Cubs Can’t Win Number Three Behind Big Z – Cubs 5 Brewers 9

Game Sixty-Seven – Cubs 5 Brewers 9
WP – Chris Narveson (4-4) LP – Carlos Zambrano (5-4) Save – None

The Chicago Cubs remain the only team in baseball that has not posted three-game winning streak this season. After rain delayed the start of the game one hour and 42 minutes, Q’s squad took an early lead Wednesday night on Jeff Baker’s second home run of the season, his first since April 8 against Randy Wolf in Milwaukee. But Carlos Zambrano struggled again and the Cubs lost for the 40th time in 2011.

Carlos Zambrano was sharp over the first three innings but was horrible in his last three innings … and it cost his team the ballgame. Zambrano struck out the side in the first after allowing back-to-back hits to Rickie Weeks and Nyjer Morgan to start the game. Z ran into trouble in the fourth and 32 pitches later, the Brewers took the lead and never looked back.

The Brewers scored two off Zambrano in the fourth and three more in the fifth. Zambrano labored through six innings and allowed five runs on nine hits (six for extra bases) with two walks and six strikeouts. Zambrano threw 110 pitches, 70 for strikes.

The Cubs tried to make a game of it in the fifth. Reed Johnson made it a 5-4 game with a three-run homer off Chris Narveson. But the Cubs pen gave up four runs (two earned) over the final three innings.

Chris Narveson improved to a perfect 5-0 in his career against the Chicago Cubs.

The Brewers out hit the Cubs 14-9 and took advantage of the extra outs the Cubs defense gave them. Starlin Castro committed his 15th error of the season that led to the two unearned runs in the seventh.

D.J. LeMahieu picked up his first career big league RBI with a single in the eighth.

With Wednesday’s loss, the Cubs slipped back to 13 games below the mediocre mark with a 27-40 record on the season.

The Brewers jumped on Carlos Zambrano in the first inning … and Big Z bent a little but did not break.

Rickie Weeks led off the game with a double to right. Nyjer Morgan reached on an infield single to the hole at short. With runners on first and second with no outs, Z reached back and struck out Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder and Casey McGehee to end the inning.

The Cubs took an early lead in the bottom of the first. After Chris Narveson retired Starlin Castro and Reed Johnson to start the inning, Jeff Baker ripped a 1-2 pitch into the bleachers in left center. Baker’s second home run of the season gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead.

Z retired the Brewers in order in the second but the Cubs offense could not take advantage of a couple of Brewers gifts in the home half.

Blake DeWitt reached on an error by Rickie Weeks on a ball hit up the middle (later changed to a single). Casey McGehee allowed a grounder off the bat of D.J. LeMahieu to get under his glove and end up in left field. The Brewers second straight error put runners on first and second with one out. Mike Quade allowed Z to swing away and Zambrano struck out swinging for the second out. The wasted out could have cost the Cubs a run. Starlin Castro lined out to short to end the inning.

Z faced the minimum in the third after a textbook relay from Luis Montanez to D.J. LeMahieu to Aramis Ramirez cut down Rickie Weeks trying to stretch a double into a triple. After three, Z had thrown 45 pitches … 31 for strikes.

The Cubs went quickly and quietly in the bottom of the third.

Carlos Zambrano labored through a long 32-pitch fourth inning and the Brewers turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead.

Ryan Braun led off the inning with a double to right center. Z walked Prince Fielder. With runners on first and second with no outs, McGehee hit a grounder up the middle. Castro got to the ball and tossed to LeMahieu to force Fielder at second. Corey Hart tied the game with a single to right. Betancourt grounded out to short, Hart was forced at second but with runners on first and third with two outs, Jonathan Lucroy singled to left on a 2-0 pitch. McGehee scored the go ahead run … and the Brewers never looked back.

Zambrano struck out Chris Narveson to end the fourth but after four Z’s pitch count stood at 77, 50 for strikes.

The Brewers pretty much put the game away in the top of the fifth. Zambrano retired Weeks and Morgan to start the inning (ground out to third, soft lineout to short) but Ryan Braun doubled down the left field line. Z intentionally walked Prince Fielder and Casey McGehee made him (and the Cubs) pay again.

McGehee ripped Z’s first pitch into left center. Braun scored and Fielder slid in safe after Soto could not handle the one-hop relay throw from Starlin Castro. McGehee ended up at third and scored on the Brewers’ third double of the inning. Hart lined a 1-1 pitch down the left field line and McGehee trotted home with the Brewers’ fifth run … 5-1 Milwaukee after four-and-a-half.

The Cubs made it interesting in the bottom of the fifth. Zambrano worked a leadoff walk, his second free pass of the season. Castro followed with a walk and both were on board for Reed Johnson’s third homer of the season.

