Bleah, and Open Thread: Cubs vs. Brewers, Wednesday 4/25, 1:20 CT

Miserable.

That describes both the Cubs' performance in their 4-1 loss to the Brewers last night, as well as the deteriorating weather conditions; it started off just cloudy and cool, with a pretty strong wind blowing in from right field. The wind was strong enough only to keep deep drives from Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee barely in the park for doubles, not strong enough to push back yet another HR from Prince Fielder, who has now hit seven of his 35 career HR against the Cubs. Mike mentioned that he had personally seen three two-HR games from Fielder before last night; I guess that makes it an accomplishment for the Cubs to keep him to only a solo job. Instead, Kevin Mench hit the other Milwaukee HR of the night.

By the seventh inning a steady light rain had begun falling, a rain that turned into a drenching downpour as the eighth inning ended, making Mike, Jeff and me all wonder why the umpires, likely wanting to head downtown for dinner, wouldn't have called it off. I hadn't seen it rain that hard and play continue since the famous Typhoon Game of 2003. All playing through the 9th inning accomplished was the unintentional humor of Mench slipping and falling while trying to corral Mark DeRosa's long drive, which, instead of being the final out, drove in Daryle Ward, who had walked, with a consolation run, ending 17 consecutive scoreless innings for the Cubs.

Rich Hill didn't pitch too badly -- the two HR were really his only mistakes -- but, obviously, not well enough to win when his teammates spent the day getting pretty much everyone on base (nine hits and two walks) and then getting pretty much everyone erased on double plays (three of them turned by the Brewers). As I noted in last night's game thread, Jeff Suppan had been hit hard by quite a number of the Cubs. They continued that last night; unfortunately, most of the hard-hit balls were hit right at Brewer fielders, including a screaming line drive with Michael Barrett on second base by Mark DeRosa, caught by Rickie Weeks and turned into an easy double play. It's easy to say that Barrett should have stuck to the base, but the ball looked like it was going to get through and Weeks made a fine play on it.

There's not much more to say. The team isn't playing that badly -- if last night's loss had occurred, say, after a six-game winning streak, I think we'd all be saying, "Well, stuff like that happens. We'll get 'em tomorrow." But after two losses like Sunday's and Monday's, to have a game like last night's magnifies every flaw, every misplay, every missed opportunity and, I believe, makes things look far worse than they really are. 7-13 is a bad record, absolutely. Six games out of first place, three weeks into the season, is a bad place to be. I could run down lists of teams that have started off poorly and come back and made the postseason, but I did this last year and... well, there was a firestorm here, so I won't do it. All I'll say is that it does happen, and this team is not nearly as bad as it's looked the last few days.

Oh, and that "Wade Miller has back spasms" thing, so he had to go to the DL? He was in left field doing long-toss for a good 30 minutes before the game, looking healthy. Obviously, the DL thing was a ruse, just somewhere to put him while they figure out whether they're going to ask him to go to Iowa, or just outright release him.

Attendance, announced as 34,382, a bit larger than Monday night, was again about 20,000-22,000; our section was mostly empty, except for the usual people hanging in the first row thinking they're going to catch a HR ball there (haven't seen it at all since the new bleachers were constructed, although a ball clanged loudly into the section about six rows in front of me during BP last night, hit by one of the Brewers), and a twentysomething couple who had driven up from Bloomington, where they said it was 70 degrees when they left, explaining why the guy of the couple had shown up in shorts. They stuck it out till the end of the 8th (making sure they asked us when beer sales were cut off) and then left, blanket and BCB card in hand.

Today's weather forecast is pretty awful:

Today: Periods of showers, mainly before 1pm. High near 52. Breezy, with a east northeast wind around 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%.
But, it appears there may be enough of a break in the rain to play, unfortunately. The Cubs could use the day off to regroup, and the two clubs have common off days on June 28 and August 27, the days before the Brewers' next two visits to Wrigley Field. If they had an ounce of sense, they'd call the game now, and reschedule it for one of those summer dates, both for better weather and the fact that instead of today's "value date" pricing, they could sell tickets at the summer "premium date" pricing.

But having played through a monsoon last night, I'm thinking they'll probably press on and play this afternoon, with this pitching matchup:

Today's Starting Pitchers
Ted Lilly
T. Lilly
Cubs
vs. Ben Sheets
B. Sheets
Brewers
1-2 W-L 1-2
2.42 ERA 5.00
30 SO 12
5 BB 5
1 HR 4
vs. Mil -- vs. Cubs
That looks backwards, doesn't it? Shouldn't Sheets be dominating the league (5 BB, 30 K, 2.42 ERA) and Lilly be struggling (5.00 ERA, 4 HR allowed)?

Assuming they do go ahead and play today, the Cubs need this game very, very badly, before a key series in St. Louis this weekend. I'm not going to add to the doom and gloom. Just win.

Lucky for some of you, last night's game got shifted to CSN+, so you didn't have to witness the failure. Not so today -- it's bad, it's nationwide, on WGN, FSN North in Wisconsin, and the Mediacenter.

MLB.com Gameday

If the game does get called, I'll post an update at the top of this post.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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