Cubs Can’t Strop the Brewers – Cubs 0, Brewers 5

Game One Hundred Four– Cubs 0, Brewers 5

WP – Brandon Kintzler (3-0) LP – Pedro Strop (1-1, 1-4) Save – None

The Cubs’ struggles with the Brewers and the National League Central continued on Monday night. The Cubs lost for the sixth time in nine games to the Brewers, a team with only 38 wins against the rest of baseball.

It was a nothing-nothing game going into the ninth after Jeff Samardzija silenced the Brewers for seven innings. The Cubs struggles with runners in scoring position continued on Monday night and they could not cash in multiple chances to put runs on the board against Kyle Lohse. After six at bats, the Cubs were 1-for-8 with RISP and left nine men on base.

Pedro Strop took the hill in the ninth, and not Kevin Gregg because he was unavailable. Strop gave up his first runs as a Cub and before Blake Parker could record the third out, the Brewers put a five spot on the board. Strop issued a leadoff walk to Jean Segura and a single to Jonathan Lucroy to start the inning. Carlos Gomez blooped a single into center and drove in the first run of the game. Jeff Bianchi delivered a two-run double to right and Rickie Weeks blooped a two-run double into right. Three of the Brewers five runs scored on two bloop hits. Strop was charged with five runs, all earned, on three hits with a walk and a strikeout in a third of an inning.

Jeff Samardzija was sharp on Monday night. Samardzija had very good command and appeared to be throwing the ball with ease, something he has not done in a while. Samardzija did not allow a hit until two outs in the fifth and turned the game over to the pen in the eighth. Samardzija tossed seven innings of shutout ball and allowed three hits, two walks, hit a batter and struck out seven on 109 pitches, 65 for strikes.

The Cubs offense put two runners on base in four of the first six innings and had at least one runner on base in six of the first seven innings. But they could not buy a hit that plated a run. The Cubs were 1-for-8 with RISP on Monday night and left nine runners on base. In the last 11 games, the Cubs are 9-for-84 with RISP.

Anthony Rizzo (2-for-4) and Junior Lake (2-for-4) collected four of the Cubs’ six hits. David DeJesus (1-for-4 with a double) and Luis Valbuena (1-for-4) had the other two hits.

With Monday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 48-56 on the season.

The Cubs had chances to put runs on the board in three of the first four innings while Jeff Samardzija was busy facing the minimum over the first four innings.

The Cubs put two on in the first with one out after David DeJesus led off with a double and Anthony Rizzo reached on a gift single to left. Rizzo hit a pop up into shallow left. Segura and Gindl gently collided and Gindl could not hold onto the ball. But Schierholtz struck out swinging and Castro flied out to right for the third out.

The Cubs made three very loud outs in the second. Valbuena flied out to deep left center. Barney flied out to Gomez at the wall in left center and Castillo smoked a ball back up the middle that Lohse caught for the third out. The Cubs made Kyle Lohse work (28 pitches, 18 strikes) but had nothing to show for it after two innings.

Junior Lake ended a 0-for-14 skid with a two-out single to left in the third. Anthony Rizzo singled to center. Lake advanced to third with two down. Schierholtz struck out swinging to end the inning. Lohse needed 50 pitches, 34 for strikes, to complete three innings. But the Cubs could not push across a run and was 1-for-5 with RISP and left four men on base in their first three at bats.

The game remained scoreless through the fourth and Samardzija took a no-hit, shutout into the fifth.

Samardzija hit Jonathan Lucroy on a 0-1 pitch to start the fifth. Carlos Gomez rapped into a 5-4-3 double play but he fell behind Caleb Gindl 3-1. Gindl ripped a single into center, the first hit off Samardzija. Juan Francisco worked a full count but Samardzija caught him looking to end the inning.

After the Cubs failed to put a run on the board in the fifth, Samardzija retired Jeff Bianchi on a flyout to center to start the sixth. Kyle Lohse singled to center on a 0-2 pitch. Samardzija then walked Rickie Weeks and put two on with one down for Aoki. Samardzija fell behind Aoki 3-0. Aoki ripped Samardzija’s next pitch back up the middle. Samardzija stuck out his right hand, knocked the ball down and threw out Aoki at first and both Lohse and Weeks moved up ninety feet. Samardzija struck out Segura swinging to end the inning. Samardzija threw 88 pitches over six innings, 54 for strikes.

The Cubs wasted yet another scoring chance in the sixth. Luis Valbuena reached on a one-out single to left. Barney rapped into what should have been a 4-6-3 double play, but Francisco dropped another ball. Castillo walked to put runners on first and second with two down. Jeff Samardzija grounded out to third to end the inning.

