Brewers Sweep Cubs Back to Reality – Cubs 2 Brewers 4

Game One Hundred Five – Cubs 2 Brewers 4
WP – Shaun Marcum (10-3) LP – Randy Wells (2-4) Save – John Axford (30)

Following the weekend sweep over the Astros and their first three-game win streak of the year, the Cubs went into Milwaukee feeling confident they could get back into the race in the Central.

Well, three days and three losses later the Cubs are back to a season-worst 21 games under .500 after the offense was pretty much non-existent throughout the entire series. The Cubs scored a total of four runs in three games and finished the series a whopping 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position (1-for-9 on Thursday, eight left on base)

On the day their most patient hitter was traded away, the Cubs made it very easy on Shaun Marcum and the Brewers’ bullpen. Even with all of the extra outs the Brewers defense gave them (three charged errors and Nyjer Morgan misplayed a ball that should have been a fourth), the Cubs scored only two runs on seven hits with two walks.

Alfonso Soriano tallied the Cubs only run scoring hit, a RBI double in the sixth, and Aramis Ramirez drove in the Cubs other run with a sac fly in the first. Carlos Pena (2-for-3 with a double, a walk and a run scored) had a good game at the plate … and in the field.

Randy Wells was Randy Wells on Thursday afternoon. Wells gave up two more runs in the first innings (Wells has allowed 15 first inning runs in 12 starts this season) after his team gave him a one-run lead before he threw a pitch. Wells ended up allowing four runs on eight hits with two walks and two strikeouts in six innings. Wells threw 95 pitches, 59 for strikes.

Jeff Samardzija tossed two perfect innings in relief of Wells and gave his team a chance to mount a comeback. Samardzija threw strikes (19 pitches, 12 for strikes) and kept the ball down (five of six outs on groundballs) but the Cubs offense managed only one baserunner (walk by Geovany Soto in the eighth) over the last three innings.

With Thursday’s loss, the Cubs dropped back to a season-low 21 games under .500 with a 42-63 record …

Thursday began on a positive note for the Chicago Cubs. After the trade that sent Kosuke Fukudome to Cleveland forced Mike Quade to change his lineup and insert Tony Campana in the leadoff spot, Campana reached on an infield single to Prince Fielder to start the game.

Shaun Marcum then uncorked a wild pickoff attempt to first that allowed Campana to advance to second. Starlin Castro struck out swinging but with Aramis Ramirez at the plate, Campana swiped third. Ramirez hit a sac fly to right and Campana scored the Cubs first run in 17 innings … 1-0 Cubs.

Carlos Pena singled to center but Marlon Byrd flied out to right to end the inning. The Cubs made Marcum work a little and did a nice job of manufacturing a run.

Randy Wells took the mound and retired Corey Hart to start his day. Nyjer Morgan blooped a single into left. Wells then hung a slider to Ryan Braun on a 1-2 pitch. Braun singled to left and the Brewers were in business.

With runners on first and second with one out, Wells fell behind Fielder 3-0 before eventually walking him on a 3-2 pitch. With the bases loaded and one out, Casey McGehee hit Wells’ first pitch into center. Morgan tagged and scored … game tied at one.

Yuniesky Betancourt then ripped a double into left center. Braun scored but Starlin Castro made a perfect relay to cut down Fielder at the plate to end the inning.

The Brewers took a 2-1 lead and it could have been more … Randy Wells recorded only two of the three outs.

Geovany Soto led off the second with a bloop single to right. Soriano struck out swinging on a ball in the dirt. Darwin Barney then hit a deep fly to center that Morgan misplayed into a double. With runners on second and third with one out, Randy Wells popped out to short (3-2 pitch) and Campana grounded out to second (first pitch) to end the inning.

Randy Wells pitched around a two-out single by Shaun Marcum in the bottom of the second.

Starlin Castro reached on the Brewers’ third miscue in as many innings. Castro hit a grounder to third and McGehee airmailed his throw to first. Castro ended up at first to start the third inning … but Aramis Ramirez hit into a 4-6-3 double play that erased McGehee’s error. Carlos Pena walked and Byrd blooped a single into center … but Soto hit a soft liner to Craig Counsell at second to end the inning.

Ryan Braun gave the Brewers a commanding 3-1 lead with one swing of the bat. Braun ripped a 3-2 pitch with one out in the bottom of the third over the wall in right center. Wells did not allow another run in the third after Fielder grounded out to second and McGehee struck out looking to end the inning.

