The Chicago Cubs began a three game road trip to Milwaukee with a pitching matchup featuring burly lefthander Jon Lester for the visitors against burly righthander Brandon Woodruff for the home team. How did it go?
The Cubs should have filled the sunflower seed bucket with sugarless candy so they could get some runs, since they weren’t getting any from their bats. They mustered two hits and struck out sixteen times as they fell to the Brewers 1-0 on a walkoff single by Ryan Braun, the second time in three games where they Cubs have been shut out. It’s also their fifth straight game without a home run. Let’s get to this:
Lester. It was starting to look like it was time to whip up the tribute video after his last couple starts, but tonight he allowed three hits and two walks in six innings while striking out eight.
Craig Kimbrel. He followed Lester with a 1-2-3 inning of his own, including two strikeouts. He’s been legit good lately, and this was an actual high leverage inning, knowing the Cubs would have to somehow manage a run against the Brewers’ bullpen.
The ninth inning was a display of terrible managing by David Ross. Rowan Wick was sharp in the eighth inning, but there was no good reason to run him back out for another inning. So he walked Christian Yelich before Jedd Gyorko singled, sending Yelich to third with no outs. So then he brings in Jeremy Jeffress with men on the corners having to get three outs, and Braun coming up. So you walk Braun to load them up and take your chances with Orlando Arcia with a force everywhere, including the plate, right?
Wrong. They pitched to Braun, who lofted a fly ball deep enough to Jason Heyward to score Yelich and send everyone back to the hotel. Not exactly Casey Stengel stuff from the Dancing Manager.
Manny Gonzalez contributed mightily to the 27 combined strikeouts, six hits and one run in this game. It didn’t matter who was up, the outside of home plate grew by 4-6 inches, and the pitchers were able to exploit this all night.
These two teams go at it again tomorrow night, with Kyle Hendricks taking on Brett Anderson. Roll out the barrel.