Jim Deshaies perhaps said it best on the TV broadcast of the Cubs' 4-2 loss to the Brewers: games like this are why you shouldn't bet on baseball.
Consider: Kyle Hendricks came into the game with a career 1.49 ERA (seven starts) against the Brewers and an 0.49 ERA (three starts) in Miller Park. Chase Anderson, meanwhile, had an 8.88 ERA in his last five starts and had allowed seven home runs in his last 19⅓ innings.
No-brainer, right? Well, for seven innings it was for Anderson, who no-hit the Cubs until Ben Zobrist led off the eighth inning with a double to the center-field wall.
It didn't start out that way. A few more feet on baseballs hit by Cubs in the first inning and they might have had an early lead. Dexter Fowler hit a fly ball to deep center field that was caught by Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and after an infield popup, Kris Bryant launched this ball to the deepest part of Miller Park:
Credit to Nieuwenhuis for an outstanding catch. It's hard to tell from the video whether the ball would have been a home run; I tend to think it would have hit off the top of the wall for extra bases. Instead, it ended the inning and the Cubs went down pretty meekly for the next six frames.
Meanwhile, Hendricks was throwing pretty well, matching zeroes with Anderson through three innings, except for a second-inning walk and third-inning single. In the fourth, though, one of Hendricks' pitches laid flat in the zone with no movement and Jonathan Lucroy launched it into the seats in left for a 1-0 Brewers lead.
Hendricks got into trouble again in the sixth. A leadoff walk and a single brought Ryan Braun to the plate, and he singled in a run. One batter later, Chris Carter doubled in a pair, and that wound up completing the scoring. Hendricks was lifted by Joe Maddon, and Trevor Cahill entered the game. Credit to Cahill, who's been shaky at times this year, for throwing 2⅔ scoreless innings, retiring all eight hitters he faced, three by strikeout. That not only had to be a good confidence-builder for Cahill, but helped save the bullpen for the rest of the series.
Amusingly, before that Brewers' three-run rally in the sixth, Miguel Montero had walked to become the Cubs' first baserunner of the night. With two out and no one paying attention to him, Montero stole second base -- and stood there grinning. It was just the fourth steal of Montero's career in 13 attempts. But Dexter Fowler struck out, stranding Miggy.
After that, attention was focused on Anderson as he tried to complete not only a no-hitter, but throw his first career big-league complete game.
Zobrist took care of any chance of the Cubs being no-hit for the second time in less than a year with this blast on Anderson's 88th pitch of the night, the first pitch he threw in the eighth inning:
But Zobrist, like Montero, was stranded.
Thus it came down to the ninth inning to see if Anderson could complete his shutout. Jason Heyward took care of that with this long home run [VIDEO], his first as a Cub. Two pitches later, Bryant made the score 4-2 [VIDEO] with his seventh homer of the season.
That made things interesting. With the tying run on deck, it became a save situation and Anderson appeared to be done, so Craig Counsell summoned his closer, Jeremy Jeffress. Jeffress struck out Anthony Rizzo to end it.
Give Anderson credit. The Cubs just seemed flat after the long outs in the first inning. But also give the Cubs some credit for not lying down in the ninth and at least making it interesting. The loss gives the Cubs their second two-game losing streak of the season and after 37 games, the Cubs' loss column is now in double digits. However:
Fact: The Cubs still have not lost on consecutive days.— Cubs No-Hit Streak (@CubsNoHitStreak) May 18, 2016
I suppose you can chalk this one up to "because baseball," as even the best teams are going to lose at least 60 or so games in a season. In this one, the Cubs just ran into a pitcher who hit all his spots, and Cubs hitters didn't display their usual patience, with only one walk. That does, incidentally, mean the Cubs have walked at least once in all but one game this year so far. (April 5, a 6-1 win over the Angels, is the only walkless Cubs game in 2016.) This dropped the Cubs' walk-per-game average to 4.95, and the season pace to 801.
They'll try it again tonight in Milwaukee. John Lackey will start for the Cubs, and Jimmy Nelson for the Brewers.