The Cubs have received good pitching in this series against the Brewers, and not just starting pitching -- they've allowed just five runs in the two games so far, and this to a Brewers team that was in the top half of run-scoring teams in the National League going into this series and that was near the league lead in home runs.
One Brewer connected off Carlos Zambrano -- Prince Fielder -- and that would have been enough to win the game, as the Cubs could not score off Zack Greinke and three Milwaukee relievers; the Cubs lost their second straight, 2-0, after posting a three-game winning streak for the first time this year by sweeping the Astros last weekend.
The Cubs never really came close to scoring, despite a warning-track fly ball by Aramis Ramirez with a runner on base in the eighth inning. That ball was run down by Ryan Braun in front of the well-lit out-of-town scoreboard on the left field wall.
There were rumors flying during Wednesday afternoon that the Cubs were trying to interest the Yankees in Big Z and the New Yorkers essentially saying, "No, thank you." Would a game like this rekindle interest? Or would the Cubs rather keep Big Z? I'd vote for the latter. Eventually, and probably sooner than you think, this team is going to contend again and Zambrano, just 30 years old, could be a big part of that.
Kerry Wood returned to the team Wednesday night after a day back in Chicago because he wasn't feeling well. That's good, as he threw a solid inning and the team really needs that. Not that this team is going anywhere, but I'd like to see Wood regain the form he had in his last two months of 2010 with the Yankees. Again, Wood isn't that old -- 34 -- and could re-sign next season and be a solidifying force in the bullpen.
Seriously, what more can you say about a game where your team had four hits and had just one runner first base (Carlos Pena, who doubled)? The Cubs were shut down by a really good pitcher -- a pitcher they had hit hard at Wrigley Field in June. But the Brewers are very, very tough at home, with the best home record in the National League at 35-14. So it appears to be somewhat of an upset that the Cubs won the one game they did in Miller Park this year, back in April. Maybe they can take Thursday's series finale. I'll be in Miller Park; stop by section 104 to say hi if you're there.
The only significant thing that happened in Wednesday night's game was the Brewers' Rickie Weeks suffering a serious ankle injury and having to leave the game in the second inning; he looks like he's going to be out for a while, which could be a serious blow to the Milwaukee offense, especially if he's going to be replaced on any sort of long-term basis by Craig Counsell, who is hitting .156, is 0-for-his-last-37 and hasn't had a hit since June 10. Maybe the Cubs could offer them Blake DeWitt. At least that would get DeWitt out of left field for the Cubs. Mike Quade's fetish for putting DeWitt in left field is kind of like Dusty Baker continuing to start Neifi Perez all those games when he couldn't hit. Jim Hendry finally stopped that by trading Neifi to the Tigers (and sending him to the World Series; I hope Hendry got a Christmas gift, or at least a thank-you note).
I'm rambling, I know. The game was kind of a ramble, too. So has this season been. The Cubs will try to salvage one game from this series Thursday afternoon. Ramble on.