your absolutely right on that. Very hard to win when you don’t put the ball in play

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Your point should be K’s with a high volume of walks are bad. K’s with a lot of walks are fine.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    K’s without it should have said

  • It’s hard to win without a reliable bullpen.

  • Gotta tip your hat to Yelich. He and Bellinger are on a different level in the NL, with maybe Bryant and Tatis just below.

  • 0 for 5 with 5 SO from the leadoff position. Enough. Instead of putzing around with batting whomever has a decent OBP, the Cubs need to go out and get a leadoff hitter. I keep hearing that it doesn't matter, and the Cubs keep losing. Another embarrassment tonight at the hands of what should be an inferior team.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Sorry, "only" 3 SO from the leadoff position. I've tried to be in the camp that says it doesn't matter and leadoff hitters aren't important. I have left that camp. The Cubs need a leadoff hitter. I have replaced the words "spark plug" in my vocabulary with "blow torch." This team needs a fire lit under its collective ass.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    The next post season that the Cubs compete in, that didn't have leadoff hitter will be their first.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    They haven't had a consistent, effective lead off hitter since Dexter Fowler in '16. That offense has never been the same since.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Agreed. And I'm still a fan of a RH 2 hole guy that can go the other way with the 1B having to hold the runner. 1st and 3rd no outs with your bangers coming up.

    It plays throughout a game and distracts the pitcher. Call it old school but it's stood the test of time.

  • 6 hits or less in 6 out of 11 games since the all star game.

    11 runs in 11 games since the all star break that scored on a hit other than a home run.

    9 walks in the 5 games on the road trip to date.

    Sure, say what you want about the bullpen, or Joe's unwilligness to let starters pitch -- but once again this offense is collapsing. There's just far too many flaws on this team to expect some nips and tucks around the trade deadline to expect things to really change.

  • fb_avatar

    Just reported Lester asked to be pulled was sick.

  • fb_avatar

    This lack of hitting has now been going on for a year. When Theo got here he said he wanted to cut out SO and get OBP hitters. It seems that we get on base but still SO at an alarming rate and still don’t have smart ABs. Rizzo gets on with no outs and Javy swings hard at the first pitch. I love Javy but trying to move him over or getting the right pitch would have been smarter. It’s not just Javy. I know Joe has been preaching that but it hasn’t sunk in yet. I’m not jumping off the cliff, but what if we traded one of the core 4? Who would it be? Something to talk about.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    As controversial as it may be, I’d be looking at trading Kris Bryant... he has appalling figures with RISP and he’s not going to be signing a long term deal... and I’d be looking for a couple of top 50 prospects in return... we need to look to the long term because budget constraints are not going to pay for a quick turnaround.

  • In reply to Hustlelikereed:

    Nope. That would destroy the cubs mojo.

  • In reply to Hustlelikereed:

    We're actually well into year 3 of this. Bryant is a Boras client going to free agency. He's their most valuable asset with 2 years of ARB remaining. Not on the cheap. But a value compared what he's going to cost for '22 and beyond.

    Not popular with most but the fact is they don't appear to be going anywhere with him. Unless should they get there a quick playoff exit is considered going somewhere.

    Then there's the reality that aside from Nico any other genuine position prospect is several years away at best.

  • Yelich is a stud. He gets big hit after big hit after big hit after big hit. He doesn't pad his stats in 10-0 games. Christian hits when it counts. Someone forgot to explain to him that there is no such thing as clutch.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I had no idea he was available when the Brewers snatched him. Figured he was part of the Marlins core moving forward. What the Cubs FO was thinking escapes me. Was he what he is today? No. But he was clearly an upgrade over what they have.

  • Why is Maddon riding Cishek so hard? The guy's arm must be ready to fall off from overuse. He's been increasingly ineffective because of it.

  • Had you told everyone in here that Hendricks and Lester would have given up 0 runs in their starts, we all would have assumed we would be 2-0.

    If you can’t finish it off, then you have no chance. It doesn’t matter who is back there now, they can’t get outs. Very disappointing and disheartening. These losses are ones that fragments teams and are difficult to come back from.

    I blame Javy. And I definitely trade KB. :-D

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Here the thing with Baez. His greatness will be determined by his success at fixing a glaring hole in his offense. He cannot be fully resppected as long as he refuses to take a walk, swinging at pitches that no one could hit with 3balls. Alli do that occasionally, Javy does it routinely. If he would like to be fully appreciated, Javy must fix that. That's not just Cubber and I saying it. It's baseball people from the full spectrum.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Javy is Javy. He isn’t going to change at this stage of his career.

    We lived with Heyward for 2 years because his defense is elite. Javy’s defense is elite at a much more important position. And he is a 280 hitter that can get you 35 HR’s a year. As frustrating as his lack of plate discipline is, he brings so much to the team.

