I had another commitment for late this afternoon (thus the delay in today's recap), and so knew I was going to have to miss the last couple of innings of today's game.
When Ryan Braun homered off Jeff Samardzija in the first inning, I thought, "Hmmm. Didn't I see this game Friday night?"
It was all Brewers Sunday afternoon and they wound up crushing the Cubs 9-0, a near mirror-image of the pounding the Cubs put on Milwaukee Saturday afternoon. All three games were blowouts -- Milwaukee by six Friday, the Cubs by eight Saturday, the Brew Crew by nine Sunday. Let's see... carry the five... that means the Cubs' run differential took a -7 hit over the weekend and now stands at -18, second-worst in the N.L. Central (the Pirates, four and a half games ahead of the Cubs pending their night game against the Dodgers, are -34).
Apparently Anthony Rizzo had enough of this game after the fourth inning, because he was tossed for arguing after he was called out on strikes. Can't blame him, actually -- the Cubs looked like their minds were elsewhere? Could they have been? Well....
Several Cubs hoping for a quick win today in Mil so they make Game 7. (Me too). Before you freak out they said W is most important— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) June 1, 2014
I dunno. Could some of the Cubs been in a hurry to get to the United Center? Even if they were mostly joking about that, this game ran two hours and 18 minutes, the fastest game of the year (the Cubs have had just one other game this year run less than 2:30, this 2-0 loss to the Braves in Atlanta back on May 10.
Jeff Samardzija, who is well-known as a huge Blackhawks fan, seemed in a hurry to be yanked, too. He got hit early and hard and had his worst outing of the year and shortest outing of his career, the first time as a starter he has failed to get into the fourth inning. His ERA, which began the day leading the major leagues at 1.68, soared to 2.54... which is still good, but man, that was a bad start.
Manager Rick Renteria pretty much tossed in the towel after Rizzo was ejected; he had to move Mike Olt from third base to first, shift Emilio Bonifacio to third base, move Junior Lake from left field to center and put Chris Coghlan in the game. He also gave Welington Castillo the rest of the day off, probably a good idea on a hot day. With Luis Valbuena not available due to a minor abdominal problem, that left no bench at all, meaning Brian Schlitter had to bat for himself. (Maybe now can we have another bench player? Please?)
Naturally, Schlitter got a hit, the first of his big-league career -- in his first major-league at-bat, which will get him a line in the record books, and a 1.000 career batting average, at least for now. It was one of only three singles (the others by Lake and Nate Schierholtz) that the Cubs got off Kyle Lohse, who threw just 93 pitches in completing his first shutout of the season.
So the Cubs finish this long trip at 4-6, which, considering everything, isn't too bad, though once again, they failed to win a road series. That makes 14 consecutive road series that the Cubs have either split or lost.
The Cubs have also completed exactly one-third of the season at 20-34, which is a pace for 102 losses. It's gonna happen, as the saying goes, and just wait until Samardzija and Jason Hammel are traded. Also, for those of you who think the schedule's getting easier, consider this: against the top two teams in the N.L. Central, the Brewers and Cardinals, who also have the second- and fourth-best records in the National League, the Cubs are 8-10. They are 12-24 against everyone else, and that's who the Cubs will be facing for the next month. The Cubs are off Monday -- and we'll have plenty here, including some draft preview info, tomorrow. Tuesday it'll be Jake Arrieta against Zack Wheeler, as the Mets come to Wrigley to open a six-game homestand.
Cheer you up? I didn't think so. How about this: Let's go Blackhawks!