“Yeah, what happened in the Cubs game this afternoon? I missed it.”
“They scored seven runs in the first inning!”
“Why, that’s fantastic! So they won, right? RIGHT? Hello? HELLO? I think our connection dropped....”
Yes, the Cubs scored seven runs in the first inning in Milwaukee Wednesday afternoon. By the time this extremely long game was over, the Brewers beat the Cubs by more than that, winning 15-7. All three games in this series went at least 3:40 and this one was the longest at 3:47.
Really, this is all you need to know about this game:
Today's Cubs-Brewers game is the first game in the modern era to have both teams lead by 7+ runs within the first 4 innings.— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) June 30, 2021
There are some actual Cubs highlights from this game — all in the first inning — and by gum, I am going to show you all of them.
Willson Contreras and Patrick Wisdom singled, and after Joc Pederson walked, the Cubs had the bases loaded with nobody out against Aaron Ashby, who was making his MLB debut.
Pederson took third and Jake Marisnick batted next [VIDEO].
One out later, Eric Sogard laid down a perfect bunt to make it 4-0 [VIDEO].
Then Sogard and Marisnick executed a double steal, and a wild pitch brought Marisnick home to make it 5-0 [VIDEO].
One out later, two walks — including one to Jake Arrieta, who got to bat before he got to pitch — loaded the bases for Patrick Wisdom [VIDEO].
Wisdom’s second hit of the inning made it 7-0 and he was smiling big-time. So were most Cubs fans. They couldn’t possibly blow THIS BIG a lead. Could they?
Sigh. How long have you been a Cubs fan? Doesn’t matter, you have known failure (unless you’re new to the team since 2016). I will spare you the carnage, only say that Arrieta couldn’t get guys out, Rex Brothers couldn’t get guys out, Tommy Nance couldn’t get guys out and Adam Morgan couldn’t get guys out. Those pitchers combined to throw 5⅔ innings, allow nine hits, seven walks and all 15 Milwaukee runs.
Three other Cubs pitchers managed to not allow runs, so they should be saluted: Keegan Thompson (one-third of an inning, two hits and a walk allowed), Brad Wieck (two walks allowed) and Eric Sogard (one hit allowed). Oh, yeah, that was mucho fun, seeing Sogard pitch for the second time in this series. Look, he throws “sliders” and gets guys out!
Trust me, those aren’t sliders. Slow pitches like those from position players pretty much flummox the algorithms at Gameday, so I present that for your amusement. With all the position players pitching these days, maybe the coders at MLB need to think up different descriptions for position-player pitches. You know, maybe “weirdball” for those “sliders.” Or “junk” when a position player throws a 50 mile per hour “fastball.”
Anyway, Sogard’s strikeout of Daniel Robertson was one of nine K’s for Cubs pitchers in this game, and since this was Sogard’s fourth (!) pitching appearance of the season, maybe we should consider him part of the staff since he’s now pitched more games than six actual pitchers for this year’s Cubs (Kohl Stewart, Kyle Ryan, Shelby Miller, Pedro Strop, Robert Stock and Adam Morgan). Also, this:
Appearances in the past 7 days for the Cubs:— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) June 30, 2021
Craig Kimbrel -- 1
Eric Sogard -- 2
Gallows humor aside, there is one more thing you should know about from this game, in case you missed it (and hopefully you did). In the second inning, with the Brewers having already trimmed the Cubs’ lead to 7-3, Tyrone Taylor hit a ball down the third-base line that Arrieta fielded. Then this happened [VIDEO].
Wisdom had to leave the game and that left Taylor Gushue, just called up for this game to be the backup catcher, playing first base. This doesn’t sound promising re: Wisdom, either:
Cubs say INF Patrick Wisdom exited with a left eye contusion and tightness on right side of his neck.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) June 30, 2021
No signs of concussion now, but Wisdom will continue to be monitored.
Remember the old saw about “fighting with one hand tied behind your back?” That’s what this series felt like with Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant down for most of it, and then with injuries to Wisdom and Jose Lobatón the last two days, it felt like the Cubs were putting mostly a Triple-A lineup on the field against Milwaukee.
One more “you have got to be kidding me” note:
Teams since 1950 to win a game by 8+ runs after trailing by 7+— Andrew Simon (@AndrewSimonMLB) June 30, 2021
MIL vs. CHC, today
MIA vs. PHI, 8/23/19
NYY vs. TB, 6/21/05
CLE vs. TB, 5/7/99
MIL vs. LAA, 7/8/90
I suppose it’s a good thing that the Cubs only appear once on this list. “Right? RIGHT? Is that phone connection working...?”
The Cubs thus finish the first half of the season — 81 games — just three games over .500 and six games out of first place. Six games out of first with 81 to go is not an insurmountable deficit, but the way they’re playing right now it might as well be 600 games.
They’ll have Thursday off and hopefully regroup and begin a better second half in Cincinati Friday evening. Alec Mills will start for the Cubs and Sonny Gray is the scheduled starter for the Reds. Game time Friday is 6:10 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.