Is There Anybody Out There--Cubs 10 Brewers 5

The Cubs won a key game in September against an important division foe, but I can’t help but feel a twinge of ‘please like my sport’z with the NFL’s annual dominance of the American sports landscape beginning once again. The Cubs played the Brewers on the same night as the Bears and Packers for the first time since 2014, and I am guessing more than a few turned in to watch a game in which the Cubs scored as much as both teams through the first three quarters. The expanded rosters helped make the Cubs game last nearly as long as the football game despite starting an hour earlier, but good things come to those who wait with the Cubs earning win number 76 on the season. And the Cubs suddenly can’t lose on the road.

WPA CHART

Source: FanGraphs

The Cubs had two runners on and two outs without putting a ball in play against Chase Anderson in the first inning. Willson Contreras ripped a two out double to score leadoff hitter Ben Zobrist for the game’s first run. The next seven batters in the ballgame between the Cubs and Brewers were retired with the Cubs hanging onto a 1-0 edge into the bottom of the second.

Ryan Braun broke the streak up by bouncing a groundball up the middle for the Brewers first base runner. Manny Pina advanced Braun to second on a groundout, but Hernan Perez hit a hanger out of the ballpark to flip the score. Jose Quintana seemed to lock back in retiring the next two Brewers to keep the score at 2-1.

Ben Zobrist and Kris Bryant each singled in the third inning against Chase Anderson, but a double play ball and a groundout kept the Cubs from tying the game. An error by Kris Bryant allowed Chase Anderson to reach first to lead off the bottom of the third. Lorenzo Cain hit a sharp single to really put the Brewers in business with no outs. Q punched out Yasmani Grandal for the first out. Christian Yelich bounced into a fielder’s choice for the second out, but Quintana lost Braun to a base on balls to load the bases. Manny Pina flew out to end the inning with the Cubs still down just one.

That wouldn’t remain the case for very long with Willson Contreras blasted a fourth inning leadoff homer to tie the game. The currently hot hitting Kyle Schwarber smacked a double immediately afterwards but Russell, Jason Heyward and Q made outs to keep the score level at two heading into the bottom half. Q looked to have made two quick outs, but an Addison Russell throwing error resulted in Orlando Arcia standing on second with one out instead of bases empty and no outs. Q bailed out his teammates once again by punching out Cory Spangenberg and then pinch hitter David Freitas.

Former Cubs farmhand Jay Jackson took over in the top of the fifth inning. Ben Zobrist drew his third walk since returning from the restricted list to start the frame. Castellanos bounced a single through the left side of the infield to create yet another scoring chance. Jackson punched out Kris Bryant swinging badly over the top of a low and away slider. Rizzo pulled a ball down the first base line that ricocheted off of the wall to turn into a bases clearing double. Jackson was able to record one more out but he walked Kyle Schwarber intentionally and then absolutely drilled Addison Russell on a 2-2 pitch. Jason Heyward had to face the only man who thinks Steve Cishek should stop taking it so easy. Alex Claudio punched out Heyward for the 31st straight at bat to end without a base hit.

The lead was short lived. Cain hit a single back up the middle to start the inning and Grandal hit a homer to dead center on a high fastball to tie the game before an out was recorded in the frame. Q retired Yelich for a third time and then worked around a two out walk to Tyler Austin and wild pitch to leave the game with the score level at four now.

Matt Albers was the next in a long line of pitchers to see the field in this critical Central division showdown. David Bote pinch hit for Q and reached on a busted bat infield single. Zobrist then hit a clean single into right. Albers struck out Castellanos but walked Kris Bryant to load the bases. Drew Pomeranz was summoned to face Anthony Rizzo and the lefty on lefty matchup produced a shallow fly ball that was deep enough to score the go ahead run. On the play Zobrist strangely wandered too far off second and Yelich could have thrown to second for an easy inning ending double play. Instead Bote’s run scored and that would become a much bigger play in a few moments. Willson Contreras hit an even softer infield single to keep the inning alive. Kyle Schwarber then absolutely murdered a ball for his second grand slam this season. The ball was such a no doubter that Christian Yelich remained firmly planted in his spot the entire, long flight of the ball.

Brad Wieck took over in the bottom of the sixth. He struck out Orlando Arcia, but then he yielded the third homer to the Brewers with Cory Spangenberg making it a 9-5 ball game. Wieck retired the next four batters to preserve the Cubs advantage. Jimmy Nelson took over and the Cubs managed a bunch of traffic over two scoreless frames. Jason Heyward led off the seventh inning with a seeing eye single and Willson Contreras eighth inning almost two out triple were the highlights.

Wieck pushed the game to the bottom of the seventh with two outs before being relieved for David Phelps. The righty walked Ryan Braun and was promptly removed when Eric Thames was announced as a pinch hitter next. Kyle Ryan walked Thames, but a Perez fielder’s choice ended the seventh. Ryan pitched a clean eighth inning to send the 9-5 game to the ninth inning.

David Bote launched a two out solo shot to extend the Cubs run total to ten and at least the Cubs offense could tie the Packers tonight. Derek Holland was given the ninth with the five run edge. He allowed one base runner helping to bulk up the Cubs run differential numbers for a night.

Random Reference
The Brewers are Superintendent Chalmers. Santa’s Little Helper is the Hernan Perez and Grandal go ahead blasts. Willie is Willy.