Shaun Marcum settled in and retired the Cubs in order in the fourth and fifth inning.

The Brewers made it 4-1 in the fifth after a one-out single by Nyjer Morgan and a double by Ryan Braun off the wall in left center. Morgan scored easily as Braun just missed his second homer of the game. Wells intentionally walked Prince Fielder and got out of the jam when Casey McGehee hit into a 5-4-3 double play.

The Cubs made it a little interesting in the sixth.

For the fourth time in six innings, the Cubs put the leadoff hitter on to start an inning. Carlos Pena doubled to left center. Marlon Byrd grounded out to short and Soto fouled out to Jonathan Lucroy on a 3-2 pitch.

With two outs and down by three runs, Alfonso Soriano ripped a double off the top of the wall in left. Pena scored … 4-2 Brewers. But Darwin Barney struck out swinging to end the inning.

The Cubs did not manage another hit on Thursday afternoon.

Randy Wells retired the Brewers in order in the sixth … and the Brewers did not put another runner on base.

Maybe Jim Hendry will finally realize that his team needs to be changed up … and if he hasn’t, he should talk to Carlos Zambrano.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs open a three-game series Friday night in St. Louis. Matt Garza against one of the newest Redbirds, Edwin Jackson in game one.

Quote of the Day

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

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  • Aaron
    • Richard Hood

      Yeah that must have been Sandberg’s agent. J/k Good read Aaron

    • Tony_Hall

      Not shocking at all…of course after Q’s absolutely, clueless statement at the beginning of the week, I have to believe he has lost everyone’s respect.

      • paulcatanese

        Right Tony, no respect left and he has to see whats next. Aram wanting out,I’m not surprised at that either as he sees whats happening. This may end quick as I can see all of the rats want to leave the sinking ship they will all want out when they have the chance.

    • Jim_Tinley_Park

      Not shocking at all, what a indictment.

    • studio179

      As others have posted, this is not news or a suprise at all. Other than his family or the Cub GM, not even the most hardened Cub fan/Quade backers can justify his ‘still in it’ comment earlier in the week. Quade is toast.

  • Brentcarmona

    my top three ‘i want to strangle quade moments’ in no particular ranking.

    1) playing dj spellcheck at first base when he had never (let me know if im wrong) started a single game professionally there, especially after letting hin ride the pine and assigning him to pinch hit duties mostly.

    2) letting marmol implode just two wks ago, walking the bases loaded (i believe) and just sitting there watching it.

    3) hmmm i guess never calling out a veteren while treating the kids like crap. theres just too many instances here. i dont know which instance is the worst but that pop up with ‘barn/cassie’ (lol i had to) and not calling out pena, soriano was a joke.

    • Tom U

      I don’t want to make this sound as a defense, but actually, playing LeMahieu at first wasn’t as bad of an idea as it initially seemed. LeMahieu made a great play on a sharply hit ball, and his only error was the result of a poor throw. The error didn’t end up costing the Cubs anything. LeMahieu’s play was more of a testament to his athletic ability rather than any prescience by Quade.

      • jey518

        And yet he still got the shaft in favor of the wonderful vets.

      • John_CC

        With respect, Tom, that is in hindsight. Good for DJ that he could step up to the situation. Brent’s argument is that it was a completely ridiculous managerial move to put a rookie that had never played a game of professional baseball at first base, at first base.  And I agree. 

  • Darrenmcculloch

    The good news from this series is that whoever the Brewers play this weekend is at an advantage with both K-Rod and Axford unavailable Friday.  I guess Double R felt his team couldn’t win against the Cubs using other relievers. 

  • erniesarmy

    As long as Ricketts has 39,000 to 41,000 showing up in that commode called Wrigley Field on a regular basis, he won’t do a thing. 

    • J Daniel

      There are not that many showing up.  Those tickets are sold but if you watch a game you would see empty seats galore.

  • studio179

    They can’t play the Astros every game.

  • Aaron

    Couple things….

    First off, McNutt imploded yet again, giving up 5 runs in 4 IP, 7 hits, 3 walks, 2 K’s…now is 1-4 in 16 starts, 56 IP, 70 hits allowed, 23 walks and 34 K’s…now has a 4.82 ERA 

    Next, the Cubs just signed another marginal Cuban talent (not sure if they’re trying to angle for Oneri Speck or what, but these signings are VERY puzzling). The recent signing was a 27 year old Yoannis Negrin, RHP that throws 90 mph consistently, and can reach 94 mph occasionally (not often). His stats, just like Cabezas and Silva prior to their arrival over here are marginal at best.

