What You Need to Know
The Cubs got swept despite Kyle Hendricks’ strong outing. The lineup outhit the Brewers, but they couldn’t get the big hit. But hey, Willson Contreras is back.
Kyle Hendricks was excellent at limiting hard contact today but no so much the hard luck. The Brewers didn’t get a ball out of the infield until the sixth inning. The few baserunners he gave up were mostly by way of infield hits and misplays by the defense. He surrendered only two walks, and, unfortunately, both contributed to the Brewers scoring. The only hard-hit ball Hendricks gave up was a basket shot from Travis Shaw to give the Brewers a 3-1 lead.
Hendricks deserved much better than what he got today. He only lasted six innings, in part because the defense forced him to throw more pitches than he needed to. Aside from the mistake to Shaw, he kept the Brewers off balance all game mixing his sinker and his change-up with great command.
Meanwhile, the Cubs were spraying line drives all over the ballpark, but they couldn’t string enough hits together to do anything with them. They wound up needing a bit of luck of their own as the Cubs got their first and only run on a ball that should have been caught, and the way the first two games in the series went, I’m not going to poo-poo it. That run gave the Cubs their first lead over the Brewers all weekend, yet Milwaukee managed to erase the lead with the ground attack.
I’m not usually one to rag on Jason Heyward. Even when he’s not hitting, he’s still a valuable player because of his defense and as deep as the Cubs are, they don’t need a ton of offense from him. But it sure would have been nice if he could have done something with that hanging curve he got with runners on the corners in the sixth inning.
But it’s not as if Zach Davies’ was completely vulnerable. Far from it. His two-seam fastball had lively movement running in on right-handers and his curveball was sharp. He only got better as the day wore on, too. Perhaps Davies’ most impressive sequence came against Willson Contreras who made his first at bat since coming off the DL. He started him off with a pair of two-seamers that broke in on his hands, which he backed up with a change down and in. He finished Contreras off by getting him to chase a curve outside. When Contreras stepped into the box, perhaps there was some hope that he would get the comeback started, but with the way Davies pitched him, he didn’t have much of a shot.
The Cubs wound up getting swept in rather convincing fashion. They were outscored 20-3, and now their five run lead has shrunk to two. Today, like Friday, felt like a game they should have won. As good as Davies was, Hendricks was better. The Cubs offense created just as many opportunities as Milwaukee, but they couldn’t get the big hit. The Cubs haven’t completely screwed up yet, they are screwing up. They haven’t fallen down the stairs; they can still catch themselves.
Top WPA Play
Rene Rivera’s double in the second. (+.110)
Bottom WPA Play
Travis Shaw’s home run in the sixth. (-.264)
Lead photo courtesy Dennis Wierzbicki—USA Today Sports