No Defending Bad Defense – Cubs 1, Brewers 5

Game Sixteen – Cubs 1, Brewers 5

WP – Hiram Burgos (1-0) LP – Edwin Jackson (0-3) Save – None

The Cubs gave another game away on Saturday night in Milwaukee. The Brewers scored four unearned runs on three charged Cubs’ errors that was the difference in the game. The Cubs have now lost 17 of the last 19 games at Miller Park.

The Cubs played another sloppy game. While they were charged with three errors that tied them for the league lead in errors (15), there were two other miscues on routine plays. All of the errors were on routine plays and should not be made by big leaguers.

Edwin Jackson pitched a good game. The Brewers managed only two hard hit balls against Jackson in his six innings of work. Jackson was charged with one of the Cubs three errors that led to two Brewers’ runs in the sixth. The Brewers took the lead off Jackson in the fourth by scoring two runs without a hit and tacked onto their lead in the sixth on Jackson’s miscue.

Edwin Jackson took the loss after allowing five runs, one earned, on four hits, one walk and four strikeouts in six innings. The only earned run charged to Jackson was a solo homer off the bat of Jonathan Lucroy in the second inning. Jackson threw 91 pitches, 62 for strikes, and other than his error put together his best outing of the season.

Hector Rondon worked around another poor play in the field without allowing any runs in the seventh while Kameron Loe kept his former team off the board in the eighth.

The Cubs offense made it easy for Hiram Burgos in his big league debut. Burgos faced the minimum the first time through the lineup and allowed only one run in his five innings of work.

Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a run scored) extended his hitting streak to 12 games and scored the Cubs only run on a single by Alfonso Soriano (1-for-4 with a RBI) in the fourth. Nate Schierholtz (1-for-4 with a double) and Dave Sappelt (1-for-1 with a double) managed the Cubs only extra basehits.

The Cubs were 1-for-4 with RISP and left five on base.

There is an understanding the organization is building for the future, but the sloppy play that has been on display for a majority of this season must come to an end. The mental and physical mistakes that the Cubs are making on a daily basis should not be accepted or tolerated.

Edwin Jackson retired the side in order to start the game on 13 pitches, seven for strikes. After Rickie Weeks grounded out to Barney to start the second, Jonathan Lucroy collected the Brewers’ first hit … a home run to left center. Jackson then retired Jordan Schafer and Martin Maldonado on a grounder to third on the 12th pitch of the at bat. Jackson needed 34 pitches, 22 for strikes, to complete two innings of work.

The Cubs continued making it easy on Hiram Burgos and went down in order in the third. The offense managed only one hit and Burgos faced the minimum the first time through the lineup.

Edwin Jackson set down the side in order in the third and retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced on Saturday night.

The Cubs finally broke thru and put a run on the board in the fourth. DeJesus struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch for the first out. Starlin Castro extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a single to right on a 3-1 pitch. Rizzo hit a weak grounder to Weeks that advanced Castro to second with two outs.

Alfonso Soriano blooped a single into center out of the reach of Weeks. Castro scored and tied the game at one. Nate Schierholtz followed with a double down the left field line. Schierholtz hit the ball off the end of the bat. Soriano held at third with two outs. Dioner Navarro launched a 3-2 pitch to deep center that Schafer caught on the track to end the inning.

The game remained tied until the bottom of the fifth.

The Cubs defense fell apart in the fifth. The Brewers took the lead for good without the benefit of a hit. Jordan Schafer blooped a 0-1 pitch into left. Soriano broke back then ran in and tried to make a diving catch. The ball hit off Soriano’s glove and Schafer ended up at second with what was originally scored as a double. It was quickly changed to an error on Soriano … and the inning turned ugly for Jackson and the defense.

Jackson walked Maldonado. With runners on first and second with no outs, Betancourt grounded out to first. Schafer and Maldonado advanced ninety feet on the play. Ron Roenicke went to his bench and sent up Blake Lalli to hit for Hiram Burgos. With the infield in, Lalli hit a routine grounder toward first. Rizzo fielded the ball cleanly but then lost the handle on it in the exchange as he tried to step on first. The ball ended up in foul ground. Rizzo flipped the ball to Jackson covering first and got the out but Schafer scored, 2-1 Brewers. Aoki then hit a grounder toward short. Castro charged and fielded the ball but dropped it in the exchange. Maldonado scored, 3-1 Brewers, on the Cubs second charged error of the inning. Jackson retired Segura to end the inning … but the Brewers scored two runs without a hit.

