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Brewers fall to Cubs, 3-1

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Strikeouts and fielding blunders abound in loss

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee Brewers Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Strikeouts, scant offensive production, and defensive missteps ruled the day for the Crew in their 3-1 loss to the Cubs. The Brewers faithful will want to forget this Cactus League matchup before the teams face off in the regular season I-94 rivalry.

Pitching

Despite the loss, the Brewers' pitching staff put together a series of mostly solid outings, ranging from one to two innings.

Brett Anderson looked a little shaky for his first few pitches, walking the leadoff batter. He found his legs, struck out two swinging, and induced a fielder’s choice groundout.

Josh Lindblom, of course, allowed the 2-run home run to Joc Pederson after a throwing error allowed Ian Happ to reach, but he was otherwise solid and had some impressive whiff-inducing pitches across two innings.

Miguel Sanchez continues to display impressive swing-and-miss material. Thomas Jankins allowed a few hits and a run across two innings, but the Brewers’ defense did him few favors with a fielding error and other defensive blunders. Zack Brown produced a stable final inning after some defensive mishaps in the sixth.

Offense

The Brewers struck out 13 times across seven innings, in which they only managed 23 at-bats. In other words, the Brewers struck out in about 57% of at-bats today.

With all those strikeouts, you might expect the Brewers to put up little offensive production, and you’d be right. Aside from a little small ball in the second, the Brewers put very little together at the plate with only three hits on the day. Avisaíl García, the only Brewer who could be said to have a good day offensively, got two of those hits in two at-bats. His double in the third produced the only run off an Orlando Arcia single. The Brewers also managed two walks. Both came from Daniel Robertson, who got the start at shortstop today.

Fielding Woes

Orlando Arcía struggled, in particular, while he fielded 3B today. He seemed uncomfortable at the hot corner and was sometimes late to the ball. He’s a shortstop by trade and will spend Spring Training moving between short and third so the Brewers can get a longer look at Luis Urías and see what newcomer Daniel Robertson has to offer at shortstop. Arcía committed two of the team’s three official errors. One of these errors ended up being costly. After Happ reached on Arcia’s 2-out error in the third, Joc Pederson hit a two-run home run.

The other error came from Keston Hiura in the second inning off a fieldable liner that bounced off his knee. Hiura has otherwise been competently fielding the position. It’s his first error during Spring Training.

Apart from the three official errors, there were other defensive misses. In the sixth, Garrett Mitchell nearly had a tricky David Bote warning track flyball that instead landed on his head. Later in that same inning, Ian Miller stole second after catcher Payton Henry, who will likely see more of the Brewers’ farm system, bumbled the ball before he could make a throw to second. Miller promptly stole third as Reyes was positioned off the line and late to put down the tag on Henry’s throw.

Catcher Omar Narváez was one defensive bright spot. By the fourth inning, he had already caught two Cubs stealing.

The Brewers will take an off day tomorrow and return to action Monday, March 8th. They’ll take on the LA Angels at 2:10 CT.