Cubs 4, Brewers 6
What Went Right
- Not Much Alfonso Soriano had a productive evening, driving in all 4 of the Cubs’ runs on a pair of hits. Aramis Ramirez also had 2 hits to extend his hitting streak to 16 games. Marlon Byrd had 3 hits and a nice catch in the 3rd to rob Ryan Braun of at least a double. And Tyler Colvin stayed on the comeback trail, putting up 2 hits of his own.
What Went Wrong
- Pitching Ryan Dempster had one of his worst starts of the season Saturday night, giving up 5 runs in 4 innings of work. For much of the night, it looked like he was throwing batting practice, as the Brewers hit two long home runs off him, along with 3 deep doubles and a 4th that Marlon Byrd played into a triple for Corey Hart. Ramon Ortiz (2 innings) and Sean Marshall (1 inning) held the Milwaukee scoreless, but James Russell gave up a homer to Hart, who was a single short of the cycle.
- Hitting Infuriatingly, the Cubs out-hit the Brewers tonight, but failed once again to hit with men on base. The 2nd inning was a microcosm of this season’s offensive woes–Pena led off and reached on a throwing error by the pitcher Gallardo. Colvin followed that up with a single to center. So with men on first and second with no outs, it looked like the Cubs might be able to counter the 3 runs Dempster had surrendered in the bottom of the 1st. Instead, Byrd struck out, Soriano singled to center to drive in Pena, but any hope of adding on was killed by back-to-back strike outs for Soto and Dempster. In fact, Soto struck out 3 times tonight, each time with at least one runner on base. Forget about getting hits–I would have settled for productive outs tonight. When you lose by 2 runs after leaving 8 men on base, a couple well-timed deep fly balls could have been the difference in the game.
- Tomorrow the Cubs will try to avoid the sweep. If you’re so inclined, you can watch at 2pm ET/11amPT on CSN or (weirdly) TBS.
- But if you’d prefer to watch competitive, entertaining baseball, let me encourage you to tune into ESPN at 12pm ET/9am PT for the final game of the Little League World Series. Hoping to defend the title won last year by their countrymen, the Japanese team will face off against the US squad from Huntington Beach, CA–the hometown team of All Star VFTB commenter Doc Raker. If nothing else, it’s a game that matters. We Cubs fans haven’t seen one of those in a while.
Stars of the Game
Based on Win Probability Added (WPA)
1st Star – Yovani Gallardo (.208 WPA)
2nd Star – Corey Hart (.157 WPA)
3rd Star – Alfonso Soriano (.155 WPA)