Cubs Strikeout in Milwaukee – Cubs 2, Brewers 3

Game One Hundred Twenty-Three – Cubs 2, Brewers 3
WP – Yovani Gallardo (13-8) LP – Travis Wood (4-10) Save – John Axford (20)

The Cubs miserable seven-game road trip (1-6) concluded Wednesday afternoon in Milwaukee with another loss. The Brewers received credit for the three-game sweep but the Cubs gave all three games away.

Travis Wood bounced back from his bad outing against the Reds with a quality start Wednesday. Wood received no support to speak of from his offense and one play in the field led to two of the three runs he allowed. Wood surrendered three runs on six hits (one home run) with a walk and six strikeouts over seven innings. After laboring through a 28-pitch first inning, Wood threw 99 pitches on the day, 69 for strikes.

James Russell and Shawn Camp kept the Brewers off the board in the eighth but the offense could not string together any hits.

The Cubs two runs came off two swings of the bat. David DeJesus (1-for-3 with a home run and a walk) led off the game with his sixth home run of the season (fourth in August). Bryan LaHair (1-for-4 with a home run) hit his first longball since July 4, 15th of the season, in the seventh inning. Starlin Castro (1-for-3 with a walk) and Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4) collected hits but the Cubs managed only five hits Wednesday … and nine over the last two games of the series.

The Cubs offense added to their alarmingly high strikeout total. The Cubs struck out 13 times Wednesday, eight looking, and finished the three-game series with 37 strikeouts (12 on Monday and Tuesday). The Cubs struck out 71 times (20 walks) during the seven-game road trip.

Brett Jackson (0-for-4 with three strikeouts) has struggled at the plate since his call-up on August 5 but he’s not taking his problems at the plate with him to the field. Jackson made several fine plays Wednesday and continues to impress with his defense.

The Cubs finished the season with a 2-7 record at Miller Park … and over the last two years the Cubs are 3-15 in Milwaukee.

With Wednesday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 29 games under .500 with 47-76 record for the year …

The game started on a positive note for the Cubs. After taking the first pitch of the game for a strike, David DeJesus pulled a 3-1 pitch into deep right center. DeJesus’ sixth homer of the season (12th career leadoff home run) gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead. Yovani Gallardo took it in stride and retired the next three batters in order. Valbuena was caught looking at a 3-2 pitch. Starlin Castro did not take the bat of his shoulder and struck out looking on three pitches. Anthony Rizzo hit a liner back up the middle that Gallardo knocked down and threw to first to end the inning.

The Cubs one-run lead did not last long. Norichika Aoki punched a 0-2 pitch into left center. DeJesus and Jackson collided as they dove for the ball. DeJesus was shaken up a little and both players stayed in the game. Both Jackson and DeJesus avoided serious injury.

Travis Wood caught Rickie Weeks looking at a 3-2 pitch for the first out. Ryan Braun drove a 0-2 mistake from Wood into right. Bryan LaHair misplayed the ball. LaHair started in then broke back and by that time the ball had sailed over his head. Aoki scored easily and the game was tied at one on Braun’s double. Aramis Ramirez popped out to right for the second out.

Corey Hart put the Brewers ahead with a broken bat looping double down the left field line. Braun scored and the Brewers took a 2-1 lead. Wood struck out Martin Maldonado swinging to end the inning … 28 pitches for Wood in the first, 20 for strikes.

After one, the Cubs trailed 2-1.

Steve Clevenger worked a one out walk in the second … but that was all for the Cubs in the inning. Brett Jackson lined a 2-2 pitch right to Corey Hart. Hart caught the ball and stepped on first and doubled off Clevenger to end the inning.

The Brewers were not able to tack on the second after a one-out single by Cody Ransom. Yovani Gallardo bunted a 0-1 pitch back to Wood. Wood threw to second and forced Ransom. Aoki grounded out to first on Wood’s 38th pitch of the game (28 strikes) to end the inning.

Darwin Barney reached on an error by Ransom at short to start the third. Travis Wood could not get a bunt down and grounded into a 5-4 fielder’s choice. Wood beat Weeks’ throw to first then was doubled up when DeJesus rolled into a 6-4-3 inning ending double play … the second inning ending double play in as many innings. Gallardo needed 47 pitches, 26 for strikes, to get through three innings.

Travis Wood retired the side in order in the third.

The Cubs wasted an opportunity to put runs on the board in the fourth. After Valbuena tapped back to the mound for the first out, Starlin Castro singled to right and Anthony Rizzo singled to left … but LaHair struck out swinging and Steve Clevenger grounded out to first to end the inning … 64 pitches for Gallardo after four, 37 for strikes.

