One of the classic signs of intelligence and the ability to learn is the hand on hot stove reflex. Our bodies automatically protect us from the burn when we reflexively pull our hand away from the heat. But our nervous system can’t do anything about our dumb lizard brains if we decide to move our hand back to the burning coil on purpose.
That is how it’s starting to feel when I sit down to watch the Brewers play the Cubs. There is nothing to be gained here. There is no great knowledge contained in this recap; you’ve seen this game a hundred times. The Brewers couldn’t hit. Something extremely stupid happened. And they lost another heart breaker to the new landlords of our baseball stadium.
AT LEAST IT WAS NICE OUT: Lorenzo Cain, CF: +.185 WPA (1-for-2, R, 2 BB)
IT’S GONNA RAIN SOON: Eric Sogard, SS: -.240 WPA (0-for-3, BB, R, 2 K, Game-losing error)
The Brewers entered play mired in a 19 inning scoreless streak against Chicago. Jason Heyward thought that was a bit much, so he threw the Brewers a bone, surrenduring a two-base error to Lorenzo Cain to lead off the game; Cain came around to score on a sacrifice from Jesus Aguilar.
Having spotted the Brewers a run in a noble attempt at fair play, the Cubs set immediately to work on Brent Suter. The Cubs scored twice before the soft-tossing lefty recorded an out, though Suter was able to settle down after the early outburst, holding the Cubs in check over the next five innings with three strikeouts.
Milwaukee’s hitters not named for history’s first criminal were similarly stymied by Yu Darvish, who scattered three hits and two walks over six otherwise scoreless innings. Both starters tried to help their own cause with base hits in the fifth, but both were stranded at second base.
The game turned in the bottom of the seventh, just minutes after the Brewers finally pulled even with a scratch-and-claw run in the top half of the inning. Jeremy Jeffress was brought on to put out Dan Jennings’ fire after the latter put runners on the corners with one away. Jeffress stayed hot, striking out Albert Almora Jr. and inducing an inning-ending ground out from Javier Baez to end the threat.
Or, that’s how it should have gone. Instead, Sogard’s boner allowed Baez to reach, Addison Russel to score, and the Cubs to escape with the victory. Sogard struck out to lead off the ninth to solidify his status as the game’s goat, before Manny Pina was robbed of a hit on a liner to short and Brandon Morrow made Ryan Braun look absolutely silly to seal the game.
The Brewers will continue their four game series with their rivals to the south tomorrow afternoon with another 1:20 start time. The Cubs will send Jose Quintana to the hill. He’s been battered in nearly every single start this year, surrendering 4, 6 and 7 runs in three of his four starts for an ERA of 11.19. He threw six shutout innings against Milwaukee earlier this month, because of course he did. Unfortunately, scoring runs against the Cubs is very easy unless there’s an ‘M’ on your hat. The ‘M’ stands for “man, you better not score any runs against the Cubs, buddy.”
Kris Bryant, who has missed the first two games of this series and been out since Sunday after being struck in the head by a pitch in Colorado, is expected to return to the lineup tomorrow:
Kris Bryant had full baseball activity yesterday and came out feeling great. Will do so again today and hopefully be back in the lineup Saturday.— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) April 27, 2018
The Brewers will turn to the Official Pitcher of Brew Crew Ball, Junior Guerra, to oppose Quintana. Guerra has been dominant so far in 2018, allowing just a single earned run and striking out 15 in 16 innings. He owns a 2.20 ERA against the Cubs in three career starts. I’ll be here to recap it for you, for better or worse.