Do you suppose the Brewers are now happy that they had to play this rainout makeup game in Chicago this afternoon?
It was gorgeous at Wrigley Field, 83 degrees and sunny with light winds off Lake Michigan, and then the Cubs played what has to be their ugliest game in what’s been a frustrating season. It was over after a seven-run Brewers third inning which included three consecutive walks by Cubs pitching, including two with the bases loaded.
The Brewers won 11-2, and the only real entertainment had by Cubs fans was watching outfielder (announced as “lefthander”) Jon Jay pitch the ninth inning:
Look at some of these speedy pitches Jay threw!
No, I do not think most of those were curveballs. And 46 miles per hour must be the slowest pitch anyone’s thrown in a big-league game this year. Heck, I can almost throw that fast — last time I tried a speed-pitch game I threw about 40 miles per hour. The hitters must have been laughing so hard at Jay’s “stuff” that they couldn’t help but make outs, though Domingo Santana singled off him. Here’s Jay retiring Yadiel Rivera to end the inning:
Jon Jay takes to the mound in the 9th for the Cubs, and retires Yadiel Rivera to complete a scoreless frame against the Brewers!!! #ThatsCub pic.twitter.com/V2b4spxyUx— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB) July 6, 2017
Here’s how that all came about:
#Cubs Maddon asked Jay if he could pitch in 5th. It was between Jay and La Stella— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) July 6, 2017
Either way, it injected some fun for the maybe 10,000 or so who stuck around out of a capacity crowd at the ol’ ballyard. Jay even got a break from plate umpire Eric Cooper, according to this:
Call helps #Cubs— Cubs Strike Zone (@CubsUmp) July 6, 2017
Strike 1 should be ball 2
Top 9 Jay vs Santana
6% call same
3.1in from edge pic.twitter.com/ad3LqSMvAt
A couple more fun facts about Jay’s pitching:
Jon Jay: first starting leadoff man to pitch since Aaron Miles (Cardinals) 8/3/2010. First #Cubs player since Doug Dascenzo 7/2/91— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) July 6, 2017
Last #Cubs position player lefty to pitch: Doug Dascenzo (4 times 1990-91) @LenKasper— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) July 6, 2017
Willson Contreras produced the only real offensive highlight for the Cubs with this one-out homer in the fourth:
Willson Contreras lifts a solo home run to center, his 11th of the season, to cut the Cubs' deficit to 9-2 in the 4th!!! #ThatsCub pic.twitter.com/coCEvTerKM— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB) July 6, 2017
At the time it was 9-2 Brewers and the most optimistic of Cubs fans might have thought that maybe, just maybe, the Cubs could come back and win this one, similar to what they did in this 2008 game or this 1989 game.
Both of those Cubs teams were 90-plus victory division winners. More and more, it’s looking like this year’s team isn’t going to be. They look good one day, as they did Wednesday, and then have a stinker like this one.
Mike Montgomery, as he has other times, did not trust his stuff. He ran long counts on several hitters, and when he wasn’t walking people, he was getting hit hard. Same for Jack Leathersich, in his Cubs debut, which could be his Cubs swan song, as he was horrific. I’m assuming the Cubs will send him back Friday and bring up someone else for the weekend.
If the Cubs are to do anything this year, and numbers-wise there’s still time, with a 4½-game deficit and 77 games remaining, they will need to do some soul-searching as well as exploring the trade market. At this point I’m thinking they shouldn’t do anything unless it helps the club beyond 2017, meaning if they deal for a starting pitcher, it shouldn’t be a rental. Or maybe they shouldn’t be thinking about deals at all.
Other than that, I don’t have a whole lot to say about this game. I will have another article coming up soon about Kris Bryant — who, along with Anthony Rizzo, left the game in the sixth — not making it to the All-Star Game, with the selection of Justin Turner in the Final Vote.
Friday afternoon, the Cubs open a three-game series against the Pirates at Wrigley. Eddie Butler goes for the Cubs and Trevor Williams for Pittsburgh. Hopefully, the Cubs will play better than they did Thursday. It could, as you surely know, hardly be worse.