What You Need To Know: Jose Quintana had had just about enough of this crap, and had the Brew Crew staring at the lights for 6 2/3rds. The offense didn’t do much, and it’s an awfully strange world when I have to tell you Wade Miley and Jhoulys Chacin are probably the Brewers best two starters. But I don’t make up the rules. So much like last night, the Cubs had to scratch and claw what they could with a lineup that’s still coughing up smoke and wheezing fluid in a lot of parts. But they did that, and then Justin Wilson, Jorge De La Rosa, and Pedro Strop were the antacids to any possible problems.
Next Level: Q’s problem this year, or at least the big one, is that when he’s gotten into trouble he’s been afraid to be in the zone. He’s been pitching away from contact. Walks have been a problem all over, but they go up with men on base.
And it looked like that may be the case in the fourth tonight, when Lorenzo Cain (who is basically various Roman and Greek gods mashed together at this point) and Christian Yelich led off with hits. Then Q when 3-0 on Jesus Aguilar, and you could be forgiven for a sinking feeling you know too well. But he bounced back and struck Aguilar out, got Braun to line right to Zobrist in right (a slice of luck never hurt anybody), and then Jonathan Schoop popped weakly to Baez at short. From there it was smooth sailing until the 7th, Josh Homme.
Q actually did enough to get out of the seventh, but thanks to Daniel Murphy he didn’t get to finish it himself. There were two on with two out, and Hernan Perez essentially hurled up a soft grounder to second. But thanks to Murphy’s mobility being somewhere between pre-surgery Undertaker and old man in the gym’s sauna, he couldn’t rush up to it in time to get Perez at first. Which didn’t up mattering as Justin Wilson sat down Manny Pina on three pitches.
When you’re not going well, and the Cubs aren’t for really only a handful of days, and it might just be fatigue setting in, you want your starter to put on the cape and say, “No one’s going to hurt you tonight.” Q did that a few times last year, and did it again tonight.
– The offense is still scratching. There really isn’t a combination where the Cubs can be solid all throughout. And Maddon is caught between trying to get guys going and winning with the best today. In fact, there are so many guys who need a spark, there really isn’t a lineup for today.
Today featured La Stella, who hits .237 when he starts, because Chacin is murderous to righties. Caratini and Q have a relationship, and Contreras has been chum to whoever has been on the mound of late. The Cubs caught a heater in that Caratini was the man of the match tonight, with two RBI. Happ was also in there, and you get the feeling these days you could send Happ up there with a cricket bat and he’s not making contact. There are just so few places to turn and we’re running out of racetrack.
– At least the pen put it to sleep tonight. I don’t know that I want Jorge De La Rosa in my eighth innings anymore after tonight, but after Wilson got the last out, again, where do you turn? Edwards isn’t an option right now. Cishek really can’t be used two straight days. Chavez also has thrown a lot. This might have been a spot to use Strop in the eighth with both Cain and Yelich up, but with a three-run lead he could be the “Break Glass In Case Of…” guy. Whatever, it worked out.
– When can we worry that Bryant isn’t hitting for any power? Let me know I’ll be over here with whiskey.
– The Cubs will leave this series in 1st. That’s only the bare minimum, but it’s something. Get another one tomorrow and everyone will feel good again. Good thing their hottest starter is taking charge.
– Also, this:
I agree pic.twitter.com/IaVDQkUwib
— MarcusD3 (@Someone20241575) September 12, 2018
Top WPA Play: Caratini’s double in the eighth that scored La Stella from first and gave the Cubs a slight cushion of 3-0. (+0.64)
Bottom WPA Play: Yelich’s walk. in the fourth that put Cain at second with no out. (-0.69)
Lead photo courtesy Matt Marton—USA Today Sports