The Cubs did nothing against Brandon Kintzler in the sixth … and the defense gave the Brewers two more runs in the sixth.

Ryan Braun led off the sixth with a single to left. Jackson struck out Weeks swinging. Jonathan Lucroy then tapped back to the mound. Jackson fielded the ball cleanly but paused before throwing toward second. Jackson airmailed his throw, the ball was probably 15 feet above Barney’s head. The ball ended up in center and the Brewers had runners on first and third with one out. Schafer dropped down a bunt. Braun scored on the safety squeeze as Jackson fielded the ball and tagged Schafer. Maldonado pulled a 1-0 pitch into left. Lucroy scored … 5-1 Brewers. All four of Maldonado’s RBI this season has come off Edwin Jackson. Betancourt struck out swinging to end the inning.

Hector Rondon replaced Jackson in the seventh … and was the victim of another bad play in the field.

Rondon retired Schafer and Aoki rather easily to start the seventh and made a nice play on a grounder between his legs to retire Aoki for the second out. But Nate Schierholtz could not make what appeared to be a routine catch on a fly ball in right center. Jean Segura ended up at second with a double. Rondon intentionally walked Braun then unintentionally walked Rickie Weeks. Rondon settled down and retired Lucroy on a flyout to right center.

Dave Sappelt doubled with one out in the eighth off Mike Gonzalez and Anthony Rizzo singled to right center to start the ninth off Gonzalez … but neither player advanced as the Cubs inability to hit with runners on base continued.

The Brewers won their sixth straight on Saturday night … while the Cubs dropped to six games under .500.

Scott Feldman faces Wily Peralta in the series finale with the Brewers on Sunday afternoon.

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  • paulcatanese

    How many walks did the Cubs have tonight? I think 0, what happened to working the counts? I think they had six Ks on top of that. Couldn’t get the game but didn’t need to, saw the box score on another program.
    Again I think the problem comes with players in and out
    (roster), it takes time for a roster to jell, to know each other and in general play as a team, these guys haven’t played together that long. I think theirs a lot of stress going on out there to perform and it shows.
    Again as with seasons past, the flip flop with the lineup against lefty’s and righty’s hurts. They need to have a set lineup going. I do not understand the lack of faith with left handed hitters when a lefty is on the mound against them.
    They are not that bad, but when they get good pitching, they don’t hit and the reverse, good hitting and the pitching is bad.
    I understand the rebuilding process, but how in the world do they even know what they have when they continually bring players in and out?

    • Ripsnorter1

      Okay, Paul….a few stats for you….

      RUNS: Cubs are #28 in MLB with 55. Only Dodgers (47) and Miami (37) are worse. BTW, expect Miami to beat us out for a better draft pick.

      BB: Cubs have 34, #28 in MLB. Only KC (32) and ChiSox (28) are worse. Expect ChiSox to climb past the Cubs, once Adam Dunn wakes up.

      Ground balls: the Cubs are #28 in MLB for GBs. Only ChiSox and Twins are worse.

      OBP: Cubs are #26 at .288. Only the pathetic Seattle (.285), Toronto (.284), ChiSox (.273)and Miami (.266) are worse. (I pity their poor fans).

      BA: Cubs are #25 with a lousy .235. Miami is dead last with a .206 team batting average.

      SO: the Cubs are #12 for most SO with 130. Houston is on a pace to set a world’s record. Last year’s Oakland A’s set the All-Time MLB record for K’s with 1387. Astros are on a pace to fan 1582 times. Call up Vitters and Jackson, and we could challenge Houston for the World’s Record.

      SB: Cubs are 9 for 11, 14th in MLB in SB.

      GOOD NEWS: Cubs are #13 in slugging (.407). Miami is dead last with a pathetic .275! That is not a MLB team.

      If the Cubs didn’t have the slugging, we’d really be in a world of hurt.

