Down three in the bottom of the 10th, with two outs, I want to give some credit to the Cubs for grinding. Jason Heyward, Willson Contreras, and Jake Marisnick all worked really strong, deep plate appearances to reach base. That scored the freebie run, and loaded the bases for Ian Happ. So they gave themselves a real shot, after a long day of not really giving themselves much.
But, overall, you know, not a great day or series, especially for the bats.
Lorenzo Cain was everything for the Brewers today, homering twice to drive in all four Brewers runs. I’m sure he’s gonna have a swell dinner tonight. Might even have earned dessert.
The decisive shot came in the 10th with two on, and Brandon Workman on the mound (Craig Kimbrel had gotten the Cubs to the bottom of the 9th with a clean inning, but the Cubs couldn’t walk it off (Kris Bryant struck out against Josh Hader with Anthony Rizzo on second base)). Each of those at bats – the Cain homer and the Bryant strikeout – featured incorrect calls that didn’t go the Cubs’ way (Hader got a strike call on a pitch six inches outside, Cain had a check swing that was clearly a swing). Can’t say they are the reason for the outcome, but it definitely sticks in your craw when. I’m not *complaining* about umps yet. I’m just noting that it bugged me since it was right there at the end, twice.
Joc Pederson finally notched his first hit with the Cubs, and it was a big one: a homer that gave the Cubs their first run of the day (and only their second hit), tying things up in the 8th. It didn’t wind up mattering, but it was nice to see.
Overall, the Cubs’ problem getting good old fashioned hits persists. Today, specifically, most of that credit goes to Brewers starter Brandon Woodruff, who was truly impressive. The fastball was perfectly commanded at 96-97 mph, and his breaking pitches were nasty. Credit where it is due. But the fact that it took place against the backdrop of the Cubs’ largely hit-less open to the 2021 season makes it feel weird to say today was about Woodruff, alone. The Cubs’ bats just aren’t hitting right now. Woodruff being great merely exacerbated it.
Kyle Hendricks was brilliant in a bounce-back from his Opening Day struggles, going six scoreless, pretty much doing everything he wanted to do, and managing the couple tricky situations he got into just fine. Were it not for the pain on the other side of the ball, you would’ve called it a completely stress-free outing, and maybe he would be more celebrated at this moment.