Chicago Cubs Score and Recap (4/3/19): Braves 6, Cubs 4 – The Bullpen Blues

If this feels like a recurring dream, er, I mean nightmare to you, then you’re not alone. There were reasons to be concerned heading into this season, but seeing our fears unfold this early is a bit disconcerting. Yet here we are. Five games into the season and the Cubs are still looking for their second win. It didn’t come tonight. (Box score)

Why the Cubs lost 

The bullpen has been awful this season, there is absolutely no other way to look at it. Tonight was no exception, with the ‘pen giving up four runs in the bottom of the 8th inning to help the Braves put the game away.

Key moment

Steve Cishek came on in to relieve Brandon Kintzler, who’s been the lone bright spot so far this year in the Cubs’ bullpen. It did not go well.

Cishek proceeded to walk the bases loaded before Randy Rosario entered the game and gave up a go-ahead double to Jahan Camargo. That was the dagger, although Brad Brach came on and allowed a run to score to help top things off for the Braves in the bottom of the 8th.

Stats that matter

  • Jon Lester was solid: 2 R, 6 H, 7 K, 3 BB, 2 HR
  • The bullpen was atrocious, again: 4 R, 2 H, 1 K, 5 BB
  • Willson Contreras had a stellar game, albeit a wasted effort: 3-for-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, HR
  • The Cubs struck out 13 times

Bottom line

On a night where it felt like everything was in place for the Cubs to get a win, the bullpen completely worked against them…again. The Cubs can’t get back to Chicago quickly enough, where hopefully some home cooking will help them turn things around. Perhaps a visit to Wrigley North over the weekend will be close enough to feel right at home?

First things first though, win tomorrow.

On Deck

The Cubs close out the series against the Braves on Thursday at 6:20 PM CT. Yu Darvish will look to refine his approach and try to get the Cubs on the right track. Now would be a good time for Darvish to finally put down a solid start.

The game came be seen on MLB Network (out-of-market only) and NBC Sports Chicago, and on radio via 670 The Score.


Jon Ferlise

Jon Ferlise began his writing career as the editor and lead writer at Cubs Kingdom. He is a life-long, passionate Cubs fan who aims to bring you the most up-to-date and relevant Cubs news and commentary every day. You can also find him at

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  1. On the bright side Theo is really good at being a seller and is due a good move after all all the bad ones he’s made since the start of 2017. The Brewers picked up 4.5 games to win the division last year in the Cubs final 12 games and in the first 5 this year already have a 4 game lead. If they fail to go 2-2 or better the rest of the week they could be buried deep early.

    Its amazing the Heyward deal has managed to be worse than Theo’s Carl Crawford signing. 3 years of bad offense and now to start the 4th he has 5 GIDP over 5 games. When is Theo’s production over potential BS ever going to apply to Jason?

    1. There is no bright side here. Leadership at all 3 levels (Owner, Pres/GM, Manager) has completely failed and failed in such a way that there is no reason to think any of them can ever succeed again going forward. Maddon is for sure gone either during or after this year, and Theo will probably bolt too and leave some other poor schmuck to inherit the steaming pile he’ll have left here. Ricketts unfortunately we are stuck with, the great cheapskate who slammed the competitive window shut right as the weather was nicest, to save a few bucks. This is franchise hell that makes where the Blackhawks are look rosy by comparison. And at least the Hawks got a decade of dominance and 3 titles before things went sideways at every level.

  2. How bad of a trade was La Stella for Arodys Vizcaino? 99 OPS+ PH we flipped from a for BP prospect vs 150 ERA+ back of the BP arm.

  3. It’s what a team quitting on their manager looks like. Guys who don’t make errors making routine errors (and always the guy Maddon has just put into the weird spot in the field). Guys who don’t walk people walking the world. It is what it is. “How can you blame Maddon for tonight?” Besides the aforementioned, leaving Cishek in to face the third hitter was inexcusable. It is what it is. Maybe they lose anyway if he pulls him one batter sooner. Maybe they lose anyway the other night even if Schwarber starts instead of Zagunis. The point is, we never get to know. We never get to see how things would have gone had everything been managed correctly.