Johnson launched a 1-1 pitch from Narveson well over the wall in left and if not for a fan catching the ball with his hat it would have ended up on Waveland.

Jeff Baker walked following Reed’s homer but Aramis Ramirez and Geovany Soto struck out. Montanez lined out to center to end the inning.

After five, the Brewers led 5-4.

The game remained 5-4 until the Brewers broke the game open in the seventh and eighth.

Ryan Braun reached on a one-out infield single to first. Jeff Baker deflected the ball to LeMahieu but Braun hustled down the line … and beat James Russell to the bag.

With Prince Fielder at the plate, Russell appeared to pick off Braun. Russell threw to first and Baker made a perfect throw to second … but Castro took his eye off the ball and dropped it. Castro’s error kept the inning alive for the Brewers.

Russell walked Fielder and Quade went to his pen for Chris Carpenter.

Carpenter retired McGehee on a fly out to right. Braun tagged and advanced to third on the play. Carpenter walked Hart to load the bases with two outs. Betancourt singled to center on a 0-1 pitch. Braun and Fielder scored … 7-4 Brewers. Lucroy struck out swinging to end the inning.

With one out in the eighth, Rickie Weeks stepped in and crushed John Grabow’s first pitch … the ball ended up on Waveland and the Brewers took an 8-4 lead into the bottom of the eighth.

Blake DeWitt doubled with one out in the bottom of the eighth and scored on a single to left off the bat of D.J. LeMahieu. LeMahieu’s first career RBI cut the Brewers lead to 8-5. Tony Campana grounded out to second on a close play at first and Castro hit a grounder to Weeks in the shift to end the inning.

The Brewers tacked on another run in the top of the ninth. Rodrigo Lopez pitched the final inning and gave up a leadoff single to Prince Fielder. Lopez hit McGehee then gave up a single to Corey Hart to load the bases with no outs. With the infield in, Lopez struck out Betancourt for the first out.

Jonathan Lucroy hit a sac fly into right center. Johnson’s throw was well off line and Fielder scored the Brewers’ ninth and final run of the game. Mark Kotsay struck out swinging to end the inning.

Reed Johnson led off the ninth with a single to left. John Axford struck out Jeff Baker and Aramis Ramirez. Geovany Soto worked a two out walk but Kosuke Fukudome struck out to end the game.

Three games, three games …maybe one day.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Matt Garza will face Zack Greinke in the finale of the four-game series Thursday afternoon.

Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon
  • Ripsnorter1

    You know, I was wondering why Quade didn’t bring in the $4.8 million dollar wonder, after Russell put two men on, instead of Carpenter. Carpenter is new to the big leagues, and it was a pressure situation. Why not bring in the experienced guy who signed for $7.5 million for two years, who’s getting paid to win these very situations? After all, Grabow gets RH hitters out better than LH hitters (career splits). 

    Of course I can tell you why: Grabow stinks and always has stunk. That ball onto Waveland would have happened with the bases loaded instead of a solo shot.

  • Ripsnorter1

    For those interested to know, THE PIRATES ARE ONE GAME OVER .500.

    Pirates payroll for 2011= $45 million
    Cubs payroll for 2011 =$134 million

    The Pirates are not the lowest paid team in MLB. KC Royals are at $38 million.
    The Royals record is 30-38. 

    Tampa Bay Rays–who ditched Garza for 5 Cubs prospects–are next to lowest payroll at $41 million. They are 36-32.

    Next are the Pirates at $45 million.

    Padres are next up the food chain at $45.8 million. They are 30-40.

    Indians are the next notch up at $49 million. Their record is 36-30 and in 1st place in AL Central.

    • Tony

      It’s not how much money you spend, but your eye for talent, that determines the success of a team. 

      JH has never been good at judging talent and that’s unfortunate, as it is pretty important to being a GM, especially one that has a pocket full of cash to throw around, and chooses the one year wonder as his targets.

      A fool and his money are soon parted, unfortunately, it’s our money, as Cub’s fans, he is spending…

      • Redlarczykg

        For Ricketts to support the complete incompetence of Hendry and Quade shows Ricketts as a fool and not a real Cub Fan.  To have Ricketts hear our voice and speed up the fool’s separation from OUR MONEY, good Cub Fans should boycott this misearable product he is selling.  

  • Ripsnorter1

    Potential FA for 2012.