    I just don’t get why they keep signing these marginal Cubans. There’s not a single one that’s worth their salt. I’d be shocked if RHP Juan Yasser Serrano, OF Rubi Silva, C Yaniel Cabezas, INF Rafael Valdes, OF Mayke Reyes, OF Eliecer Bonne, LHP Frank del Valle, and now Negrin develop into decent players at all.

    The fact is, aside from Silva, they’re all relatively old for their respective leagues they’re playing in, with Bonne and Reyes still playing DSL ball. Serrano and Del Valle have experienced decent success, but haven’t really stood out.

    The Cubs are really going to have to pull through with some of their Latin signings and player development, especially if they don’t sign many of their remaining draft picks this year.

    The Cubs need to sign a guy like Oneri Speck (but at this point, it looks like he’s ineligible due to fraudulent paperwork). Their pitching in the minors this year has been downright dreadful, and there doesn’t appear to be a single gem out of any of them. I thought at one point Kirk was going to be the hidden gem, but I’ve read reports where he’s only throwing marginal stuff, and his fastball is topping out around 90 mph this year, when prior to being drafted, he was in the 94-95 mph range.

    Whitenack will be out until at least next May, and usually post TJ surgery, players take another year after that to adjust, so don’t expect anything major from him.

    The Cubs have a dreadful rotation headed by 30+year olds in Dempster and Zambrano, with only Dempster expected to be with the team next year.

    That means the rotation could consist of:
    Wells (should NOT be on team next year)

    Outside of them, you have:
    Cashner-injured shoulder
    Coleman-lit up when he pitches in MLB
    Jackson-injured shoulder (albeit earlier in the year, he’s been pitching most of the year…and been TERRIBLE)
    Whitenack-TJ surgery (might be a factor if he recovers quickly)
    Struck-good results all around this year
    Cabrera-been lit up at AAA
    Rusin-thrust into swing-role at AAA, decent results at AA 

    The guys I’d most like to see come on strong at the end of this year, the offseason, and into Spring Training next year are Cashner, Jackson, Struck, and Antigua (who I didn’t list above, but has done well at Daytona this year.

    It’d also be in the Cubs’ best interest to move Dolis back to the rotation, as just like Cashner and even Samardzija, I believe he’s best suited for that role.

    But then do you mess with Samardzija’s head again and move him back to the rotation? 

    There really is no good answer here, and that’s why the Cubs need to go all-out, and sign some of their tough signs in the draft like Zych, Maples, Urban, Jacquez, etc., and go after solid international pitchers as well.

    This rotation would be pretty exciting though, you have to admit:
    Dolis/McNutt (depending if he returns to his 2010 form)
    Samardzija/Whitenack (depending if he recovers quickly from TJ)

    ALL of those guys throws mid-to-upper 90’s. 

    pen: Carpenter, Marshall, Wood, Russell, Beliveau, Rhoderick, ? (could be a number of different guys, including: Batista, Suarez, Parker, Maine, Gaub, Kurcz)

    • Ripsnorter1

      The signings of the Cubans are similar to the Doug Davis signing: Jim Clueless wanted to ensure that Davis got his ten year retirement. In like manner, the magnanimous Jim Clueless is saving these poor Cubans from the treatment that Castro gives his subjects in Cuba. They are now FREE, thanks to the heroic Jim Clueless.

    • Brentcarmona

      we have to sign at least one solid sp from this draft. so far from malples and jacquez they seem unlikely to sign according to reports. maybe im a sucker but i have a feeling ricketts realizes the state of our starting pitching depth (which is very questionable, as pointed out by aaron) and will shell out some extra bucks for the tough sp signings. i mean how could you not take any solid sp in a draft? if he is so committed to amateur signings like he says he is, this is a good chance to prove it.

      just one out of jacquez, maples or tayler scott, the kid from south africa who seems to have a good story going for him, need to be signed. heck even zych, impact arms in the pen are always needed.

      • Albert

        Zych will sign. There’s issues with Scott’s agent, sadly. Maples and Jacquez are up in the air — Jacquez in particular because of his poor summer. The money is there for Maples, however. Only reason he won’t sign is if he never intended to in the first place.