      • SuzyS

        Rip…nice contributions on your posts.
        However, I think we’re already in a world of hurt…with or without slugging.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Penrod/700030874 Jason Penrod

        Expect Miami to ‘wake up’ as well once Stanton starts getting back to form… He’s hitting terrible right now. But you’re right, we have competition for the #1 overall pick.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Realistically, Paul, I’d have to say I’d agree with the Sveum platoon system at this time. Players like DeJesus, Sappelt, Hairston, Valbuena, Schierholtz, and others have proven that they cannot hit above .200 against pitchers who pitch with the same hand in which they bat.

      DeJesus…..149 vs. LHP last year. Why not let someone who kills LHP take his place? Sappelt (who wouldn’t even make my team) is a career .292 hitter vs. LHP.

      Hairston: .286 vs. LHP, .239 vs. RHP in 2012.

      Schierholtz: 2012….175 vs LHP, .287 vs RHP.

      I don’t think DeJesus is going to learn to hit LHP at age 33.

      • Tony_Hall

        Nice post.

      • paulcatanese

        Nice post Rip, but I still think there’s a lot of confusion in that dugout, and front office. You’re stats tell me that the front office is bringing in one dimensional players and are looked at as such by FO.

        • Tony_Hall

          Not one dimensional, that would be bat only, glove only, power hitter only. Platoons don’t mean one dimensional.

          • paulcatanese

            OK Tony, I meant with the bat,as a lot has been stressed on OBP.

          • Tony_Hall

            Most every player is better against the opposite hand pitcher and unless you are a top player, teams will look to complement these players with bench players who do well against their weakness. I don’t consider that to mean they are one dimensional.

    • Tony_Hall

      Who hasn’t been playing together? Not sure how turning over the bottom of the roster has an effect on the guys playing everyday. They had a bad game last night, which magnifies the bad start. But bringing in a new utility infielder and a 6th OF and new 6th/7th bullpen arms, really has no effect on the starters who just played poorly. A Sunday benching for a few of them could the answer as there next day off isn’t until May 6th.

      • paulcatanese

        Tony, look at the team when Barney wasn’t out there. Many mistakes ( although) not in the box score. The infield was out of synch. Valbuena and a few others moving over the 2b. Timing was off during that stretch.

        The bottom of the roster is worse than last year with what has been added. What had been picked up by Atlanta and Texas were better,

        to say that they were not in future plans and the ones that were picked up are or not is just treading water.

        I am talking about position players, not pitchers .

        • Tony_Hall

          But you normally are blaming the FO and I doubt they wanted Barney to get hurt.

          • paulcatanese

            Barney is not the sole fault. His absence caused multiple people to alter the flow of the infield.
            In recourse I was talking about Jeff Baker and Reed Johnson that should have been retained, I just feel they are better than what was brought in, (for whatever amount of time) they also could have been fillers.
            FO or not , the present players are here, and they must produce.

          • Tony_Hall

            Baker has been replaced by no one yet, as Valbuena was already here and Lillibridge failed, so he was better.

            Reed was replaced by Hairston and I doubt many teams wouldn’t take Hairston over Reed Johnson, and I liked Reed.

          • paulcatanese

            I don’t know about Hairston, haven’t followed him at all. Johnson was pretty darn good at what he did, not particularly
            a favorite of mine, but have to admit he did his job. Just don’t know about Hairston.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Team Fielding….

    Cubs are the worst in MLB.

    *Most errors by a team. 30 Errors already.

    *Lowest fielding percentage at .975.

    • GaryLeeT

      Did you add pass balls, and wild pitches as errors?

      • Ripsnorter1

        CUBS LEAD THE LEAGUE IN WILD PITCHES!!

        13

        Cubs lead the league with balks: 1.

        • Tony_Hall

          That is a lot of wild pitches in just 16 games. Castillo has 2 PB and 6 WP’s in 104 innings, but Navarro has 1 PB and 7 WP’s in only 35 innings. Not sure they can go with Navarro as the back-up much longer. We need to find a defensive minded catcher to be the back-up.

          • Ripsnorter1

            I agree. George Kotteras is going to be available soon. Pick him up, Jed style.

