The Cubs had to lose at some point this season, it’s just unfortunate that it had to be to the Brewers and just before a day off. For the first five innings, it looked like the Cubs were going to sweep the Brew Crew despite a getaway-day lineup that had four reserves getting starting nods. Even the most optimistic Cubs fans who are involved in baseball betting probably weren’t willing to bet on winning two straight, let alone the possibility of a sweep.
Things started going the Cubs’ way almost immediately as Freddy Peralta struggled with the same kind of command issues that Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff displayed. Peralta started the game by walking Rafael Ortega, who then erased himself when he was caught stealing. However, Peralta then walked Jonathan Villar and gave up a single to Alfonso Rivas. That set the stage for Seiya Suzuki‘s first major league homer, a three-run blast that landed several rows deep in the left field bleachers.
Marcus Stroman, who was making his first regular-season Cubs start gave one back in the 3rd inning on a solo homer to Willy Adames. The righty managed to make the 3-1 lead hold up until he left after the 5th inning with just two hits allowed. It was then up to Jesse Chavez to hold the advantage, but he couldn’t quite do it.
The veteran reliever walked Adames to lead off the 6th, then allowed a double to Christian Yelich. After a rather loud lineout by Andrew McCutchen, Chavez surrendered a three-run homer to Rowdy Tellez to give the Brewers the 4-3 lead.
The Cubs tied the game in the bottom of the same inning thanks in large part to two straight wild pitches by Jake Cousins, but Daniel Norris gave the lead right back on a solo home run by Mike Brosseau. From there, the Brewers’ back end tandem of Devin Williams and Josh Hader mowed everyone down. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Lost
The Chavez and Norris outings were not good, but the offense also mostly went into hibernation after the 1st inning. The Cubs only managed one hit after the 3rd inning and that last run was scored thanks to a walk, a fielder’s choice, and two wild pitches.
The Cubs had a chance to tie the game again in the bottom of the 7th with Nico Hoerner on third base and two out. Villar hit a grounder up the middle that was slow developing enough that it looked like he would have been safe if he’d just run through the bag. Instead, he tried to slide headfirst and seemingly slowed himself down just enough to be called out. The Cubs challenged the call (it was incredibly close), but there wasn’t enough evidence to overturn it.
Stats That Matter
- Suzuki continues to impress so early in his rookie season. He went 1-for-3 today with that three-run homer and he drew another walk. He’s hitting .375 with a homer, 6 RBI, and a .538 OBP.
- Stroman wasn’t perfect today, but he did give the Cubs their third straight solid start as he went five innings and allowed just two hits and one run. He did walk three and struggled a bit with his command every now and then.
- Williams and Hader continue to be lockdown pitchers for the Brewers. The pair threw two innings, allowed zero hits, and struck out four.
Today was the first time the offense struggled on the young season, with the bats mostly shutting down after a big first inning. The team’s early-season patience also seemed to come back to bite them late in the game, where there were more than a few pitches taken that should have been offered at. It will be interesting to see how the offense adjusts if the starting pitcher isn’t struggling with command.
The team has an off-day on Monday before traveling to Pittsburgh for a Tuesday matchup at the Pittsburgh Pirates at 3:12pm CT. Drew Smyly will make his first regular-season start for the Cubs and he’ll face off against former Northsider José Quintana.