The Milwaukee Brewers are like your little brother constantly saying “LOOKIT LOOKIT LOOKIT” and then you eventually lookit and get distracted from what you’re supposed to be doing.
The Cubs took the lead again early Sunday. In fact, they had the lead in all four games of this series, and scored first and had 3-0 leads both Saturday and Sunday, but then couldn’t add to that lead and Jon Lester couldn’t keep the ball in the ballpark. That, unfortunately, led to the Brewers annoying the Cubs to a frustrating 6-5 loss, their third straight defeat.
Things did look good early. With one out in the first inning, Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras walked and that brought up Kyle Schwarber [VIDEO].
The next hitter was Steven Souza Jr., getting the start in place of Jason Heyward, sitting with some back problems. Souza came through [VIDEO].
So five batters into the game, it’s 3-0 Cubs. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, you know the answer to that. The Cubs stopped hitting and the Brewers started. Lester was touched for a three-run homer in the third by Keston Hiura and a two-run shot in the fifth by Orlando Arcia, and I swear if Arcia could play against the Cubs all the time he’d be a perennial All-Star.
About the best thing you can say about Lester’s outing is that he didn’t walk anyone and ate up six innings, important with the doubleheaders coming up later this week.
This is what Josh Lindblom did to the Cubs after the first inning:
The Cubs' lineup has gone 1-for-14 with 8 strikeouts vs. Lindblom since having four batters reach in a row in a 3-run rally in the first inning.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) August 16, 2020
That brought us to the sixth, and the Cubs loaded the bases on two hit batters and a walk. David Bote had a chance with the bases juiced, but struck out. Jason Kipnis, though, came through [VIDEO].
That little bouncing ball avoided all the Milwaukee infielders and tied the game at 5. Unfortunately, that lead lasted only a few minutes. Jason Adam entered for his Cubs debut and Arcia greeted him with a ball that Ian Happ turned the wrong way on and then just missed on a diving attempt. It landed for a triple and moments later Ryan Braun drove him in with the lead run. About that effort by Happ, though:
For everyone upset with Ian Happ on the triple in the seventh inning, keep this in mind: Ball was ripped (101.8 MPH EV) and the xBA on that ball is .560. Not the prettiest play, but that's a hit almost 60% of the time. #Cubs— Russell Dorsey (@Russ_Dorsey1) August 16, 2020
Here’s a bit of good news from this defeat: Craig Kimbrel threw the eighth inning completely without incident, striking out two of the three batters he faced. It’s the first time in six appearances this year that Kimbrel has not allowed a baserunner. So that’s good — the Cubs are going to need Kimbrel to be “good Kimbrel” going forward. His last two outings have been a vast improvement over the first four.
In the ninth, Bote worked a good nine-pitch at-bat off Josh Hader and then was called out on strikes and no, sorry, pitch 9 was not a strike, plate umpire Jordan Baker:
Baker, who is the tallest umpire in MLB history at 6-7, missed a lot of calls in this game. I have to wonder if his height makes it difficult to see parts of the strike zone.
Then Javier Baez, pinch-hitting, dribbled a ball down the first-base line and at first appeared to dive under Hader’s tag at the base for a hit, but the call was overturned on review.
Nico Hoerner then put together a really good 13-pitch at-bat before hitting a ball just a little bit too hard to center field, where Avisail Garcia snagged it to end the game.
The Cubs had only two hits after the first inning, a fourth-inning single by Happ (who was thrown out trying to steal) and Kipnis’ two-run single in the sixth. The Cubs also ran themselves out of the seventh after Anthony Rizzo reached on an error with one out. Willson Contreras struck out and Rizzo was caught stealing. That didn’t seem like a designed play, rather, perhaps someone missed a sign.
Monday, the Cubs will host the Cardinals for a doubleheader at Wrigley Field beginning at 4:15 p.m. CT. A reminder: Both games will go seven innings (barring extras) and the Cardinals will bat last in Game 2. Despite that, for statistical purposes the Cubs will be the “home” team for both games, and all games at Wrigley this year. So, since they’re making up three COVID-19 postponements in St. Louis at Wrigley (two this week, one next month), the Cubs will play 33 home games this year, but bat last in only 30 of them.
In Game 1, Kyle Hendricks will face Kwang-Hyun Kim. Game 2 starters are TBD as of the time of this recap. TV coverage for both games Monday is on Marquee Sports Network.