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Offense stagnant again as Brewers drop rubber match to Cubs 4-2

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Only runs come on Domingo Santana’s two-run shot.

Chicago Cubs v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

WP: John Lackey (8-9)
LP: Zach Davies (12-5)
SV: Wade Davis (22)

HR: Domingo Santana (18), Victor Caratini (1), Kris Bryant (20)

Box Score

A competitive series between the Brewers and Cubs came down to the third of the three games this afternoon. Unfortunately, the Brewers offense didn’t come to play again.

Through the first five innings, both sides were evenly matched. The Brewers had a slight advantage in the baserunner column (5 vs. 2), but neither side had brought in a run yet. Two outs into the top of the sixth, the Cubs put together four straight hits (three singles and a double), putting them ahead 2-0. The Brewers didn’t delay with a response, though, as Domingo Santana hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the inning to tie the game back up at 2-2.

Unforunately, the Cubs had a response of their own in the next inning. Rookie Victor Caratini, in the lineup for Anthony Rizzo, hit his first career home run off of Davies, giving the Cubs a 3-2 lead. Overall, it wasn’t a bad day for Davies, who pitched seven innings and allowed three runs, seven hits, and no walks. He also struck out six in the game. Most days, that should be enough to win. However, it wasn’t with the Brewers offense in their current state.

The offense did manage six hits and two walks in the game, but their struggles with runners in scoring position continued. They went 0-for-2 today, with both opportunities coming in the second inning, including one with the bases loaded. With those two empty at-bats today, the Brewers set an unfortunate record:

It’s hard to figure out why the Brewers are struggling so much with runners in scoring position lately, but there is the core of the recent struggles. The Brewers can get the runners on base, but they can’t get them home.

In the bullpen, Jacob Barnes pitch the eighth and allowed another solo home run, this time to Kris Bryant. Since his hot start to the season, Barnes has come back to reality, as he ERA has jumped to 4.50, the highest it has been all season. He has also allowed runs in his last four appearances now. To be fair, the home run he allowed today came on a good pitch that Bryant just managed to get out of the park. However, even taking that into account, he has still been struggling in recent days.

The ninth inning featured some odd bullpen decisions by Craig Counsell. He began the inning with Wei-Chung Wang, just called up to the team from Triple-A. Wang pitched to one batter and allowed a hit, then was promptly pulled for Jared Hughes. After Hughes got an out, he was pulled for Oliver Drake, who finished up the inning. It was a set of strange decisions by Counsell, who was dealing with a bullpen that needed some rest.

At the end of the day, it didn’t matter much. The Brewers offense could only manage one hit off the Cubs bullpen, a hit by Orlando Arcia in the ninth that ended up being erased on a double-play. Santana’s home run ended up being the Brewers only run-scoring offense as they fell to the Cubs 4-2 to end the series.

The Brewers have the day off tomorrow before opening a three-game series against the Cardinals on Tuesday. Jimmy Nelson will face Carlos Martinez in the 6:40 pm start, with the starters for the next two days still TBD. Before that, though, is the MLB Trade Deadline, which will occur at 3 pm tomorrow. Stay tuned to find out if the Brewers elect to make any trades prior to the deadline.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.