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  • fb_avatar

    Zo, Willson and Kyle--have a seat at your table.

  • Anyone who thinks Football is more exciting than Baseball can just watch tonight’s Bears/Packer game. That was drivel.

    Brewers are on the verge of being out of the WC race if they aren’t already.

    Schwarber the last 30 games is hitting over .300. Let’s hope he can keep it rolling. Now hitting .239 on the season.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Kyle’s numbers since the ASB .264/.358/.667 1.023 OPS 154 wRC+. Since 8/1 his BABIP has finally normalized raising his BA. Since 8/1 he has a 181 wRC+. Dude is on fire.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Schwarber is back! Back to where he was before his major knee injury and the org trying to make him into a leadoff. Kyle looks to be raking like 2015. Bam Bam!!!

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I sincerely hope your assessment is correct, and good for him if it's the real deal.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Defense was impressive on both sides. Packers secondary coverage was like a blanket all night. Who saw that coming?

    That said so few of the starters saw much time in the pre-season I think it'll take a couple weeks for the offense to find their stride. Regardless of that Mitch has to stop staring guys down. He should be getting past that by now. Call it a concern. But we also have to remember the guy only had one full college season. I think his best is still down the road.

  • Yelich not seeing Zobrist turned out to be a true game changer......

  • StL beat SFG. PHI lost to CIN. DoubleDip for the playoff Magic Number. The new Numbers.....

    Division: 26
    Playoffs: 20

    While ARZ is now technically the closest Wild Card pursuer, ARZ and PHI are for Countdown purposes tied since both have the same number of losses.

    StL is in PIT for a 3-game set this weekend. ARI visits CIN and PHI visits NYM, both 3-game sets this weekend.

  • I think it's time for a day off for Hayward!

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Yeah, hitting .120 for the last month with a 54 wRC+. Yikes.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Despite Heward' s recent slump, he seems like a valuable teammate. His defense in center has been solid and filled the much needed leadoff role for a good block of time. I'm anticipating a strong finish as well.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Don’t get me wrong, I like Heyward, he shouldn’t have been left in the leadoff spot that long. Whether that was a Joe decision, a Jed decision or a combination of both, it was the wrong one. As soon as his numbers started to fall he should have been moved. The refusal to put Bryant at leadoff when everything else was failing is baffling to me. Hopefully Heyward can bounce back low in the order.

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    In reply to TC154:

    Yeah, I’ve wondered why KB hasn’t gotten more consideration for leadoff. He’s among, if not the highest, OBP guy on the team. With his knee situation, I also wonder if being in a spot with less of an onus on hitting for power might benefit him.

  • In reply to John Winter:

    Kris said that he would prefer not to lead off, but would if asked. Idk it's a hole for sure.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Heyward was ok for about the first week leading off. His slash line leading off is .147/.252/.302 OPS .554. That is for 147 plate appearances. Once Maddon makes a decision it takes him way to long to admit it was the wrong decision and make the change.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I suppose. It was an important week tho because the Cubs were really gasping and they stayed hot for awhile after
    Jason stopped hitting. By this time Joe probably was hoping J-Hey would settle back in. Not many good options and leadoff could still a big issue going forward.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Adding Castellanos has helped hide the void.

  • They're all big series from here on out. That said the Crews season is literally on the line this weekend. Not going away without a fight. Should be some compelling baseball.

    No I didn't think Gentle Ben would make a major difference. I was wrong. Joe was right.Yes he'll need days off. Aside from that it's a good bet he'll be leading off the rest of the way. With Nick at Nite camped out in the 2 hole, Willson back and Kyle on a tear the lineup is looking very long and scary for opposing hurlers. And no shortage of bats that can do damage off the bench.

    September baseball that matters. Again. Let's enjoy it.

  • In reply to Cubmitted:

    I'm "enjoying," but can't help remembering that the Cubs dug themselves into the hole they are heroically trying to climb out of. Quintana's LAST victory, the 7-1 beatdown of the Brewers at Wrigley field, caused jubilation - and then the offense laid down and died for the rest of the series, allowing the Cardinals the lead the Cubs are trying to overcome.

    Like everyone else, I'm hoping the Cubs will stay consistently good for the rest of the season / playoffs. But, I've been fooled too many times by this bunch to let my expectations get too high. I should be: "Go! Fight! Win!" In reality, I'm more like: "Don't screw it up. PLEASE don't screw it up..."

  • In reply to Cubmitted:

    Very long gets interrupted every time KB hits. He’s below .200 for the last 15-20 games. Maybe he needs to sit and let someone else (Bote) play . Not sure if KB’s knee will get better but would hope a couple days off every week might help.

  • In reply to stix:

    Why would you sit Bryant? He has best obp on the team (I believe) with power and their best defensive 3rd basemen.

  • In reply to Cubmitted:

    You can't say you were wrong after 2 games. Wait at least 25 games to see if the sample size supports your theory.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    I'm being the cockeyed optimist. They've been erratic and all over the map this year. We're now in year 5 of September baseball that matters. None of us has ever seen this.

    Yes I wanted major changes at the trade deadline. Didn't happen.

    But some key additions may have been made. Might as well enjoy it. Get to the dance and anything can happen. One thing is certain. They don't have the burden of being the favorite.

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