Garza Sticks It to the Cubs – Brewers 5, Cubs 2

Game Twenty-Two: Cubs 2, Brewers 5

WP – Matt Garza (1-2) LP – Carlos Villanueva (1-5) Save – Francisco Rodriguez (10)

Matt Garza got the revenge he was looking for against the Cubs on Friday night in Milwaukee. Garza picked up his first win in a Brewers’ uniform after limiting the team that traded him away last summer to two runs on four hits with one walk and seven strikeouts in seven innings. The Cubs allowed Garza to get comfortable and he pounded the zone throughout his outing.

The Cubs offense did very little against Garza and the Brewers’ bullpen. Emilio Bonifacio (1-for-4 with a RBI) drove in Ryan Sweeney (1-for-2 with a RBI, a walk and a run scored) with the Cubs’ first run in the third inning. Sweeney plated Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a run scored) with a groundout to first in the seventh inning. Nate Schierholtz (1-for-4 with a double) just missed a two-run homer in the seventh and settled for a double, the Cubs only extra basehit in the game. Ryan Kalish (1-for-1) collected the Cubs other hit.

The Cubs managed two runs on five hits with one walk and 12 strikeouts on Friday night. And the team was 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position while leaving four men on base.

The hits just keep on coming off of Carlos Villanueva. Villanueva had another bad outing and while Junior Lake and the Cubs’ defense did not help him, Villanueva threw too many hittable pitches that the Brewers squared up. Even the outs Villanueva recorded were hit rather hard throughout his five-inning outing.

Carlos Villanueva surrendered two runs in the first, then single runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings. The Brewers had runners on base in all but one of Villanueva’s innings and scored five runs on 11 hits with one walk and one strikeout. And Villanueva was not as good as his final line indicates. Villanueva threw 98 pitches, 59 for strikes, over five innings.

Neil Ramirez made his big league debut and was very good in the sixth inning. Ramirez issued a one out walk to Scooter Gennett before striking out Ryan Braun swinging for his first strikeout. Ramirez started Aramis Ramirez off with a fastball and the ball was smoked into left and right into Junior Lake’s glove to end the inning.

Wesley Wright pitched two innings of scoreless ball while allowing only one hit with three strikeouts. Ramirez and Wright did their jobs; the Cubs’ offense could not get anything going against Matt Garza and the Brewers’ pen.

The Cubs played a sloppy game in the field. Welington Castillo made a couple of bad throws on steal attempts and the team in general appeared lackadaisical in the field.

Junior Lake had a rough night. Lake misplayed what should have been a routine fly ball in the first inning in to a run scoring double and on the next play airmailed his throw to the plate trying to make up for his pervious miscue. Lake went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts before being double switched out of the game. Lake broke the bat over his knee when he struck out swinging in the fifth inning.

With Friday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 7-15 on the season.

After Matt Garza mowed the Cubs down in order on 16 pitches, 11 for strikes, to start the game, Carlos Gomez ripped a 2-0 pitch from Carlos Villanueva into left field. Gomez swiped second on the first pitch to Scooter Gennett. Villanueva worked Gennett back to a 3-2 count after falling behind early in the at bat. Gennett hit a liner to left that Junior Lake simply did not catch. Lake appeared to lose the ball in the lights. Gomez scored, 1-0 Brewers. Gennett was given a double on what should have been an error. Ryan Braun stepped in and ran his hit streak to 11 games against Cubs’ pitching. Braun lashed a single into left field. Junior Lake came up throwing and not only missed the cutoff man, but the ball ended up hitting the backstop. Gennett scored easily and Braun rounded second. Villanueva picked the ball up and threw toward second. Braun retreated. The ball ended up in center but was unable to advance.

Three batters in to the game, Chris Bosio made a trip to the mound to settle down the team. Villanueva retired Ramirez (lineout to right), Lucroy (groundout to short) and Davis (pop out to right) to end the inning. Villanueva threw 24 pitches, 15 for strikes, in the first inning … and the Cubs were down 2-0 after just six outs were recorded.

The Brewers took the 2-0 lead into the third inning.

Ryan Sweeney worked a walk to start the third. Castillo popped out to third. Carlos Villanueva bunted Sweeney to second base. Emilio Bonifacio drove Garza’s first pitch into center. Sweeney scored, 2-1 Brewers. And Bonifacio ended up at second when Gomez tried to throw out Sweeney at the plate. Valbuena fouled out to Lucroy to end the inning. Garza threw 42 pitches, 29 for strikes, over three innings.