          • Tony_Hall

            Maybe you don’t realize, but all teams make claims on players. But in the month of April the order is based on last years record in all MLB. After April it goes by current record and by league. So if the Blue Jays put a player on waivers the entire AL would have to not claim him before the the NL would have an opportunity. What this means is that the Cubs have the 2nd waiver spot right now and will have more opportunities to claim any player they feel is an improvement.

            Here is the full list of transactions for the month of April. It is quite lengthy, because all teams make lots of moves.

            http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/transactions/#month=4&year=2013

            Here is also an article about waiver claims by player on mlbtraderumors.com.

            http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2013/04/players-claimed-off-waivers-multiple-times.html

            And here is another one by team.

            http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2013/04/which-gms-are-most-active-on-the-waiver-wire.html

            The Blue Jays are a team that people are saying are going for it this year, yet they lead the majors in waiver claims over the last 12 months with 22 or more than 2x the amount of the Cubs who came in 3rd behind the Yankees 14 claims.

            In all there have been 133 waiver claims in the last 12 months, of which the Cubs have made 7.5% of them. And think about this, they have been one of the first teams to be able to claim players, yet 2 teams with better records have made more claims.

            I think waiver claims have a lot more to do with AAA rosters not having what is needed when a need arises then anything else. And we all know that the Cubs farm system is not well at the upper levels, after years of neglect. I believe in the next 2 years, as more players make it up through the minors, that we will see less and less waiver claims then we see today.

    • Tony_Hall

      I only see 15 errors. 975 is right.

      Too many for sure

      Castro 4
      Feldman 2
      Valbuena 2

      No one else with more than 1, so as a team it seems like they have games like last night , where it all falls apart as a group.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Team Pitching:

    *Cubs have given up most SB in MLB.

    *Cubs have the 7th best BAA at .235. Pittsburgh leads the world with .210 BAA.

    *Our starters have a collective 3.19 ERA (#7 in MLB). If you could only take Scott Feldman out, we’d have the best staff in MLB.

    * Our bullpen…aka, Gasoline Alley…5.31 ERA. Only the Nats bullpen and the Mets are worse at 5.33 and 5.47. (We are worse than Houston and Miami).

    *BB allowed: Excellent! We are #7 for fewest BBs allowed out of the bullpen.

    *SO…not so good. Our bullpen rates #27 in K’s.

    • Tony_Hall

      They have also thrown out the 2nd most with 7 CS’s. Only Baltimore has more at 8 CS’s.

      Overall they have the 12th best rate of throwing out base stealers.

      And again, it is Navarro making this worse not better.

      Castillo 9 SB’s 6 CS’s 600 rate
      Navarro 7 SB’s 1 CS’s 875 rate

      Navarro needs to go or learn to play 3B….

      • Tom U

        Unfortunately, this is one of the things I warned about when Navarro was signed. On paper, he looks like the kind of back-up you would like, but he has been far too inconsistent over his career.

        In spite of his injury, the Cubs may have been better off with Clevenger as the back-up, with JC Boscan and Jair Fernandez ready for the call when the injury came.

        More about the front office maybe over-thinking things in a later post.

        • Tony_Hall

          Not sure Clevenger is the guy either. I am thinking more Hank White territory.

          • Tom U

            For the future, probably no, but for the present, yes. On this team, Clevenger is good enough to spell your regular catcher once a week or so, with some occasional pinch-hitting appearances. Remember, he’s just a back-up, there are better teams with far worse players in that position.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Clevenger has proven to everyone that he’s not the answer–except for the DL. I do not mean that in a mean way, but he cannot stay on the field, so he’s not the answer.

        • Ripsnorter1

          I told ya’ll when Geo. Kotteras came up on waivers that the Cubs should claim him, but Jed Hall said, “We just signed Navarro. He’s better.” Now look at the mess we’re in.

          LOL

          • Tony_Hall

            Theo Hall not Jed….

            Any idea how the Royals have only 2 catchers and yet Kottaras has only played 1 inning all year.

            I can see why they went more offensive, when you look at this team, you know they need more offense, I just don’t agree with that concept.

            One thing that does look right is that Castillo is looking like a guy to keep around for a long time.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Castillo has a CANNON. Probably the 2nd best arm for a catcher in MLB, from what I’ve seen.

    • Baron_S

      Also the most team errors
      http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/team/_/stat/fielding

      You’d think that if youre still honing talent, you can at least smack the players into tightening up defense — disheartening!