    His issues are being highlighted right now because we are struggling so much offensively. If we were clicking, no one would be looking at his swings at balls in the dirt because the guy behind him would be picking him up.
    And right now, that ain’t happening.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    That’s sort of how I feel. Quit attacking the guy and quit calling him a unicorn. He’s a nice player who is super fun to watch. Let’s just appreciate him for what he is.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Again, why? I can live with Javy being Javy, but Baez can be the Micheal Jorndan of baseball. Jordan made the big assist, the defensive stop, hauled in the key rebound, and sunk the big basket. He did it in the regular and post season. And Micheal did it game after game, season after season, over and over and over again. I know in basketball a player is 1of 5 on the field compared to 1of 9, or 10 in the bastardized junior circuit. Still Javy could be the Jordan of baseball if he can harness all his skills.
    Michael Jordan accomplished this because he had the heart of a champion. Javier Baez could do that for baseball.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    And he could have just as much fun. Baez should just go for it.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Javy is probably best as a 6/7 hitter in his current development.

    We need him to hit 4 which shows our offensive deficiency.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    He's not Michael Jordan. He's Dennis Rodman.

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    Actually, he is Pippin. Javy should strive to be Jordan.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    No. He is not Pippen. Pippen was incredible. Baez is not the worst player in the league. He is not a unicorn. He is a very good player who we talk about too much. People expect too much out of him. He is Rodman--a very good player who we should be happy is on the team.

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    Rodman wasn't an offensive threat. The hand wringing about Javy is just ridiculous. He's one of the most dynamic players in the game. Some say the most. And includes a lot of opponents.

    The issues are at 2B, LF & CF.

    Nico could be the solution a 2B but he doesn't even have 250 professional PA's yet. Barring a major leap forward there are no answers for LF or CF at the moment.

    For all the talk of expiring contracts after this year once raises are handed out and they bring Hamels back (which they need to) they're all but back to where they are.

  • I consider Javier Baez a net loss for the Cubs because of selfish, egocentric play. He has little regard for the Cubs or his team mates by not taking a walk in a month. The first pitch swing at a ball 2 feet off the plate after Kris Bryant got on, was indicative of a selfish and brainless approach to the game. Please trade him after the season, or preferably now for blue chip prospects. Pittsburgh has a collection of outstanding young players that actually have an intelligent approach to the game. Others must have some to. Put together a team of generous, talented players to go with our tremendous starters and the Cubs would be worthy of watching.

  • In reply to Swarf:

    I agree with the over-agressive offensive approach, it makes me cringe as well. The rest of your post is one of the worst takes on a ballplayer I've seen in a long time. You are entitled to your own opinion.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    He always tries to play hot take/contrarian like when he was going crazy advocating for that Heimlich kid that apparently sexually abused a little girl. Later we got the Robel García will be the cubs savior hot take, and how prospect rankings shouldn’t be taken seriously. No Mlb team ended up touching heimlich with his makeup issues FYI. Some of these takes really shouldn’t be taken seriously. Anyone that has these types of severely biased thoughts about javy being a net negative or even close to that simply shouldn’t have their baseball opinion taken seriously. Some people can’t handle the bad moments over a 162 game season

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Losing the game after leading going into the eighth inning 10 times probably doesn’t qualify as bad moments over 162. They”only” did it 5 times last year. If they could score , I know the last 2 losses probably don’t happen.

    Not a consistent offensive team. Score a lot , then score zilch.

  • In reply to stix:

    The problem is you have to view it in a silo. When you have a 2 run lead in the 8th, you have to WIN those games whether it is 8-6 or 2-0. And a 1 run lead in extras. Doesn’t matter how many you score other than you have the lead and it is up to the pen to close it out.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Generally I agree with you but the offense needs to get more separation, more often. BP is on fumes due to excess use of Cishek and failures of most others. If Cishek didn’t need to pitch every game, the BP might be better.

  • In reply to stix:

    Good teams win low scoring games like that. The cubs regularly won games like that in 2016 and the brewers won the last 2 games despite their offense doing zilch. Gotta be able hold the leads especially when you get outstanding starting pitching like they’ve received the past 2 games

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Can’t disagree with your comment above. What I was commenting on was comment “bad moments over 162...”. The current team is having more than “bad moments”. They are not performing up to their own expectations let alone the fans.

  • In reply to stix:

    Agreed stix I don’t even mean to defend the offense at all too just way too inconsistent, and they don’t hit on the road. But going back to the 2017 NLCS it seems like this team loses a lot of battles of the bullpen type of games. This pen needs to do better against playoff lineups, and this offense just needs better hitters surrounding the big 4

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I also forgot how the one where the cubs overpay to trade Ian happ for Terrance gore

  • In reply to Swarf:

    Yet by overall contributions fWAR has him as #16 in overall value in baseball.

    Good to know sWARf has him so lowly rated.