  • Neil

    From Ken Rosenthal:Agent: Aramis Ramirez’s position remains unchanged. He doesn’t want to be

    • Skeldor

      What a joke.  If this team had any guts they would inform Ramirez that he would not be playing the rest of the year so they could evalutate their talent at that position the remaining games.  To not get traded to a contender means that he doesn’t care about winning but being comfortable (dogging it) in Chicago instead of trying to win a world series.  I knows guys earn their no trade rights and 10/5 rights but it upsets me that someone wouldn’t want a chance at playing for a ring.  Isn’t that the reason that the reason you play the game, to win a world series?  Just goes to show that he doesn’t have a competative spirit.  And don’t point this this family as a reason because most of the year he is away from them to begin with.

  • Aaron

    I know I might catch some major flack on here, considering I was previously an advocate for trading ARAM….and especially since he’s one of their only valuable trade chips right now….

    HOWEVER, I’ve done a lot of thinking about this recently, and while ARAM will be 34 next year, the Cubs have absolutely no good options for 3B that are MLB-ready right now.

    The Cubs’ only options for 3B next year would be:
    M. Smith

    Flaherty and LeMahieu absolutely demolished AA pitching this year. Problem is, only LeMahieu has continued hitting upon his promotion to AAA, and he has almost ZERO power at this point. Smith has been injured several times this year, and the Cubs are clearly not very high on him anyway. And as for Vitters, he’s not done much this year that would scream “I’m ready for the big leagues”

    Another year of ARAM might not be a bad thing, especially on a team that would have nothing else on offense.

    A lot of us have talked about an OF including Jackson and Colvin next year, and while I still believe that needs to happen, they’re still going to struggle big time, as Jackson has performed terribly at AAA upon his promotion, and Colvin still hasn’t learned plate discipline.

    And while I’m still a HUGE advocate for a youth movement, I am also not ignorant of the fact that almost none of the Cubs top prospects have actually improved this year. In fact, a vast majority of them have regressed from the start of the year when optimism was prominent in Cubs Nation on the future. 

    But the pitching all around (MLB and minors) has been horrendous, and the position prospects haven’t taken a huge leap forward as mentioned.

    This is why last year was so important in terms of seeing what the young guys had to offer down the stretch. Now, they are in an even worse position this year, and they’ll likely still remain on the bench, or not even called up in September at all.

    I would say, based on the lack of progress with these prospects, the Cubs will probably hang onto Soto, Barney, Castro, ARAM, Byrd, Baker, and Johnson next year. Even though the latter 4 should NEVER be relied on with a winning team. I also believe Soto and his likely $5 million salary after arbitration this year should be jettisoned while they still can get decent value for him. But with Hendry, that will NEVER happen. Selling high and getting good value in return just isn’t in his vocabulary.

    Anyway, what we might be looking at if the Cubs can’t sign Pujols or Fielder is this:

    bench-Hill, Colvin, B. Jackson, M. Gonzalez, (insert aging veteran bat)

    And you can bet if Hendry and Quade are still around, something similar to this will happen. Additionally, I just don’t see Soriano remaining with this team, as has been well-documented in the media recently. I think the Ricketts family, even though they’ve stayed out of the baseball operations side of things for the most part, simply won’t allow for the embarrassment in LF to continue.

    Now, if the Cubs trade ARAM, Johnson, Baker, and Pena, all bets are off, and I think we’ll start seeing MAJOR changes on the North Side. If none of them are traded, expect PRECISELY the same thing next year.

  • roseyc

    Here’s what the Cubs could do but this is almost impossible to happen but I’ll present it anyways. They could trade Rameriz and Pena to the Pirates for Carlos Alvarez and other players. Trade Kerry Wood to the Cardinals. Trade Byrd and Grabow to the Brewers.Dempster to the Tigers. I would also trade Marmol before the word sticks that he only has one pitch( slider) and if he can’t throw it for strikes then he is lost. Marshall could go to. Some or all these will be available to come back with the Cubs if the Cubs so choose to. Of course Baker and Johnson will be in so demand that it will blow the roof off ….sarcasm
    Why the Cubs haven’t developed a prospect that turned into a star since Ryne Sandburg. Now Kerry Wood didn’t turn out because of Crusty Baker wore him and Prior’s arm out. The Cubs haven’t succeeded in the garbage in and  the garbage out theory in free agency. Why don’t they try the Marlins route and load up with can’t miss prospects then after you loaded up the system then go for your FA but that means nobody will show up but isn’t that what they are doing now with no hope of turnaround