Corey Hart led off the fourth with a double to left … the Brewers’ fifth hit, fourth double. Maldonado flied out to right, Hart advanced to third with one down. Travis Wood struck out Carlos Gomez (swinging) and Cody Ransom (looking) to end the inning. Wood needed 58 pitches to complete four innings, 44 for strikes.

Yovani Gallardo struck out the side (Jackson, Barney and Wood) looking in the fifth … 77 pitches for Gallardo after five, 46 for strikes.

Travis Wood set down the side in order in the fifth.

Other than a two-out walk by Starlin Castro, the Cubs did nothing in the sixth. Gallardo was cruising at that point, eight strikeouts for the Brewers’ ace on 93 pitches, 56 for strikes.

Ryan Braun led off the sixth with his 34th homer of the season. Braun crushed a 1-1 pitch over the wall in center … 3-1 Brewers. Wood struck out Aramis Ramirez, retired Hart on a flyout to right and Maldonado flied out to Brett Jackson in right center to end the inning. Wood threw 85 pitches over six innings, 63 for strikes.

After six, the Cubs trailed 3-1.

Bryan LaHair launched the first pitch he saw in the seventh into the second deck beyond the right field wall. LaHair’s first home run since July 4 (Atlanta, Randall Delgado) cut the Brewers lead to 3-2. Steve Clevenger and Brett Jackson struck out looking and Barney grounded out to second to end the inning.

Travis Wood walked Carlos Gomez to start the seventh. Ransom bunted Gomez to second. Jonathan Lucroy was called on to hit for Gallardo. Gomez took off for third on a 1-0 pitch to Lucroy. The ball was in the dirt and got away from Clevenger. The ball rolled toward the dugout. Clevenger hustled and picked up the ball as Gomez got up and took off for the plate. Clevenger threw to Wood, who tagged Gomez for the second out. Lucroy flied out to deep left to end the inning.

Jim Henderson took over for Gallardo in the eighth. Josh Vitters hit for Wood and rolled a 2-2 pitch to Weeks for the first out. DeJesus worked a walk. Luis Valbuena lined a 3-2 pitch into right center. Aoki caught the ball as DeJesus retreated to first. The ball beat DeJesus to the bag and he was called out … but Hart dropped the ball, the ump reversed the call. Starlin Castro struck out swinging (tenth strikeout of the game for the Cubs) to end the inning.

James Russell retired Aoki to start the eighth. Dale Sveum used Russell for one batter then summoned Shawn Camp. Rickie Weeks flied out to center for the second out. Ryan Braun popped a 2-0 pitch down the right field line. LaHair had trouble with the ball and Braun ended up at third with a triple. Ramirez flied out to Jackson in deep left center to end the inning.

The Cubs went to the ninth trailing 3-2.

John Axford struck out Anthony Rizzo swinging for the first out. LaHair worked a full count before he struck out swinging. Steve Clevenger singled to right center. Joe Mather ran for Clevenger but did not advance … Brett Jackson struck out swinging to end the game.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs have Thursday off and open a three-game series Friday at Wrigley against the Rockies … Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to face lefty Drew Pomeranz in the opener Friday afternoon.

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Quote of the Day

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  • Ripsnorter1

    Albert Pujols and $254 million dollar contract.

    Big contracts weigh heavy on the mind. Albert is currently having his worst year in all of these categories:
    Batting average
    slugging percentage
    on base percentage
    Base on balls
    OPS

    • Tony_Hall

      Only 9 more years left too! You just can’t sign these guys to these long term contracts when they are in their 30′s. I sure hope the GM’s and owners figure this out, but as in all sales, it only takes one.

  • Guest

    This is the worst Cubs team I have ever seen in my life.. its a disgrace

    • Aaron

      Indeed it’s a disgrace, but remember that this purging of bloated contracts and underperforming veterans in favor of a decent youth base was looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong overdue.

      I still have faith that Theo, Jed, and Jason know what they’re doing. After all, the San Diego Padres seem to be well on their way to respectability with the talent base they built up under Jed, Jason, and Jaron, all of whom are with the Cubs now.

      Just look at the draft from this year, and even though they didn’t have a hand in it….some of the other guys coming up through the system. While none of the teams are playing well this year throughout the system (except rookie ball), here’s a list of guys to look out for in the future:
      Starters:
      Peralta
      Rosario
      Arias
      Maples
      Blackburn
      Underwood
      Whitenack
      Jensen
      Ben Wells
      Conway
      P. Johnson
      Kirk

      Relievers:
      Dolis
      Cabrera
      Zych
      Batista
      Rhoderick
      Cervenka
      Morris
      McDonald
      Lang

      Catchers:
      Castillo
      Lopez
      Krist
      Marra
      Escobar

      1B:
      Bour
      Vogelbach
      Shoulders

      2B:
      Cardenas
      Watkins
      Torreyes
      DeVoss (look at his OBP and walk #’s)
      Amaya
      Bruno

      SS:
      Lake
      Alcantara
      Baez
      Saunders
      M. Hernandez

      3B:
      Vitters
      Villanueva
      Geiger
      Candelario

      OF:
      B Jackson
      Soler
      Almora
      Szczur
      Andreoli (look at OBP/SB)
      Dunston Jr.

