If this recap headline reminds you of yesterday's, that's intentional.
The Cubs waited out an almost two-hour rain delay, took a 1-0 lead in the first inning and hit two home runs. One of those was a three-run homer by Reed Johnson, their first three-run homer in their last 27 games, since May 17 in Cincinnati. They lost that game, too.
And still, 67 games into the 2011 season, the Cubs have no three-game winning streak. They lost to the Brewers 9-5; Johnson's three-run homer came after a very long Milwaukee fifth inning where the Brewers scored three runs to take a 5-1 lead off Carlos Zambrano. Big Z was strong for the first three innings, but then threw a ton of pitches in the fourth and fifth as virtually every hitter in the Milwaukee lineup either ran long counts and walked, or ran long counts and then hit doubles, or so it seemed.
The Cubs did the right thing with the rain Wednesday night; it wasn't raining at game time, but radars showed a thin line of showers would apparently blow through in about 15-20 minutes. Instead, that line took nearly 45 minutes to clear the area around the ballpark, so play didn't start until 8:45.
Carlos Zambrano did one thing last night that was a rare occurrence: he walked leading off the fifth inning (and later scored on Johnson's home run, which, despite the call on WGN radio, did not land on the street; it rattled around the narrow aisle behind the last row of the left-field bleachers). In 696 career plate appearances, that is only the 10th walk Z has drawn.
A home run that did hit the street was hit by the Brewers' Rickie Weeks with one out in the eighth; it sailed high over left field at almost the same point that Johnson's did and made its first bounce on the north side of the street, then bouncing off a building before being snagged not by one of the Ballhawks, but by someone just walking by.
By the time that home run was hit, most of the announced 39,821 paid crowd (and seriously, that can't be right; there were at least three completely empty sections on each side of the upper deck as well as apparently unsold terrace reserved seats) had left. What remained was mostly fans chanting "Let's go Brewers!", which sounded... odd, although not out of place, as the Cubs didn't seem to be "going" anywhere. They managed a consolation run off Brewers reliever Kameron Loe to make it 8-5 in the last of the eighth, but Rodrigo Lopez coughed that right back at them in the ninth.
Three hours and two minutes of (mostly) bad baseball on a night where everything around seemed to be wet. Bleah. At least it wasn't cold. The Cubs will attempt once again to win this series this afternoon, in an interesting pitching matchup of former American League hurlers, Matt Garza and Zack Greinke. The game preview will post at 11 a.m. CDT.
Finally, I did want to mention briefly Tom Ricketts' comments to beat writers last night, which are being discussed in this FanShot, and you can continue to talk about that there. What did you expect him to say? That he was going to fire everyone? Or pose in the men's room like Mark Cuban? It sounded like the typical owner's "dreaded vote of confidence"; it also did sound like he was going to re-evaluate things at the end of the season. Anyone expecting quick firings -- you're not going to get them. I'm still hoping to get another sit-down session with him sometime soon.