Carefree Day at the Ballpark–Cubs 9 Brewers 1
today at 6:56 pm
It took two and half years into a three year deal, but the Cubs saw the pitcher that caused them to strike early in the deep freeze offseason of 2018. Tyler Chatwood was dominant on a blazing hot afternoon. A Keston Hiura walk was the only blemish through four innings. In command of his pitches, Chatwood was extremely tough on the Brewers lineup. He would yield a run in the fifth inning, but his six strong innings made for another easy afternoon of managing for David Ross.
Christian Yelich looked awful throughout the whole series, but Cubs starters completely destroyed him the entire weekend. The reigning NL batting champ posted an 0-10 against Cubs starters while striking out five times. That is unlikely to continue for much longer, but it made the series a lot easier while the dangerous Yelich was effectively neutralized apart from a hanger he crushed yesterday.
The other big story of the afternoon was the Cubs offense. The bats tacked on some home runs late, but the Cubs were able to deliver the big hit again and again against the Brewers starter Freddy Peralta and then former closer Corey Knebel to make this a carefree day at the ballpark.
Peralta pitched a clean first inning, but Kyle Schwarber stroked a double to start the second inning. He advanced to third on a wild pitch putting Jason Heyward into his optimal plate situation. Heyward’s one out groundball put the Cubs up 1-0. Peralta navigated around a two out plunking of Anthony Rizzo to make it into the fourth inning.
Schwarber drew a walk to start the fourth and Willson Contreras smacked a double to drive in Schwarber. Peralta walked Jason Heyward which led Craig Counsell to pull his starter. Corey Knebel then gave up back to back to back singles which saw the Cubs stretch their lead to 5-0 and effectively end the ballgame with the way Chatwood was pitching.
The Brewers got one of those runs back in the fifth inning. Chatwood walked Omar Narváez with one out. Chatwood punched out Lorenzo Cain, but back to back singles from Ben Gamel and Orlando Arcia drove in the Brewers lone tally. Eric Sogard lined out to Javier Báez to end the threat. Chatwood gave up a two out double to Justin Smoak in the sixth inning, but completed six frames for his first win in 2020.
Casey Sadler was given a chance in the seventh, but he walked two of the three batters he faced. Kyle Ryan was summoned and rewarded Ross with an inning ending double play. Ryan and Jeremy Jeffress combined the rest of the way to hold Milwaukee to just the one run.
Eric Lauer completed the fourth inning and he would pitch 2 innings keeping the Cubs at 5 runs. Willson Contreras hit his first bomb of the season against Bobby Wahl in the seventh inning. Familiar face Justin Grimm pitched the eighth inning for the Brewers and he looked like the Justin Grimm that was run out of town. Grimm walked Josh Phegley and Ian Happ hit his second home run of 2020 making it 8-1. Anthony Rizzo added a blast to extend it to 9-1.
The only player colder than Christian Yelich in this series was new Cubs leadoff man Kris Bryant. A soft single in the sixth got Bryant on the hit board, but it was a quiet series despite some solid at bats. Unfortunately this has begun the talking point of the Cubs leadoff man woes once again. It is an extremely small sample size, but those cries about the Cubs failing to address the “leadoff spot” will only grow louder. And it might make Kris Bryant feel a bit like this.