No Offense at All – Cubs 0 Brewers 2

Game One Hundred Four – Cubs 0 Brewers 2
WP – Zack Greinke (8-4) LP – Carlos Zambrano (7-6) Save – John Axford (29)

Zack Greinke and the Brewers’ pen blanked the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night. The Cubs offense managed only four hits and three walks and have not scored a run since the first inning of Tuesday’s game (17 scoreless innings).

The Cubs looked overmatched against Greinke as he kept the Cubs off balance all night. Greinke tossed 6 2/3 shutout innings, allowed three hits, three walks and struck out nine. Greinke threw a season-high 123 pitches, 74 for strikes. In two appearances against the Cubs this season, Greinke has struck out 19.

The Cubs four hits on the night: Starlin Castro (single in the first), Carlos Pena (double in the fourth), Carlos Zambrano (single in the fifth) and Kosuke Fukudome (single in the eighth). That was it. The Cubs put two runners on base in just one inning … the fourth.

Prince Fielder hit a solo shot off Zambrano in the second and Yuniesky Betancourt drove in Milwaukee’s second run on a sac fly to right following a double by Casey McGehee (2-for-3 with a double) that advanced pinch-runner Craig Counsell to third base with one out.

Carlos Zambrano’s final line was better than he pitched. Z labored through the second and third innings and thanks to bad baserunning by Corey Hart, the Brewers scored only two runs. Zambrano allowed two runs on six hits in 6 2/3 innings. Z walked two and struck out three on 100 pitches, 65 for strikes.

James Russell retired the only batter he faced and Kerry Wood threw a perfect eighth inning.

With Wednesday’s loss, the Cubs dropped back to 20 games below .500 with a 42-62 record …

Carlos Zambrano’s night began with a very efficient 1-2-3 first inning. Z was sharp and threw only eight pitches, seven for strikes.

After the Cubs did basically nothing against Zack Greinke in the second (two-out walk by Soto), Prince Fielder gave the Brewers a 1-0 lead with an opposite field homer on a 1-2 pitch. Z’s pitch was around Fielder’s collarbone and the very strong first baseman drove it over the wall in left.

Rickie Weeks hit Z’s next pitch to Castro at short. For some reason, Castro paused then tried to throw Weeks out. Weeks made an awkward lunge at the base and ended up twisting his ankle. Weeks was given an infield single but had to be helped off the field. Craig Counsell ran for Weeks and advanced to third on a double to left off the bat of Casey McGehee.

With runners on second and third with no outs, Yuniesky Betancourt flied out to right on a 1-2 pitch. Counsell tagged and scored the Brewers’ second run. McGehee took third on the play. Jonathan Lucroy hit a 1-2 pitch to Ramirez, McGehee was caught in a rundown and was eventually tagged out (5-2-6). Lucroy slid in safe at second but was stranded when Greinke fouled out to Soto to end the inning.

Zambrano struggled again in the third and horrible baserunning by Corey Hart kept the Brewers from tacking on. Zambrano walked Hart to start the inning after getting ahead 0-2 early in the at bat. Nyjer Morgan doubled down the right field line. Hart held at third with no outs.

With the infield back, Ryan Braun hit a grounder to Castro at short. Hart did not break as Braun yelled at him to run as he was jogging to first. Castro threw out Braun then Z intentionally walked Fielder to load the bases.

Craig Counsell popped out to second and McGehee grounded out to third to end the inning.

Carlos Pena recorded the Cubs second hit in the fourth … and just missed a home run. Pena doubled off the wall in right center with two outs. Marlon Byrd worked the Cubs second walk of the game. With two on and two out, Geovany Soto was caught looking at a 2-2 pitch to end the inning.

Z retired the Brewers in order in the fourth … after four, Z’s pitch count stood at 54, 36 for strikes.

Carlos Zambrano singled with two outs in the fifth. Craig Counsell took away a hit from Kosuke Fukudome on a ball ticketed for center. Counsell flipped to Betancourt to end the inning.

Z sat down the Brewers in order in the fifth … at that point Zambrano had retired eight in a row.

With the Brewers up by two, Casey McGehee singled to right center with two outs in the sixth. Zambrano struck out Betancourt looking to end the inning.

Blake DeWitt worked the Cubs third walk of the night with two outs in the seventh to chase Zack Greinke from the game. Takashi Saito came in and retired Barney on a ground out to second.

Carlos Zambrano’s night ended with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. Jonathan Lucroy singled to left on a 0-2 pitch to start the inning. George Kottaras, the Brewers backup catcher, pinch-hit for Saito and bunted Lucroy to second. Corey Hart flied out to deep right, Lucroy tagged and advanced to third.

