The bad vibes of the last two Cubs losses carried over into Sunday as the Brewers again rallied from a deficit to pick up a series win. The sense of concern for Chicago is growing rapidly as their playoff position slips.
Jon Lester allowed an infield single and two walks to load the bases with nobody out in the 1st, but Ryan Braun hit into a double play and Milwaukee only scored a run in the inning. The Cubs surged back into the lead after Addison Russell was hit in the face by a pitch in the 3rd and remained in the game. Russell stole second base and scored on a David Bote single, the. Lester ripped a double to score Bote. Ben Zobrist added his own two-bagger to give Chicago a 3-1 lead.
Russell would be removed after another inning and the wheels came off for the Lester in the 4th inning. Christian Yelich singled and scored on a Braun double, then Hernán Pérez singled home the mercurial outfielder to tie the score. Tyler Austin broke the game open with a go-ahead three run homer and the Cubs were done.
Lester allowed two more runs in the 6th and the Cubs did nothing until a two-run homer from Jason Heyward in the 9th inning. The Brewers took no chances bringing in closer Josh Hader to seal the 8-5 win. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Lost
Lester’s blowup inning did the Cubs in Sunday. The offense provided five runs, but it just wasn’t enough to overcome the bad pitching performance.
Austin’s homer has to be the key moment of the game. Lester missed out on a couple close calls earlier in the inning and was visibly upset about it on the mound. That being said, he can’t let a .196 hitter get to him.
Stats That Matter
- The numbers have been ugly in the second half for number 34: 5.1 IP, 8 R, 7 H, 7 K, and 3 BB. He is giving up way too many baserunners to be consistently effective.
- A little bit of positive news for the Cubs: Danny Hultzen, the former No. 2 pick who made the majors after an eight-year odyssey in the minors, pitched his first career inning. He allowed a couple runners, but threw a clean frame.
Chicago just looks lost at this point and the Cardinals are rapidly pulling away in the division. The effort appears lifeless and injuries are mounting and the Diamondback — despite a loss Sunday — are closing fast in the Wild Card race. Missing the playoffs entirely is becoming a distinct possibility.