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Brewers 7, Cubs 0: A tale of two games

This was a good pitchers’ duel... until, suddenly, it wasn’t.

One of the only Cub highlights of this game, Nick Madrigal sliding into second safely with a double
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Drew Smyly, who’s been lights-out this month, continued his pitching dominance with six shutout innings Saturday evening in Milwaukee in which he allowed five hits and a walk.

Unfortunately, when Smyly was removed after those six innings, the Cubs bullpen imploded and that led to a 7-0 loss to the Brewers, evening up this three-game series at one win each.

Friday, it took until the seventh inning for the Cubs to get a hit, when Ian Happ broke up a no-hit bid with a home run. Saturday, it took only four pitches for the Cubs’ first hit, a double by Nick Madrigal (pictured above). Madrigal eventually got to third on a wild pitch, but was stranded.

Brandon Woodruff matched Smyly with six shutout innings. The difference: Woodruff struck out 10 Cubs, while Smyly had only two K’s.

Me? I think I would have left Smyly out there for one more inning. He had thrown 86 pitches (62 strikes) and didn’t seem to be exerting any extraordinary effort in recording outs. He’d thrown at least 91 pitches in all four of his previous starts in August.

Instead, it all fell apart in the seventh. Rowan Wick relieved Smyly and immediately allowed a pair of singles. Jace Peterson attempted a sacrifice bunt and Christopher Morel threw the ball away, allowing a run to score. Eight pitches later, Christian Yelich smashed a three-run homer and that was essentially the game.

Michael Rucker, who’s actually been pretty good lately, wasn’t in this game, serving up a solo homer to Kolten Wong and a two-run shot to Willy Adames that put things completely out of reach.

That’s it, really, and now I’m going to back up a bit and break up this wall of text.

The Cubs had a scoring chance in the seventh when Nico Hoerner led off with a walk and, two outs later, stole second.

Then Morel was called out on strikes, and no, plate umpire Manny Gonzalez, pitch 7 was not a strike:

That call got first-base coach Mike Napoli tossed [VIDEO].

Obviously, in a 7-0 game a missed call like this had little effect on the outcome, although the game was still scoreless at the time. I’ll be interested in seeing the ump scorecard for Gonzalez, because he missed several other calls.

As for Smyly:

That’s about all I’ve got on this one. The Cubs still have a chance for a series win Sunday afternoon, as they wrap up 2023 competition with the Brewers. Adrian Sampson will start for the Cubs and Eric Lauer will go for Milwaukee. Game time is 1:10 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network. The game preview here will post at 11:30 a.m. CT.