Familiar Feelings–Brewers 8 Cubs 3
today at 5:03 pm
The Cubs started 2016 3-0. The Cubs started 1995 4-0. Those are the only times in the past twenty-five years that the Cubs have managed to win more than one game to start the season. It looked like the 2020 vintage might actually start the year with a winning streak. Yu Darvish was shaky but escaped the first inning without any damage. Willson Contreras delivered what felt like the oh so rare two out base knock with runners in scoring position to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first.
But this one flipped in the second inning. Darvish yielded a one out double to Lorenzo Cain, but induced an easy groundball from Ben Gamel that should have resulted in the second out of the inning. The Cubs failed to execute the run down and both runners were safe. Eric Sogard’s two out single tied the game. Darvish would not yield the go ahead runs until the fourth inning, but once it became a battle of the bullpens it was clearly to the Brewers advantage.
The bright spot for the Cubs might have been the 1-2-3 ninth inning pitched by Dillon Maples. The Cubs are still built to ride a starting staff with a bullpen full of question marks. Maples flashed the potential to be one of those answers today, and with few positives to pull from, the Maples outing was a silver lining.
Oh that and Orlando Arcia is mortal. I was slightly concerned that he was going to pull a Kirk Nieuwenhuis this year after last night.
Yu Darvish had good stuff, but he was not sharp in his outing. He struck out the side in the third inning, but otherwise had to work hard on a hot afternoon. The defense didn’t help in the second inning, but this looked more like the Darvish in his first 26 Cubs starts and not the ace that finished the 2019 campaign.
Brewers starter Corbin Burnes wasn’t sharp either. He walked Anthony Rizzo and plunked Javier Báez with one out to start the game. Kyle Schwarber struck out looking, but a Contreras single put the Cubs up 1-0. Burnes walked one in the next two innings, but was not dinged for any damage. He yielded a one out single to Victor Caratini in the fourth inning to end his day. Not former Blackhawk Brent Suter was greeted with Jason Kipnis first base hit in a Cubs uniform. You may not know this, but Jason Kipnis is from Northbrook. Unfortunately Ian Happ bounced in a fielder’s choice with Caratini thrown out at the plate on a contact play. Kris Bryant grounded out to end the inning.
The top of that fourth inning saw the Brewers take a 3-1 yield on Ben Gamel’s triple. Darvish stranded Gamel at third base with no outs to keep the Cubs in this one. Duanne Underwood Jr. gave up a bomb to Justin Smoak making it a 4-1 Brewers lead in the fifth inning. Kyle Schwarber launched his own two run shot in the bottom of the fifth against Suter but the Cubs were still trailing 4-3.
Brad Wieck was given the sixth inning. He retired the first two batters, but walked Eric Sogard. Christian Yelich’s first and only hit of the series so far was the two run blast that followed, making it 6-3. James Norwood took over in the seventh and the bullpen roulette continued to bite David Ross. Avisaíl García singled with one out and made the correct read on Omar Narváez’s double scoring from first. Ian Happ made a diving attempt on Narváez’s hard hit ball, but wasn’t particularly close to making the grab on a tough play into the wall. Lorenzo Cain put the final tally on the board with his run scoring single in the next at bat.
The Cubs one real chance to get back into the ball game was in the seventh inning against Devin Williams. Rizzo walked and Báez delivered a one out single. Schwarber flew out but Williams plunked Contreras to load the bases. Williams struck out Jason Heyward swinging to end the threat. Former Cub David Phelps and Eric Yardley combined for a stress free final two frames as the Brewers evened the series.
Yu Darvish might not be Steve Trachsel, but he is a deliberate worker. This stands in stark contrast to Kyle Hendricks’ quick tempo. Add in the additional commercial breaks with a national broadcast along with the heavy bullpen usage in an 8-3 ballgame and this one felt like Robert Redford in the movie Sneakers.