Brewers 5, Cubs 1: A Comedy Of Errors


The Cubs played their worst game of the year Saturday night. That's about all you need to know; if you dare, the details are below.

Despite the headline to this post, Saturday night's 5-1 Cubs loss to the Brewers wasn't very Shakespearean at all, unless you want to consider it more tragedy than comedy. And if you're a Cubs fan, you probably aren't laughing at this one, except ruefully.

So how did the Cubs err? Let us count the ways.

Starting the fifth inning, Alfonso Soriano made an error on a playable ball hit by Logan Schafer. After a walk and two groundouts, the second of which scored a run, Starlin Castro booted what should have been an inning-ending grounder by Norichika Aoki (in fairness, it wasn't a routine play and Aoki is fast, but Castro should have made the play). That scored another run, neither of which would have scored without the poor defense.

Fast-forward -- or maybe slow-forward, because it was the next inning -- Ryan Braun led off with a single, and Edwin Jackson struck out Rickie Weeks. Then Jackson got Jonathan Lucroy to hit a comebacker. Easy inning-ending double play, right?

Wrong, of course, or I wouldn't be writing it this way. Jackson did an excellent impression of Matt Garza and hurled the baseball far over the heads of Castro and Darwin Barney into center field. A well-executed squeeze bunt and a single brought in two more runs.

So that's four unearned runs, which were the difference in an otherwise close game; it appeared until the defense fell apart that Jackson was going to throw his best game of the young season. That's great, but it doesn't matter if you can't play defense, and once those kinds of things happen, teams that do that have a tendency to curl up and surrender. That's what happened to the Cubs; from the sixth inning on they had just two baserunners. Dave Sappelt doubled in the eighth, and Anthony Rizzo singled in the ninth.

This made a winner out of Hiram Burgos, who was making his major-league debut.

I should probably store that sentence somewhere, because I'm pretty sure you can remember many times when it's happened before, and it's likely to happen again; the only thing I'd need to change is the pitcher's name.

The good news, if there is any, about this game is that after 16 games, it's really the only one played this poorly overall. One-tenth of the season is gone, and if the Cubs have "only" 10 games like this all year, that's progress of a sort. Nevertheless, I'm sure the coaching staff went over this one with the players in great detail.

There's one more small good thing that happened Saturday night: the Cubs got a hit with a runner in scoring position; that wound up scoring the only run. (Baby steps.)

Here's a bit of Cubs-related news you might have missed: former Cubs prospect Hak-Ju Lee, now playing at Triple-A Durham in the Rays organization, suffered a serious knee injury Saturday and could be out for the year. I feel badly for Lee, who seemed on the cusp of a major-league career. (There's video at the link; it's not pretty. Travis Ishikawa, the baserunner, also appeared to be hurt.)

The Cubs will try it again Sunday in Milwaukee, with Scott Feldman facing Wily Peralta. The Cubs have now lost 16 of their last 18 in Miller Park, so a Sunday win would be unusual, if nothing else.

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