Let’s make a list, shall we?
A list of what, you ask?
A list of all the bad things that happened to the Cubs in their awful 8-6 loss to the Brewers Monday afternoon in Milwaukee.
Here’s a partial list, anyway:
- A blown 6-0 lead
- Questionable bullpen choices
- Bad bullpen work — you know, like things were back in May
- I could go on, but you get the general idea
- Oh, and Nick Madrigal left the game with a hamstring injury
This game started out so well, too. Let’s at least look at the good stuff. In the second inning, Dansby Swanson led off with a double and scored on this Cody Bellinger single [VIDEO].
Christopher Morel followed with a double, scoring Bellinger [VIDEO].
And the Cubs weren’t done! Even Tucker Barnhart got in on the fun, singling to score Morel to make it 3-0 [VIDEO].
In the third, the Cubs extended the lead to 6-0 — all after two were out. Swanson had singled with one out, but Bellinger popped up. That’s when the fun started.
Morel singled Swanson to third and Madrigal doubled both runners home [VIDEO].
So it’s 6-0. What could possibly go wrong?
Everything, as you know. Drew Smyly was fine through two innings, but started to lose it in the bottom of the third. A walk and three straight Brewers hits — all hit hard — made it 6-3. Still, there’s a lot of time left for the Cubs to score more runs and...
Well, you know they didn’t. And then came the disastrous seventh inning that tied the game. And all of that came with two out, also. Julian Merryweather allowed a one-out single to Christian Yelich, but then retired Willy Adames.
Then Merryweather couldn’t throw strikes, and this has been an issue for him at times this year. He walked the next two batters, loading the bases. Craig Counsell sent up Jesse Winker to pinch-hit. David Ross responded by calling ro Anthony Kay, who’s been reasonably good up to now. You don’t see managers burn pinch-hitters like this much anymore, but Counsell did, batting for Winker with Jahmai Jones.
You’ve never heard of this guy, right? Neither had I, and before today he hadn’t appeared in a MLB game in two years, and the Dodgers just released him and the Brewers just signed and added him to their active roster... today.
Jones hit Kay’s first pitch to deep center field for a three-run double, tying the game. Yikes.
Kay issued a walk and hit a batter, re-loading the bases, and then Ross called on Mark Leiter Jr., who probably should have come in instead of Kay. Leiter ended the inning, but... then gave up three straight hits and a sacrifice fly to score two Brewers runs in the eighth.
Yikes, again, what a horrendous sequence.
The Cubs did get the tying runs on base in the ninth on a double by Nico Hoerner and walk by Ian Happ, but Swanson was called out on strikes to end the game. A strike? Yeah, I guess, but I’ve seen pitches like that called balls before. Guess plate umpire Jeremy Riggs was in a hurry to get to dinner — he was making bad calls most of the game.
As for Madrigal, he ran into the wall near third base chasing a foul pop fly, stayed in the game, but later left. Here’s the word from the Cubs:
Nick Madrigal left the game with right hamstring tightness.— Andy Martínez (@amartinez_11) July 3, 2023
This is obviously not good. Madrigal had been playing well, but he’s had hamstring issues before. If he has to hit the IL, I suppose Patrick Wisdom is about ready to return.
Madrigal’s departure forced Morel to move from DH to third base, so the pitcher then had to bat, and that actually meant Michael Fulmer stood at the plate with a bat in his hand. He actually fouled off a couple of 96 mile per hour fastballs before striking out. Here, watch it, if you dare [VIDEO].
From BCB’s JohnW53:
The last Cubs pitcher to bat before today was David Robertson, on June 22 of last year, with 2 out in the top of the ninth and Cubs leading at Pittsburgh, 14-1.Robertson struck out on a 3-2 pitch.
In 2023, Shohei Ohtani has batted as a pitcher in 16 games and 27 position players have had at least 1 PA as a pitcher. #Cubs reliever Michael Fulmer is the third actual pitcher (besides Ohtani) to bat this year. Shelby Miller and Josh Sborz are the other 2.— Al Yellon (@bleedcubbieblue) July 3, 2023
And, Fulmer’s last plate appearance before this game was exactly five years ago today, July 3, 2018 ... against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. He was a starting pitcher then and batted twice, a ground out and a double-play ball.
That’s a fun fact, and we could use some fun, because this game was an absolute disaster for the Cubs in pretty much every way you could think of, thus the list of disastrous things that began this recap.
We can save the “selloff” talk for later, though it seems to be approaching more quickly.
That’s all I’ve got on this one, so have at it. Meanwhile, the Cubs will try to right the ship — again — Tuesday afternoon in Milwaukee. Kyle Hendricks will start for the Cubs and old friend Wade Miley goes for the Brewers. Game time Tuesday is 3:10 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.