The Brewers got the run right back in the bottom of the third. Carlos Gomez reached on a check-swing bloop single to right. Gennett flied out to deep right for the first out. Braun hit a grounder to the hole at short on a 3-0 pitch. Starlin Castro fielded the ball cleanly and made a strong throw to first. Braun and the ball got to the bag at nearly the same time. Braun was called out. But he did not agree and snapped his fingers to have his manager challenge the play. The call on the field was overturned and Braun was given a single. Ramirez flied out to center for the second out. Jonathan Lucroy singled to left. Gomez scored, 3-1 Brewers. Villanueva got out of the inning by retiring Davis on a grounder to Castro … 48 pitches for Villanueva after three innings, 29 for strikes.

Matt Garza set down the Cubs in order quickly in the fourth. And the Brewers went back to work against Villanueva in the home half.

Lyle Overbay put together a long at bat that ended with his first home run of the season. With the Brewers up 4-1, Segura lined out to first and Garza struck out. Carlos Gomez blooped a double into right but was stranded when Gennett grounded out to second base. Villanueva threw 69 pitches, 44 for strikes, in four innings.

The Cubs trailed the Brewers 4-1 after four innings.

Ryan Sweeney collected the Cubs second hit in the fifth inning, but that was all, and the pounding continued in the home half of the fifth.

Ryan Braun led off with a single to right. Braun took off for second on a 3-1 pitch to Ramirez. Emilio Bonifacio gave an effort but did not get in front of the one hopper from Castillo. The ball ended up in center and Braun scampered to third. Ramirez hit a routine fly to left. Braun scored, 5-1 Brewers. Jonathan Lucroy ripped a 3-2 pitch into left. After Khris Davis flied out to right, Lyle Overbay singled to left. Lake’s rough night continued. Lake threw to third when he had no chance of throwing out Lucroy. Overbay saw the mistake and went to second on the throw. Villanueva intentionally walked Segura to load the bases. Villanueva retired Garza on a grounder to short to end the inning.

Neil Ramirez kept the Brewers off the board in the sixth and the Cubs scored a run in the seventh.

Starlin Castro led off the seventh with a single to center. Nate Schierholtz just missed a homer to right center. The ball hit off the top of the ball. Castro had to hold and could only advance to third on Schierholtz’s double. With runners on second and third with no outs, Junior Lake was caught looking at a 0-2 pitch. Ryan Sweeney grounded out to first, Castro scored and cut the Brewers lead to 5-2. Castillo grounded out to third to end the inning.

The Brewers were not able to add to their lead in the seventh or eighth innings. But the Cubs could not string together any hits off of Zach Duke in the eighth and Francisco Rodriguez picked up three quick outs (eight pitches, seven strikes) in the ninth to end the game.

Travis Wood faces Marco Estrada in game two at Miller Park on Saturday night (6:05pm CDT).

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  • Jeff in Az

    Why can’t I follow another team like everybody else? This is getting ugly folks and it’s only April. WOW. There is no hope for this ball club this year. Deficient in every aspect of the game. If if they have heart they just plain do not have the talent to get it done at the major league level. When we battles the Dbacks to a series split I just cringed at the thought of how bad this is gonna get.

    Renteria and all of these stupid lineups and platooning needs to stop.

    • Jeff in Az

      I meant a “normal” team not “another”. Although perhaps another team may not be a bad idea at this point.

    • Gramps

      Have to agree with you Jeff. I think the handling of Lake and Ott in particular is actually hurting both of them. No way they can find a groove when sitting every other day or every third day. Lake looked good when playing every day last fall, but does not look like the same player this year. I would like to see both of them play every day for a few weeks to see how they handle LF and 3B. Kalish is another that I would put in CF and leave him there for an extended period of time. What does the team have to lose by playing the younger guys and sitting Valbuena and Sweeney?

  • raymondrobertkoenig

    Lake misplayed balls a high schooler could have played.

  • Sonate

    My sentiments too. I took the “over” on the over-under 70 wins bet on the Cubs this year. Based on their runs scored/runs allowed ratio they should be 9-13 instead of 7-15, but even 9-13 does not project into 70+ wins. They are 13th in OPS (and runs scored) and they are 12th in runs allowed per game (with only 3 teams allowing more). I figured that Castro, Rizzo, and E-Jax would have solid comeback years (hey, 2 of 3 ain’t bad!), the bullpen would improve (ha ha) as would the offense generally. Then I figured that Baez and Bryant or Almora would be late season call ups that would help win the Cubs a few more games. I guess I need to remove my rose-colored glasses.

    • mutantbeast

      Wait until next year-to get to.500.