The headline of this recap of the Cubs’ 5-4 loss to the Brewers Friday night refers to the number of full counts run by pitchers on both sides.
19 batters — 13 Cubs and six Brewers — had a 3-2 count on them before they completed their at-bat. The last one wound up as a walk to Manny Pina in the bottom of the ninth with one out. An infield grounder followed to Kris Bryant; KB made an off-balance throw to first which put Pina on third, where he scored the winning run on a single by Orlando Arcia off Mike Montgomery.
That ended a frustrating game which the Cubs seemingly had many chances to put away, but didn’t.
The first three batters of the game all ran 3-2 counts, but only one — Kyle Schwarber — reached base. Three singles later, the Cubs had a 2-0 lead. So that was good! So was Kyle Hendricks’ pitching for the first four innings, but he got himself in trouble in the fifth. It looked like Kyle got squeezed on a couple of calls, but it wasn’t the umpiring that had him serve up a pair of two-run homers, one by Eric Thames, the other by Travis Shaw.
So the Brewers had a 4-2 lead heading to the sixth, and that’s when Javier Baez had another “Javy being Javy” moment.
Addison Russell led off the inning with a walk, but the next two hitters were out, one (Victor Caratini) on a called third strike on, what else, a 3-2 count.
That brought up Javy:
The most exciting player in baseball strikes again. pic.twitter.com/fotekrPASp— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 7, 2018
Javy’s triple into the gap in right-center scored Russell, and his helmet flew off his head as he went from second to third. That allowed the relay throw to third to hit Javy in the back of the head — fortunately, on one bounce, mitigating the impact — and Javy scored standing up with a look on his face that seemed to say, “What just happened?” “What happened” is what’s called a “Little League home run,” a player running around the bases as a combination of a hit and poor play by the defense.
It’s not clear whether that gave Javy a concussion or not. His actions after the ball hit him suggest “yes,” but he stayed in the game and seemed fine. Guess we’ll find out later today whether they put him through the concussion protocols after the game.
Anyway, Javy’s hitting and baserunning tied the game 4-4 and for a while, at least, Cubs relievers Brian Duensing, Pedro Strop, Justin Wilson, Steve Cishek and Carl Edwards Jr. kept the Brewers off the board. Wilson walked the bases loaded in the seventh after retiring the first two hitters easily. After that Cishek had to be summoned to strike out Lorenzo Cain to end the inning on a breaking ball that seemed to take forever to get to the plate.
I don’t know what to think about Wilson. Those walks were eerily reminiscent of last year, when Wilson couldn’t find the strike zone, almost at all. His small-sample-size walk rate this year (9.6) is almost as high as it was last year with the Cubs (9.7). On the other hand, Wilson actually had pretty good walk rates just prior to coming to the Cubs. In 161 innings from the beginning of 2015 through his time with the Tigers last year, Wilson walked 53, or 2.96 per nine innings. That would be perfectly fine — if he could get back there. It’s concerning.
Here’s a fun fact about C.J.:
2 pitchers in MLB history have 100+ career strikeouts and at least 3 times as many strikeouts as hits allowed.— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) April 7, 2018
Craig Kimbrel (778 K/256 H) &
Carl Edwards Jr. (158 K/50 H)
Edwards had a nice inning, striking out Ryan Braun and Shaw and making them look bad. He’s been solid so far this year. Hope that continues.
After tying the game in the sixth the Cubs had just one more baserunner, a one-out pinch double by Tommy La Stella in the ninth. But Matt Albers got out of the inning with strikeouts, and then the Brewers put together their winning rally against Montgomery, and this series is now tied.
Again, the jersey shouldn’t matter, but this is getting ridiculous:
2018 Cubs wearing road grays: 3-0
2018 Cubs wearing blue alts: 0-4
I’d like to suggest the Cubs wear the road grays for the two remaining games on this trip.
Saturday’s game will feature Yu Darvish starting for the Cubs and Zach Davies for the Brewers. Game time is 3:05 p.m. CT and TV coverage is on ABC7 Chicago. There will also be a national broadcast on FS1 (no blackouts).