    So the team has completely quit, and then in the pen the personnel just – sucks, besides having quit. Maddon needs fired, Kimbrel needs signed, and other pieces need moved around in the pen immediately, if this team is trying to contend this year or stave off disaster. But we know they aren’t trying to contend, we saw it all offseason and continue to see it. They’re spinning their wheels and collecting revenue.

    Also, in the “How can you blame Maddon for THIS one?” category, Hottovy. Why isn’t Chris Bosio still the pitching coach? Bc Joe Maddon personally forced him out to give his friend a job. Bosio won the Cubs the WS, not Maddon. It was his pitching staff that did it. Maddon forces him out for nepotism reasons a year later, a guy who’d won the WS for him, a guy who had been here prior to MAddon being here. And a year after THAT, Maddon has to fire his friend to save his own ass. Now we’re onto a rapidly descending quality of pitching coach, while Bos sits at home unemployed. Maddon also personally saw to Mallee’s firing and the hiring of the great Chili Davis. All this and much more should be included in the press release the day he’s not re-signed (he will never be fired, Theo is a complacent coward, they’ll waste an entire extra season here).

    1. Its all on Theo, Just like Lester said “we just need to get back to being us” and said he felt they’ve been “trying too hard” All of Theo’s talk has got them pressing too much rather than going out and playing loose.

      1. Oh so they’re failing bc of what Theo said in response to their previous failure? Then who was their previous failure on?

        1. They ran out of gas last year due to funky weather keeping them at the park all but like 1 day the last two months of the year. If not for Theo’s bad moves and lack of depth they may have been able to survive the grind.

          He’s taking his own mistakes out on the team and has them pressing.

          1. They didn’t run out of gas. They were winning the division easily and emphatically, Rizzo had just hit a huge late-inning homer off Hader in Milwaukee to break the Brewers for good and all, when Joe Maddon brought in the one pitcher no Cub fan would ever have brought in in that spot. Then left him in much longer than any other manager or any fan would have. Until the rest of the season was inevitable. Last season was a Maddon-induced collapse. And the part that wasn’t directly Maddon-induced was caused by his hand-picked new hitting coach.

            Everyone forgets everything. People forget the play where Strop injured himself late last year. They forget the double header game 2 against the Mets where he benched a red hot Murphy (never hot again after the benching), started Schwarber at leadoff vs a lefty, etc, forfeiting game 2 for no reason against a scrub pitcher. Or the Cinci series where he used split squad lineups in consecutive games late in a pennant race with a red hot team breathing down their necks. It’s always Maddon.

          2. They 100% ran out of gas the offense couldn’t score in the second half and lost countless games the pitchers put them in a spot to win.

            In the final 18 losses of the year they had 5 games they lost 2-1 another 3-2 and 2 more 3-1. If they win any of those games they take the Division. In the other 10 games they got blasted outside two 1 run losses.

            One of those 1 run losses in the other games was Theo’s bad trade for Wilson and Avila where he gave up a top-100 prospect and a prospect who is now in the Top-100 after he gave up a 2-run HR to Harper.

          3. Yea but they didn’t win those games. They quit performing and it happened to coincide perfectly w Maddon’s disastrous Milwaukee decision. That game will go down as where his Cubs career ended and maybe as where The Cubs, as in this era of the Cubs, ended. With the idiot giving it all away.

  4. 2018 Cubs lost 15 games all year when they scored 4 or more runs while the 2019 team is already 20% there in 5 games.

  5. We need a series with the Pirates who blew 4-0 and 3-0 leads to the Cardinals and lost two 1 run games in extras with the difference being a WP and PB scoring runs in each game while the Pirates go 2-for-24 with RISP the two games.

    That must be what these other teams feel like playing us.

  6. Nice and concise, Jon. As far as coaches, they can only do so much. Mgmt. cast their lot with this BP, but BP is the easiest in-season fix. Several trade pieces like Russell, Happ, Hoener. Also try a couple of kids. They will attempt fixes, which may or may not help. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

  7. Anybody that says ” wrigleyville north” deserves exactly what they get which is nothing. Congrats on the attendance trophy. Lol next

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