Though it wasn’t known at the time, everyone could have left Wrigley Field after the second pitch of the game and the result would have been the same.
Lorenzo Cain smacked Jose Quintana’s second pitch, a fastball, into the left-field bleachers for a 1-0 lead. Since the Cubs managed just three hits (oddly, all doubles) and a pair of walks but could not score, that run was all the Brewers needed. They piled on for a 7-0 crushing of the Cubs that cut the Cubs’ division lead to two games.
Really, I could end this recap here and you’d probably be just as happy with hit, because the Cubs were simply never in this one, even when they got two runners on base in the bottom of the first inning trailing 3-0. Tommy La Stella struck out, that was the end of that. Ian Happ led off the third with a double, stranded. Javier Baez led off the sixth with a double, made it to third, but that was the end of that.
That double, incidentally, ended a long hitless streak for Javy:
Javier Báez last 20 plate appearances: 0 for 18 with BB, SF, 5 K— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) August 14, 2018
Here’s the potential good news about that:
By the way, Báez had a stretch of 19 plate appearances earlier this season where he went 0 for 18 with a SF.— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) August 14, 2018
He hit .366/.403/.683 in his next 50 games.
So, maybe Javy gets hot after this. Let’s hope so.
You know, Quintana’s outing wasn’t really as bad as it looked. Sure, he gave up three home runs... but other than that, he struck out five in five innings, and induced one inning-ending double play. Three bad pitches, those that went for the home runs by Cain and two by Ryan Braun, did him in.
There was a bit of extracurricular activity when Ben Zobrist was called out on strikes after Javy’s double in the sixth. The @CubsUmp Twitter account was silent on that pitch, though it appeared Zobrist might have a point. You rarely see him arguing, and Joe Maddon came out to protect Zobrist. Joe got himself tossed, about the only exciting Cubs thing that happened in this game.
Jesse Chavez threw two innings and allowed a run, a solo homer by Erik Kratz, and Jorge De La Rosa also threw a pair of innings and gave up a run. De La Rose didn’t allow a home run, though, so... good?
In the ninth, Addison Russell came in to play shortstop and Javy moved to second, and it appeared at the time that it was just giving Zobrist a break. That turned out not to be true:
Zobrist is talking to Cuzzi again at home plate. #Cubs— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) August 14, 2018
Apparently the magic words that got #Cubs Zobrist tossed were when he told Cuzzi the bad call was why players want an electronic strike zone— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) August 14, 2018
I certainly can’t blame Zobrist for feeling that way; it didn’t rate an ejection, in my opinion, but Phil Cuzzi has been noted in the past for having a quick trigger on ejections.
These kinds of games happen. The Brewers were certainly ready for everything Quintana threw at them, and the Cubs were simply flat against Jhoulys Chacin.
And yet, the Cubs still have a two-game lead in the N.L. Central, and still are four games up in the loss column. I know it doesn’t feel very good after a defeat like that, but the Cubs’ position is still pretty good, regardless.
Honestly, I don’t have much more to say about this one. This didn’t seem to help much:
Perhaps the lessons from the meeting will be put in place Wednesday.
If the Cubs can win Wednesday’s game and come out of this series with a split, that’s a perfectly satisfactory resolution. There is a chance of rain Wednesday, so there’s that to contend with as well. Kyle Hendricks is scheduled to go for the Cubs and Junior Guerra will start for the Brewers. Game time again is 1:20 p.m. CT and TV coverage Wednesday will be via WGN.