Game Eight – Cubs 0 Brewers 6
WP – Chris Narveson (1-0) LP – Matt Garza (0-1) Save – None
The Cubs slipped back to .500 on the young season with a poor performance in Milwaukee Saturday night. Q’s offense failed to show up and Matt Garza could not figure out how to get Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun out.
The middle of the Brewers lineup had their way with Matt Garza. Ryan Braun (2-for-4 with a walk, a double, a RBI and three runs scored) and Prince Fielder (3-for-4 with three doubles and four RBI) drove in all five of the Brewers runs against Garza.
Prince Fielder’s three doubles went to three different parts of Miller Park (left, right and left center) and all three were ripped on 0-2 pitches.
Garza was fine against the rest of Milwaukee’s lineup but not against the big boys.
Matt Garza’s final line: five runs on eight hits with three walks (one intentional) and eight strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. Garza threw 107 pitches, 69 for strikes … four of the Brewers first five hits went for extra bases, three doubles and a triple.
After two games (12 2/3 innings), Matt Garza has struck out 20 batters and given up 20 hits.
Marcos Mateo had an impressive outing. Mateo did what Garza could not he retired the heart of the Brewers’ lineup in order in the seventh. John Grabow also did his job in the sixth but Jeff Samardzija is an entirely different story.
Jeff Samardzija issued four walks in the eighth and forced in the Brewers’ sixth run of the night. There is no excuse for a pitcher not throwing strikes when he enters a game with his team down by a 5-0 score.
The Cubs offense was pretty much non-existent. Chris Narveson kept the Cubs off balance all night. Q’s squad was 0-for-5 with RISP and left six on in the first five innings … the Cubs finished the night with a total of six hits, two walks (both by Geovany Soto, one in the first and the other in the ninth) and left seven on base. The Cubs put the leadoff man on one time in nine innings, a leadoff walk by Soto in the ninth.
Carlos Pena had another good game in the field but continued his rough start at the plate. Before a fifth inning two-out single, Pena was 0-for-9 against left-handed pitching with fix strikeouts to start the season.
The Cubs were shutout for the first time on the young season … and for the first time a game was not decided by three runs or less. With the loss, the Cubs dropped to 4-4 after the first eight games of the season. The Cubs had a big chance in the first inning after a two-out double by Marlon Byrd. Byrd put together one of his better at bats of the season and dumped a double into right on a 3-2 pitch. Aramis Ramirez actually struck out swinging on a ball in the dirt but was able to reach when the ball got away from Wil Nieves.
Geovany Soto walked to load the bases for Carlos Pena. Pena worked the count to 3-2 before swinging and missing to end the inning. After his at bat in the first inning against Chris Narveson, Pena was 0-for-8 against left handed pitching this season with five strikeouts.
The Brewers came out swinging against Matt Garza and jumped out to an early lead.
Rickie Weeks singled off Garza’s leg and advanced to second on a sac bunt by Nyjer Morgan. Ryan Braun ripped a 1-0 offering into left center. Weeks scored easily … 1-0 Brewers.
Garza got ahead of Prince Fielder 0-2 before elevating a fastball. Fielder deposited the mistake down the right field line. Braun casually trotted home with the Brewers’ second run of the game.
Casey McGehee popped out to second and Yuniesky Betancourt grounded out to short to end the inning.
Garza threw 21 pitches in the first, 16 for strikes.
Chris Narveson kept the overly aggressive Cubs offense off balance in the second and third innings. Narveson retired seven in a row after walking Soto to load the bases in the first. The Cubs simply do not make pitchers work.
The Cubs found themselves in a huge hole after the bottom of the third. Garza struck out Weeks to start the inning but Nyjer Morgan lined a triple into right center on a 1-0 pitch. Garza then issued his first free pass of the young season to Ryan Braun.
With runners on first and third with one out, Garza jumped out ahead of Prince Fielder 0-2 before leaving another fastball up. Fielder deposited the ball down the left field line. Morgan and Braun scored (after Soriano missed the cut off man) and the Brewers took a commanding 4-0 lead.
McGehee lined out to short on a 3-0 pitch and Betancourt lined out to center to end the inning. Garza was not fooling many of the Brewers’ hitters … four of Milwaukee’s first five hits went for extra bases, three doubles and a triple.
Aramis Ramirez and Geovany Soto led off with back-to-back singles to start the fourth … but Carlos Pena looked at strike three (second strikeout of the night) and Alfonso Soriano hit into a 6-4-3 inning ending double play.
After his second at bat against Narveson, Pena was 0-for-9 on the year against southpaws with six strikeouts.
The Cubs tried to rally in the fifth after Reed Johnson (ground out to second) and Matt Garza (swinging strikeout) made two quick outs. Jeff Baker lined a single down the left field line. The ball hit the sidewall and bounced perfectly to Braun. Baker had to hold at first on what looked like a sure double.
Starlin Castro singled to center but Marlon Byrd flied out to left to end the inning.
After five innings, the Cubs had already left six on base and were a pathetic 0-for-5 with RISP.
The Ryan Braun-Prince Fielder Show continued in the bottom of the fifth. Garza struck out Weeks and Morgan to start the inning (the third and fourth consecutive strikeouts for Garza). Garza fell behind Braun 3-1 before he lined a single into right on a 3-2 pitch.
Prince Fielder then recorded his third double (second to left) on the third 0-2 pitch. Fielder ripped a double into left and Braun scored all the way from first … 5-0 Brewers.
After the Cubs failed to plate a run in the top of the sixth, the Brewers went back to work in the home half.
Mark Kotsay reached on a one-out single to right. Garza then walked Wil Nieves, the eighth place hitter in the Brewers’ lineup. Chris Narveson dropped down a bunt to third and advanced both runners ninety feet.
Garza ended his night by intentionally walking Rickie Weeks to load the bases.
John Grabow was summoned from the pen … and struck out Nyjer Morgan looking to end the inning.
Matt Garza’s final line … five runs on eight hits with three walks (one intentional) and eight strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. Garza threw 107 pitches, 69 for strikes.
The game remained 5-0 until the eighth. Jeff Samardzija took the hill and once again proved he should not be on a Major League roster. Samardzija walked four batters in his inning of work and the fourth (Nyjer Morgan) forced in the Brewers’ sixth run. Samardzija threw 31 pitches … only 13 for strikes.
The Cubs were outplayed badly Saturday night at Miller Park …
Casey Coleman will face Yovani Gallardo in the series finale Sunday afternoon.