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Brewers 14, Cubs 4: So much for that bullpen ERA

A close game got ugly in the eighth inning.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Did you read Sara Sanchez’ “The Cubs’ bullpen has been absolutely outstanding this year” article late Monday?

Well, that wasn’t well-timed.

Before I get to the utter meltdown that was the Cubs’ 14-4 loss to the Brewers, I want to note the MOST ridiculous part of the 10-run eighth inning by Milwaukee hitters.

Maybe you missed it as the TV broadcast was going to commercial as the inning ended, or maybe you had turned the game off by then.

Umpires inspected Eric Sogard’s glove and cap for foreign substances. No, really:

Marquee Sports Network

I mean, Sogard and plate umpire Jeff Nelson laughed about it, but seriously, a position player entering the game to finish up a blowout has to be inspected for foreign substances? I guess the rule states they have to check everyone, but ... come on, use some common sense, people.

This game started out well. Joc Pederson led off the game with a walk and Ian Happ sent a baseball out of the yard [VIDEO].

Kyle Hendricks, though, had something of a shaky first inning and the Brewers tied the game. The Cubs managed to load the bases on a single by Hendricks (!) and a pair of walks in the second, but could not score.

Hendricks served up a home run to Avisail Garcia that made the score 3-2 Brewers in the third, and Milwaukee scored another run in the sixth. That one was in part because Jose Lobatón is still on the Cubs roster. Jace Peterson singled with one out and stole second. Seven runners have attempted steals off Lobatón this year and all seven have been successful. I simply do not understand why Tony Wolters is not on the roster as backup to Willson Contreras. Here, I’ll give you a look under the hood of BCB, I’ve even pre-written an article about a Wolters-for-Lobatón roster swap. Here’s the headline that will be seen here if and when this move actually happens:

I figure, that way when it happens, I’m ready to go. But it hasn’t. The Cubs need to make this move now, in fact, they needed to do it last week.

Anyway, Peterson, now on second base, scored on a single to make it 4-2 Milwaukee.

This did not seem like a good situation for the Cubs, as the Brewers have late-inning relievers who have been just about as good as the Cubs’ have so far this year.

But the Cubs came back. Lobatón walked with one out in the seventh, just the second time he’s reached base in 12 plate appearances for the Cubs (both on walks).

Patrick Wisdom then batted for Hendricks [VIDEO].

That ball, as Boog said, was crushed!

Andrew Chafin threw a scoreless seventh, allowing one single, and then the wheels fell off.

Ryan Tepera, who’s been nearly as good as Chafin this year, simply did not have it. Neither did Trevor Megill, recalled because Tommy Nance threw 44 pitches Sunday. I’m a little concerned about Tepera, because he has allowed seven runs in his last four outings covering just three total innings, with five walks. An IL stint, perhaps, in his future? I’d guess Megill heads back to Iowa after this game following a 20-pitch outing (and he threw 20 for Iowa Sunday), although there doesn’t appear to be anyone on the 40-man roster who’s eligible for recall unless there’s an injury, so...

The bottom of the eighth lasted 37 minutes, which helped make a game that was already dragging run a total of 3:43. I’ll spare you details of the carnage and simply post these statistical notes:

The Cubs bullpen collectively led MLB with a 2.67 ERA entering Monday’s game. That bullpen ERA is now 2.95 and the Cubs have fallen to second behind the Padres (2.85). Also, that bullpen ERA includes three scoreless appearances (2⅓ innings) from Sogard.

The good news, such as it is, is that this only counts for one loss. The bad news is that the loss dropped the Cubs four games behind Milwaukee in the NL Central and increases the sense of urgency to win the final two games of the series.

That will not be an easy task. Zach Davies starts for the Cubs Tuesday. It will be his first start against the Brewers, for whom he pitched for five seasons (2015-19). Brandon Woodruff is scheduled to start for Milwaukee. Game time is again 7:10 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.