Jeff Samardzija stayed in for the seventh and struck out Gomez to start the inning. Caleb Gindl pulled a 1-0 pitch into right center for a double. Samardzija then walked Francisco and put two on for Jeff Bianchi. Samardzija retired Bianchi on a pop out to right to end the inning.

The game remained scoreless through the eighth. James Russell and Matt Guerrier retired the side in order in the eighth.

After the Cubs went down in order in the bottom of the eighth, Pedro Strop took the hill in the ninth.

Pedro Strop walked Jean Segura to start the ninth. Jonathan Lucroy followed with a single to left (1-2 pitch) and Strop was in trouble. Carlos Gomez blooped a single into center (0-2 pitch), Segura scored and the Brewers took a 1-0 lead. Gindl then dropped down a bunt. Castillo picked the ball up and threw to third. His throw was high and late. Strop struck out Francisco swinging with the bases loaded for the first out.

Jeff Bianchi put the game away with a double to right. Lucroy and Gomez scored, 3-0 Brewers. With runners on second and third with one out, Dale Sveum went to his pen for Blake Parker. Yuniesky Betancourt hit for Brandon Kintzler and struck out swinging. But Parker could not get out of the jam without allowing any more damage. Rickie Weeks blooped a double down the right field line. Gindl and Bianchi scored, 5-0 Brewers. Parker struck out Aoki swinging to finally end the inning.

Rob Wooten closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.

The Cubs play a day-night doubleheader on Tuesday. Carlos Villanueva is scheduled to face Yovani Gallardo in game one. Jake Arrieta is scheduled to make his Cubs’ debut against Tyler Thornburg in the second game.

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  • paulcatanese

    It’s amazing how many times over the last few games the pitchers have gone 3-4 innings without giving up a hit, been some good starts.
    But the old cliché, you can’t win if you can’t score, that’s a tough loss. Would have been better to go into the last of the ninth behind by one, but it was not to be.

  • SirGladiator

    As a reliever, walking the leadoff hitter is simply inexcusable. Of course it doesn’t have to lead to giving up 5 runs, but bad things happen when you start doing things like that. Also, are we ‘ever’ going to actually get the lead runner out on a bunt? No matter how dumb the decision is they always want to go that way, and it never works. I guess at this point just keep doing it until it works once regardless of how stupid it is, or finally wake up and take the free out the other team is trying to give you. Awesome job by Samarja, hopefully he earned us some bigtime prospects with that performance. And good to see Lake finally breaking out of his huge slump. But that inability to hit with RISP continues, I blame the lack of a decent hitting coach on that, it’s a different situation when there’s a runner in scoring position, the other team’s pitcher is going to be pitching differently, and you’ve got to know how to adjust to that. Our guys don’t. That was LaHair’s problem last year, he was like 1-30 at one point with RISP, before that he was one of the best hitters in baseball. We just don’t have anybody telling our guys how to make adjustments when there are RISP, sure would be nice to have a decent hitting coach. Definitely a game we should’ve won, and easily. Samarja not getting the win in a game he dominated, no excuse for that. Here’s hoping we can pull off one of those blockbuster trades they’re talking about, then all our focus should be finding a real hitting coach.

  • bpot92

    Can anyone tell me who is scheduled to pitch the second game tomorrow? I am going to it and hear that Arrieta might be a possibility. Would be nice to see a new guy start while i’m there since he has potential.

    • Neil

      Arrieta is starting the night game.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Arrieta has been wild this year. Even in Iowa his WHIP was 1.522.
      He gave up more hits than IP. In 22 IP he made 3 WP and 24 H allowed.
      10 BB and he hit 2 batters. That’s not a sterling pitching record.

      And don’t forget that his ML stats for 2013 are 1.775 WHIP in Baltimore.

      I don’t expect a shutout, even against this poor offensive team that
      lacks Braun, Aram, and Corey Hart. Even Segura is day to day after
      being hit by a pitch in the forearm. No, he’ll pitch against the “B” team.
      But he’s a C pitcher until he can find control.

      • SirGladiator

        I think his most recent start was actually pretty good. So that’s one in a row at least :) . I’m looking forward to seeing Arietta, I want to see if he’s really as bad as his numbers suggest, or if he seems to have genuine talent, as others have suggested. Certainly he’s got one of the easiest lineups in baseball to face, so if he’s going to show anything this year, now would be the time. And if he’s as terrible as most of his AAA starts have been, this should be both his first and last start in the majors this year. Let him continue to work on his control and try again in Spring Training next year. But either way, at least he should make tomorrow night interesting, and here’s hoping he makes it interesting for a couple hours instead of 10 minutes :) .