      Are all of them going to work out? Heck no!!!!!! But what I’m saying is the cupboard is not as bare as many think it is. Everything will sort itself out.

      Look, the best thing about this season is the fact the team struggled. Had they not, we likely would not have seen a firesale. Getting Vizcaino for Maholm and Johnson was a stroke of genius. Neither factored into long-term plans, along with: Baker, Dempster, etc.

      I would’ve liked to have seen Garza dealt for several top prospects, but with his injury, that’s not going to happen now. I still would like to see Soriano, Camp, Marmol, etc. dealt, and I never want to see Volstad or Travis Wood in Cubs uniforms next year.

      You have to admit that if Hendry was still calling the shots, we’d likely have 35 year olds playing down the stretch in a lost season. How do I know? When he took over in 2002, the Cubs were completely out of contention in 2002, 2005, 2006, 2010, and 2011 and all we saw were veterans down the stretch playing out the string. Why would it have changed?

      I loved Sveum’s quote about the challenges of watching the young guys play, and how he said that by playing youngsters down the stretch, at least they have an idea of what they need to work on in the offseason for next year, and it gives the not only the players and idea, but the organization on what they have to deal with.

      Young players under Hendry might have received 20 AB’s tops in September when nothing mattered. Most of these guys have been playing since July, and gaining valuable experience.

      I would expect guys like Rizzo, Cardenas, Castillo, and possibly even Vitters will open the season with the team next year, though I believe there’s a chance both Vitters and Jackson will be either traded in the offseason or start next year at Iowa, and they’ll use the same formula they did with Rizzo (about having a full season of AB’s). I could see both players being used as sweeteners in trades for starting pitching.

      • SuzyS

        Well stated,Aaron.
        Your position mirrors my own…but your knowledge of the minors far exceeds mine. I don’t necessarily agree with everything you say…but the basic gist of things work.
        I think back 2-3 years ago when we were advocating this type of change back then. It’s a shame that Hendry had us hamstrung with bloated, inefficient contracts that made us as immovable as the Titanic trying to avoid the iceberg.

        Baseball has it’s own timetable for change. Texas had a loaded minor league system for years before it showed up at the mlb level. The advantage we have over the Texas situation is deeper pockets when the time comes to use them….But still…this process will take awhile…and we’ll have to factor in the vagaries of the game…injury’s, mistakes, etc.

        Still, I’m content with the overall direction this organization is headed for….Just wished we could have done it a little sooner.

  • jw

    Just about 40 days to the end of this throw away season…Sure would be nice to see some real future difference makers in the new pitchers …looks like most brought up are in the crafty hit your spot 4th or 5th starter catagory…where are they going to get their number 1 and 2… without those guys you ain’t going anywhere in the postseasons of the future. They will draft in the top 5 next year…they better find a stud
    The Dempster fiasco was a real bummer. I hope they got guys that are better than the sandwich picks in next year”s draft. Please not more long term bloated contracts, no-trade clauses and second class “stars” that no one else wants.

  • Aaron

    Tom or Neil….

    Did either of you see the box score for the AZL Cubs? Ben Wells showed up in it. Was that a misprint? I know he had an elbow injury, and believe he had TJ surgery. Could that be Randy Wells in the box score? AZ Phil at TCR has said in the past that AZL Rookie League official scorers have lapses with regards to record keeping, so it might very well be a misprint….just wondering if either of you knew if he’s already back.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Aaron, and Tyler Colvin….

    Quade had shot his confidence here. He needed to be dealt. I sure didn’t want Ian Stewart, but we got him, much to our sorrow….

    But looking at the 2012 Colvin, he simply reverted to the 2010 Colvin…..250 hitter with power and mega strikeouts. Look at his splits…

    2012 totals..
    .292 BA….332 OBP…..545 slugging. Man, that smokes David DeJesus! But remember, he plays in Colorado and those Rocky Mtns….so what are his away stats?

    He’s a Cub again…

    .266 BA….295 OBP….460 slugging. Which is okay, but not stellar.

    Look at his Rocky Mtn stats:
    .315 BA….366 OBP!….624 slugging!!! ALL-Star!

    Inflated stats by the stadium. He fans at the same rate everywhere, but he walks twice as much in Colorado.