The Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers squared off tonight in the second game of their four game series in Wrigley Field. The big news out of the Cubs clubhouse was scheduled starter Tyler Chatwood being scratched with mid-back tightness, so Alec Mills would have to step in against Brewers ace Brandon Woodruff. How did it go?
Mills and Woodruff went toe-to-toe for four innings of no-hit ball, before Milwaukee broke through in the top of the fifth for a run, and the Cubs answered with three in the bottom of the frame. Mills then left a fastball up to known waffle stomper Christian Yelich in the sixth for a 3-run home run to lead the Brewers to a 4-3 victory, lowering the Cubs’ record to an abysmal 13-4.
Let’s get to this:
Mills. I’m sure the Brewers were thinking of their old pal Zach Davies tonight as Mills was doing his best Kyle Hendricks imitation, up until it fell apart on him in the sixth inning. He didn’t get a quality start tonight and took the loss, but I’m putting him here anyway for the work he did in the first four innings, and even minimizing the damage in the fifth.
The Cubs grinding out at bats. The Cubs came into tonight leading all major league teams with 4.21 pitches per plate appearance, and tonight Jason Kipnis had a nine-pitch at bat in the fifth that ended with an RBI single, and Ian Happ had an RBI walk after being down 0-2. Then in the eighth, Steven Souza did the 0-2/4-2 walk before David Bote got hit by a K.K. KHader pitch on a 3-2 count before Josh Phegley came up empty. Still, they were below league average in pitches per at bat last year, and the difference is what is driving the offense.
Jason Heyward. You can see when he’s in a groove, as his single in the fifth inning went to left center, and his double in the sixth was the result of him dropping his body down to barrel the ball, rather than just reaching down with the bat head for another grounder to second. When he’s more upright and pulling everything, he’s a 4-3 machine.
Craig Kimbrel. Seriously. He struck out two, and is getting swings on breaking balls, including one to Justin Smoak that actually hit Smoak in the foot. This is the Kimbrel the Cubs paid for, even if it’s just one night, it’s one night we haven’t had all year and a lot of last year. Fingers crossed.
Willson Contreras is just not feeling it at the plate now. He’s not necessarily swinging at bad balls, but he’s not getting contact in the zone right now. It’s a cold streak, hitters have them.
Javy Baez is back to swinging at fastballs up in his eyes, then he froze on a Hader slider to end the night. No bueno, El Mago.
Yelich. He always looks like his face is pressed up against a plate glass window.
Tomorrow afternoon these two teams go again. Look, I told you at the very beginning this was a four game series, didn’t I?
And you know the drill.