  • So...at this point, how is this team all that different from the Jim Hendry era? Same Alles oder Nichts, completely home run dependent offense, same lack of situational hitting/awareness, same bullpen issues..all of the faces are different but the song remains the same.

  • In reply to JTWilson:

    When you get five hits Saturday and four Friday, there’s not much of a situation to hit in.

  • As a cub fan, the results so far this season have been frustrating. Said that, look at the payroll of this team. They are #3 in MLB. Milwaukee's payroll is $86 million less. The makeup of this team is on Theo. And various players have underperformed. Bullpen issues aside, the offense is not getting it done. Too many K's. Not moving runners over. And there is just about a zero speed component with this team on the basepaths. Zobrist is missed. Yes his results were not good this year so far, but he provided a professional at bat and will take his walks. Position players should be a strength on this team but to me players like Schwarber, Happ, Almora, have really underperformed. Maybe they are what they are. The team can play very well and is talented. If they can get in the playoffs they could make some noise. Heyward is having a nice year. Darvish is starting to pitch well. It's not like they are getting blown out, these are close games. Hamels coming back should help the rotation.

  • In reply to MoneyBall:

    Rotation is not the issue, unless you expect complete game shutouts. Offense is more the culprit than the rotation. No consistency unless you expect four to five hits a game, then they are very consistent.

  • In reply to MoneyBall:

    Two words for the current roster impasse:Jason Heyward. This guys contract is an albatross on the team. A proverbial anchor. Terrible contract. Opt out for him after 4 years? What a joke. Dude is average at best and never understood the signing. Theo has to cringe every time the cubs need something and he can’t do it because this dude sucked all the wiggle money. For everyone who thinks this guy is good take off the rose colored sun glasses. And he ‘s only a cub for the next 4 years!

  • I must admit that it is difficult to watch Cubs (or any) baseball these days, win or lose. I never thought I would tire of the home run, but I am. And the strikeouts!! While this style of play is nothing new for the Cubs (goes back decades), it is extremely boring to watch. Finally, the B/S umpiring (pun intended) makes me cringe.

    What to do: 1) deaden the ball, 2) lower the mound, 3) install robo-ump. I firmly believe that doing three things would amplify the innate skills of the players and make baseball enjoyable to watch again.

  • In reply to wthomson:

    Agreed, although I would amend point #1 to simply return the ball to it's former self.

  • Some interesting happenings going on in Iowa. Russell was sent down on Thursday (?) and arrived last night (Saturday), which is within the rules. He was scheduled to make his first start at 2B for the I-Cubs at 1:08 this afternoon but was a late scratch. Tommy Birch is reporting a source told him not to make anything of it, but circumstances are unclear.

    Could be nothing, could be something.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Sogard was just scratched from the lineup.

    ?

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Still in the dugout??

  • In reply to stix:

    Morosi “Sounds like a trade coming but not yet identified as to which team.” My take on what I heard.

  • In reply to stix:

    Sogard to the Giants.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Believe it is the Rays that landed Sogard.

  • In reply to kkhiavi

    I am pleased to feel your ire by presenting contrarian positions. I think, as a professional writer and podcaster, (check Swarf online) the value of the artform is to present reasoned and different points of view, and provoke thought and comment. I have been a little disappointed in the bloggers other than Jonathan Friedman who have been willing to comment much on my sometimes unconventional posts.

    Interesting you brought up Luke Heimlich. I saw Dayton Moore of Kansas City has gone on record saying Heimlich deserved an opportunity to play professional baseball. He was the top College pitcher in the country at Oregon State in 2018. A team that won the NCAA Championship. Several #1 draft picks off that team. He did go undrafted but is now playing professionally in the Mexican Leagues.
    My prediction. He will be a Major League pitcher eventually. Owners and GMs are sheep, but I think talent and tolerance will prevail.

    I ask you to watch Javy Baez with a critical eye today. I hope he will show the passion for his craft (hitting) and his team mates that Heimlich displayed at OSU.

  • In reply to Swarf:

    I’m aware of your profession I couldn’t find your website online and you’re entitled to your heimlich opinions. But saying javy Báez makes this team worse is just common sense poor analysis. That’s not insight or a debatable topic of conversation that’s just trolling.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I slept at a Holiday Inn Express last night :::shrugggg:::

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    To kkhiavi

    I will embrace the dictionary definition of trolling, “to systematically go over an area” with fondness.

  • In reply to Swarf:

    Happy there an unselfish javy AB where he didn’t try do too much. Started a rally but maybe we should send him to the minors for being a stubborn hacker lol

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Or in the immortal words of Ricky Vaughn, “you want me to drag him outside and kick the sh*t out of him?”

  • Lest we forget, Heimlich pled guilty to sexually molesting (at 15) his 6-yr-old niece by touching "her on both the inside and outside of the spot she uses to go to the bathroom".

  • In reply to wthomson:

    In reply.

    He did ultimately retract it.

  • In reply to Swarf:

    ...and from that we conclude....?

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