      • Tony_Hall

        I have heard that smaking players is an effective way to get them to not commit errors……

  • Tom U

    I know that there are readers here who are interested. Here is some bad news about former Cubs’ prospect Hak-Ju Lee

    http://www.milb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130421&content_id=45377658&fext=.jsp&vkey=news_milb&sid=milb

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Raymond-Robert-Koenig/1295439291 Raymond Robert Koenig

      Best wishes for a successful recovery.

    • Tony_Hall

      That is too bad about Lee. He is still just 22 and hopefully will recover.

      For as much as people think he can’t hit, he was off to a good start.

      “Considered one of baseball’s best shortstop prospects because of his advanced glove, Lee was off to a hot start with his bat, hitting .422/.536/.600 through 15 games with the Bulls. That was well above the South Korea native’s .290/.364/.388 averages through four-plus seasons since signing with the organization in March 2008.”

    • GaryLeeT

      Tell the Rays the Cubs have more Shortstops if they need a new one, and it will only cost them David Price.

      • Tony_Hall

        Now that is a trade I think makes sense. A true ace, in his prime is worth, with mechanics that look like they will allow him to have a long career.

        • Ray Ray

          You are funny. How would that trade make sense on a 100 loss team and the Garza trade didn’t?

          • Tony_Hall

            Garza was and is not an ACE.

            You would want a 48 hour window to extend him.

            When Garza was done you knew the team needed to be rebuilt and it would take at least until Garza was eligible for FA before the team would be competitive again.

            Price would be brought in to sit on top of a rotation that would be competitive.

            1. Price
            2. Samardzija
            3. Garza
            4 Appel (most likely moving up from 4)
            5 Jackson

            That has the making of a top rotation, as Jackson would have competition from Wood and Villanueva and then the young arms that are mostly in A ball would have time to come up and start replacing guys as they get older.

            I have stated for a long time that this team needs a true ACE to sit on top of this rotation. Price is one of the few options that they can get from another team.

          • Ray Ray

            What do you think it would take to get Price? The Garza trade was giving up a quantity of prospects who were not going to be impact major leaguers. So to aquire Price you would have to give up Castro,Pierce Johnson,Almora and/or Baez. This is not giving up guys like Lee,Archer,Guyer etc. Of course it would be nice to have Price but this will cost them a hell of a lot more than Garza.

          • Tony_Hall

            It is well worth exploring. I don’t get into guessing what teams would take in trades as it is usually all wrong.

            But it would take top prospects obviously. Having a better farm system isn’t all about trying to get them all to your team, it is about using them to get true difference makers as well.

          • GaryLeeT

            If a trade were done next offseason, there would only be 1 year of control left on Price. I was thinking it would only take Castro (long term cost effective contract already in place) and Almora. I would like the Cubs to hang onto Soler and Baez.

          • Ray Ray

            Now if they would take Rizzo instead of Castro as the main piece….,I would talk.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Penrod/700030874 Jason Penrod

            Give them Baez and Vogelbach. Both are blocked at the MLB level. Start with that, and fill in the rest.

          • SuzyS

            I actually expect the Cubs to try and make a move in that direction (ACE) this upcoming year. It depends on several things…including the draft/If Shark signs long term/What they do with Garza…trade/extend/offer arb…How Vizcaino looks at the end of the season….I do believe that the goal is to have an ACE in place by the beginning of 2014.

          • GoCubs23

            Because Price is a difference maker who could win the Cy Young annually. Garza is a 2/3 who is more of a “nice to have” on a winning ballclub and a “trade piece” on a loser.

    • SuzyS

      Sorry to see that about Lee. I’ve been rooting for him all along.
      It just shows the patience required when we are talking about the minor league system to produce results.
      “Quality/Quantity” prospects at all levels are required for a good system to survive the vagaries of injuries and performance in the milb system.
      Hopefully, we’re working to that.

  • redlarczykg

    Tom U.
    Where can we find Reggie Golden? Is he on the DL again?

    • Tom U

      Golden is currently in EXT and has been assigned to the Boise Hawks’ roster. He may have to repeat that level due to being out all last season. At 21 years old, that’s not considered to be a step backwards.