It happened in the fifth inning of Game 2. With a runner on second, one out and the Cubs nursing a 1-0 lead, Jackie Bradley Jr. lifted a fly ball to right [VIDEO].
While that’s not necessarily an easy play, Johneshwy Fargas should have caught that ball. It would have been the second out of the inning, and if so, the Cubs likely get out of that inning scoreless.
Instead, the Brewers, a very good team, took advantage. Three Cubs pitchers threw 46 pitches in a dreadful 35-minute inning and six runs scored. That was more than enough for a 6-3 Brewers win in the doubleheader nightcap.
Alec Mills had thrown pretty well into the third inning before a torrential downpour interrupted the game for nearly an hour and a half. That, and all those Cubs pitches (122 in seven innings, ugh), made this game drag out until 11:30 p.m.
There was one Cubs highlight worth showing you from Game 2, and here it is, a fourth-inning home run by Patrick Wisdom [VIDEO].
That gave the Cubs the aforementioned 1-0 lead. Wisdom was pretty much the entire Cubs offense in Game 2. He also walked and scored on a single by Fargas in the sixth and doubled in a run in the seventh. So if you’re looking for a “Cubs Player of the Game” vote for this one, there you go.
Rowan Wick, activated off the injured list before Game 2, made his first MLB appearance in nearly 11 months (his previous MLB outing was September 16, 2020) and retired all three batters he faced in the seventh inning. His velocity was good, hitting 96 a couple of times. I would imagine Wick will eventually close games for this year’s Cubs, that is, if they wind up having any games requiring a closer. Good summary of Wick’s outing:
A 1-2-3 showing from Wick. Sat around 95 mph with his fastball. Spiked a few curves. Fired a couple cutters. Induced weak contact with a groundout and two flyouts. Welcome back.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) August 11, 2021
The first game was Justin Steele’s debut as a starter, after previously making 13 relief appearances for the Cubs earlier this year.
Despite serving up a pair of home runs in the fourth, one to Willy Adames, the other to Avisail Garcia with a man on base, I think we can deem Steele’s outing a success. He went through the first three innings nearly untouched, allowing only an infield hit and recording seven of the nine outs on ground balls. Why all the ground balls?
Steele didn’t have his best slider, which he attributed to the sweaty conditions. Even so, the 26-year-old lefty found success without overly relying on the pitch, which he used the second-most in his 11 appearances out of the Cubs bullpen this year.
Going over the plan pregame, the Cubs identified Steele’s sinker and changeup as pitches that would play against the Brewers lineup. He rarely used his changeup in his relief role.
Steele and the Cubs know he needs a more well-rounded repertoire to get through a big-league lineup two or three times. His curveball, with which he got four called strikes Tuesday, is part of that equation.
To me, this is a really smart game plan, and apart from the homers — and Adames’ had some help from the wind blowing out — Steele executed it very well, in my view. Given the Cubs’ plan to go with a six-man rotation from here out, Steele should have seven more starts this season. That should be enough to be able to give him a good evaluation going into 2022. The Cubs need Steele to succeed going forward, and I think he’s started out well.
Back to Game 1’s action — Trevor Megill served up another homer to make it 4-1 Brewers in the sixth. The Cubs came back with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning. Wisdom singled and advanced to second on an error. Frank Schwindel doubled him in [VIDEO].
The Cubs loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the seventh with a chance to win the game, but Brewers reliever Devin Williams struck out Wisdom and Greg Deichmann to end it in a 4-2 defeat for the Cubs.
The Cubs will try again Wednesday evening — weather permitting again, yuck — against the Brewers at Wrigley Field. Jake Arrieta will start for the Cubs and Corbin Burnes is the scheduled starter for Milwaukee. Game time is again 7:05 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.