While you are reading the description of some of the horrific defense by both the Cubs and Brewers in Milwaukee's 6-1 win Monday night, I suggest you click here for appropriate background music. (You'll have to just read the descriptions, because Major League Baseball has decided to spare you actually having to watch them; not one of these plays shows up in the game's selection of video highlights.)
The teams combined for five errors, all of them in the first five innings (and there should have been a sixth, because I could not figure out how the official scorer didn't give Scooter Gennett an error on a ball that he had in his glove, then dropped; Welington Castillo will take the gift double, I suppose).
Just how bad were the errors? Let us count the ways.
- Starlin Castro fired a throw over Anthony Rizzo's head in the second inning; Norichika Aoki took second base on what would have been a tough play on a high chopper.
- Brewers shortstop Jean Segura returned the favor in the top of the third on a Ryan Sweeney grounder.
- Brewers catcher Martin Maldonado attempted a suicide squeeze with Caleb Gindl on third base. Edwin Jackson had no chance to get Gindl, but the out at first base should have been easy. Instead, Jackson threw the ball into right field and Maldonado wound up on second base. With all the errors, this was the only unearned run of the night.
- Luis Valbuena caught a line drive and attempted to double Maldonado off second. Continuing Jackson's theme, the throw went into right field, allowing Maldonado to advance.
- Aoki made a wild throw on the aforementioned double by Castillo.
After that, the teams settled down and played defense reasonably well while the Brewers were padding their lead off a parade of Cubs relievers. Gindl hit a two-run homer off Zach Rosscup to complete the scoring in the seventh inning.
The parade of relievers is another story, because Dale Sveum yanked Jackson after four innings. Jackson had little command, issuing three walks and throwing only 43 strikes in his 76 pitches. Jackson wasn't happy:
"It happens," Jackson said after he disagreed over Sveum’s decision to pull him for a pinch hitter in the top of the fifth inning with the Cubs trailing the Milwaukee Brewers 2-0 with a runner at second base. "I was caught off guard a bit. But that’s the nature of the game. He’s the manager. He can make the calls when he needs to." Sveum pointed out that Jackson already was at 76 pitches and felt he could try to at least have a better chance at getting Welington Castillo home from second with a pinch hitter at Miller Park, where the Cubs have played their share of wild games. "He wasn’t really happy being taken out of the game, and I understand that," said Sveum, who pointing his finger at Jackson as Jackson was headed from the dugout to the clubhouse after the top of the fifth as several coaches surrounded them. "That’s my decision, and I’ll leave it at that."
Video of the "talk" between Sveum and Jackson in the dugout showed Sveum pretty animated; it was reminiscent of a similar dugout "talk" between Ryan Dempster and Mike Quade two years ago in Washington. Read between the lines -- there doesn't seem to be much good coming from this. Len and JD also mentioned during the broadcast, that this was an opportunity to see some of the extra bullpen arms added during September. To that I'll only mention that the relievers were pretty ineffective -- four innings, six hits, four earned runs.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke decided to one-up Sveum by making a pitching change with two out in the ninth inning, after Donnie Murphy had walked. Seriously? With a five-run lead, Donovan Hand needed one batter's worth of work?
And if all that isn't bad enough, read this:
Oh no. #Brewers have staffers on top of dugout trying to start the wave at Miller Park— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) September 17, 2013
My position on the wave is well-known. It's stupid and fans shouldn't do it, in my opinion. But actual team staffers trying to encourage it? Shame on you, Brewers.
Finally, a plea. Please, WGN and CSN. Stop running this commercial. Please. Or at least stop running it 15 times a game. It's not summer any more. Even if I liked this product -- and I can't imagine why anyone would, it looks awful -- being incessantly bombarded with this ad pitch would make me stop consuming it.
That was an ugly game in front of the smallest announced crowd (24,464) to see a Cubs/Brewers game at Miller Park since May 2003, and it looked like maybe half that many were actually in the seats. The two teams will try to play better Tuesday night; Jeff Samardzija will face Marco Estrada.