Mike Quade made the slow walk and took the ball from Zambrano. Z lobbied to stay in the game and asked for one more batter. But Quade stuck to his guns and took the ball from Z. Zambrano left the mound shaking his head.

James Russell retired Nyjer Morgan to end the inning.

Kosuke Fukudome recorded the Cubs’ fourth hit with one out in the eighth against Francisco Rodriguez. After Starlin Castro flied out to right center, Aramis Ramirez just missed tying the game with a deep fly to the wall in left to end the inning.

Kerry Wood tossed a perfect eighth … and the Cubs went down in order in the ninth against John Axford.

Back to twenty below … Maybe, just maybe the last two days will force Jim Hendry and his staff to realize the roster they assembled is not capable of playing winning baseball. Why can’t Jim Hendry see what his wrong with his team like the rest of baseball can?

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Randy Wells is scheduled to face Shaun Marcum in the series finale on Thursday afternoon.

Quote of the Day

"The riches of the game are in the thrills, not in the money." – Ernie Banks

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  • The Maven

    The reason why Casey McGehee wouldn’t have been a good Cub? He wouldn’t have been able to hit against the Cubs!

  • Aaron

    obviously nobody knows for sure what Zambrano was referring to tonight, but it certainly seems with Dempster, Zambrano, Castro (how Quade benches him, yet not veterans), and Barney have legitimate beefs with the way Quade has handled them and/or thrown them under the bus at times this year….

    And given the respect Dempster has, and how hard Barney plays, I’d say that Quade has completely lost this team. Zambrano, Barney, and Dempster have all made interesting comments recently about Quade, and while only Zambrano has been cryptic in his response, nobody seems to be coming out in support of Quade like they did last year.

    The problem is, Dempster and Zambrano have sucked this year, so their opinions would appear to mean very little to the Cubs’ brass. 

    Quade is a moron, and his boss is even worse. NOTHING they say is intelligent. In fact, Ricketts should order them to stop talking, because the more they talk about being in the race, and certain players being “untouchable”, and how Quade shortens everyone’s name in the most annoying way…almost like pet names, “Marsh”, “Marm”, “Cassie”, “Barn”, “Wellsie”….it’s downright embarrassing.

    If Hendry can’t make a trade, even if he’s eating a majority of the contract, then he doesn’t deserve to be on the job. Yes, the Cubs have don’t have many enticing players at the moment that would appear to be on the market (Z, Fukudome, Pena, Grabow, etc.), but they have interesting chips that SHOULD be dealt, including Marmol, Marshall, Johnson, Byrd, Soto, and possibly even Barney (as I believe he’s way overrated, considering all the middle IF talent the Cubs have coming up through the system). 

    NOBODY should be untouchable except for Castro. NOBODY!!!!!!!! 

    • roseyc

      Most of us can see what your talking about is 100 % correct why can’t the Cubs can’t see this …just idiocy..when manager says we can get back in the race. Our gm says Johnson and Baker are untouchable. We are going to win next year with below 500 pitchers. The team can’t hit or field.this say what…….REBUILD…The marilins and Indians can do it and the Pirates are finally doing it and come out on the other side and the Astros are going to do it but Hendry can’t …madness

    • diehardcubfan

      As much as I would not like it, I think if we offered Marshall to the Rangers they would jump all over it.  Heck, we might actually get something decent in return. 

      That is if JH doesn’t screw it up.

    • Agustinrexach

      Relax Aars, still plenty of timey to play basie balls. Soon Quads will pull his strings with gm Jay Hensie and the Cubsies will contend again. We just need to focus and be healthy for once! The injuries to Wellsie, Cashy and ‘can’t touch this’ Bakes have killed us…Otherwise we would be up there with the Brewies, Cardies and the surprising Piries! Not to mention those Bravis for the wild card.

    • gocubs

      No one should be untouchable, including Castro. 

    • Mike1040

      Too bad Quadsie isn’t touchable……….or is he?
      Please Hend, would you please touch Quadsie and maybe bring Rynsie back??

  • Neil

    According to Ken Rosenthal and Buster Olney, the Cubs are very close on a
    deal to send Kosuke to the Indians. Will post when official.

    • Kojak Osborne Jr.

      Buster Olney just said the Cubs will get two prospects and the deal likely will be done by gametime today.

  • Kojak Osborne Jr.

    Quade thought we still had a shot not that could tell what a buffoon this guy is.