    Hey, it’s time to look. 2011 is over for the Cubs. SO–what might be available.
    Answer–not nearly enough. Look at this:1B:
    Prince Fielder MIL
    Ross Gload PHI
    Albert Pujols STL
    Can’t imagine the Cubs landing anybody but Ross Gload. Why? The Ricketts don’t have the money, that’s why. You suckers, er, I mean, fans haven’t shown up at the ball park and dumped millions of dollars into ticket and concession purchases. So you are to blame for the lack of money to get a big time 1B–like Adam Dunn.  LOL. I guarantee that if the Cubs were to sign a big dollar guy like Pujols or Fielder, that either one of them would be off their feed and hitting like Carlos Pena–if you call that hitting.

    We are going to need a third baseman, so who do you want?
    Casey Blake LAD *
    Mark DeRosa SF
    Greg Dobbs PHI
    Aramis Ramirez CHC
    DeRosa and Aram are way too old. Dobbs? In 611 career games, he has faced LHP only 86 times because they know he can’t hit LHP.  Blake? He’ll be 38 years old, so how long of a contract do you want?

    Funko will be gone, and we’ll need a LH bat with power since Mr. 196 will be gone, too. 
    Bobby Abreu LAA
    *Carlos Beltran NYM
    Milton Bradley SEA
    Mike Cameron BOS
    Michael Cuddyer MIN
    Jack Cust SEA
    David DeJesus OAK
    J.D. Drew BOS
    Jeff Francoeur KC *
    Jonny Gomes CIN
    Gabe Gross OAK
    Carlos Guillen DET
    Raul Ibanez PHI
    Conor Jackson OAK
    Jason Kubel MIN
    Ryan Ludwick SD
    Nate McLouth ATL *
    Juan Pierre CWS
    Juan Rivera TOR
    Cody Ross SF
    Grady Sizemore CLE
    *Nick Swisher NYY *
    Josh Willingham WAS

    Most of these guys are over the hill. Our friend Milton Bradley will be available again.

    Abreu will be 38, and although he’s hitting .295 he has lost all of his power–he has only 2 HR. 

    Willingham will be 33, hitting .234 and might be okay in a desperation bid since he has some power *(10 HR right now).

    Swisher ain’t leaving the Yanks.
    Sizemore is a perpetual DL candidate.

    Ross is not much, imo. Sure, he had a hot W.S., but at age 32 with a .268 and 5 HR, 20 RBI, I say FORGETABOUTIT.

    Rivera is another 33 yr old .244 hitting with no power or speed anymore.

    Pierre is done.

    McLouth must be a head case. Idontgetitwithhim. Lost his bottle (of steroids) and can’t hit anymore? He’s 31, 3 HR and 11 RBI in regular play (200 AB). FORGETABOUTIT!

    Michael Cuddyer–too old, too slow, too much money. FORGETABOUTIT.

    Ludwick–Cards dumped his hide for a reason–he wasn’t able to get the job done anymore. 

    Carlos Beltran will be 35 and hasn’t hit as much as 20 HR since 2008. How do you Americans say it–“has-been?”

    Jason Kubel, age 30, still has some life left in him. No speed but 25 HR is possible, unless the Cubs sign him, and that equates to 14 HR.

    Conor Jackson–are you kidding me? FORGETABOUTIT.

    Gabe Gross–doesn’t hit for power; has no speed; doesn’t hit for average. FORGETABOUTIT.

    ********Which brings us to the man Jim Clueless has said he has always coveted to play on your Chicago Cubs*****************

    David DeJesus!!!!
    This is the 33 year old .239 hitting OF with no speed and no power that you’ve always wanted. He has never hit as many as 14 HR in a season; his top SB year was 11 steals, and Baseball Reference says that if he plays everyday, his defense will cost your team 16 extra runs a year (vs. the average MLB OF). Cubs fans, look for David DeJesus to be your next RF!!!

    • PleaseStopLosing

      Sadly you’re probably right. Colvin is a better option than these free agent outfield prospects…

      Hendry will probably see that and instead trade away 5 of our top 10 prospects for a guy who hits .265 with no speed or power. And then sign him at age 34 to a 7 year deal.

      That’s my prediction– you heard it here first!

  • paulcatanese

    I cant believe the pitches Soriono swung at when he struck out. I dont know how saw them let alone swing at them. That totaly was off the charts and should go back to re-hab or get checked for glasses. And last night and tonight Castro had a meltdown with the glove, he is on his way for more errors this year than last. He looked a little better withD.j. tonight than last night with Baker. Just looked frazzeled out there.

    • paulcatanese

      Castro, he has had what four different 2basemen including DeWitt in the last game of the seres. How is he supposed to adjust? This is after the lineup was posted today showing DeWitt in there. There is no cohision at all. Now this is just plain Quade’s fault, he can’t name the players on the roster, but he does make the lineup. And how about Soriono in left? Quade is out of it, totaly.