The Cubs immediately stumbled out of the gate against the Brewers Monday night and fell in a hole they could not get out of. The sloppy opening frame was followed by a lackluster offensive performance as Milwaukee won its nine consecutive game rather easily.
Jameson Taillon was flat right out of the gate and Christian Yelich took him deep in the first at-bat of the game. Dansby Swanson made an uncharacteristic throwing error on a possible double play ball to put runners on second and third with just one out, leaving the door wide open for more damage.
Rowdy Tellez hit a sacrifice fly deep to center field to bring home the man on third base. Mark Canha then crushed an absolute mammoth two-run homer to dead center and it was 4-0 before the Cubs even got up to bat.
Ian Happ got the home team on the board with his own solo shot off of Wade Miley in the bottom of the frame. The Brewers got that tally right back in the 2nd inning after Nico Hoerner made a throwing error on an infield hit and Yelich singled the runner home from second.
Miley cruised from there, working quickly and getting tons of outs on the ground. The only blemish for him after that was a laser-beam solo dinger off the bat of Patrick Wisdom in the bottom of the 5th.
Taillon gave up some hard contact but did not allow any more runs in the rest of his six innings Monday. Willy Adames added an RBI double against Drew Smyly in the 7th and Milwaukee went on to a 6-2 victory. (Box score)
Swanson tried to rush his throw to second after making a nice sliding stop in the hole with the hope of turning a double play. You never know if things would have played out the same way if had gotten at least one, but the Tellez fly ball would have ended the 1st inning with the Brewers only ahead by one.
Why the Cubs Lost
They did not get a good start and made several uncharacteristic defensive mistakes to put them behind immediately. To compound matters, the lineup could do very little against Miley.
Stats That Matter
- Taillon did not look very sharp but he did eat six innings to save the bullpen for Tuesday: 6 IP, 5 R, 4 ER, 9 H, 6 K, and 0 BB.
- Happ homered from the right side and is starting to drive the ball with power.
- The Cubs grounded out 15 times Monday night.
At this point, the goal for Chicago should be to win every game they can to improve their playoff position no matter what path they use to get in. The natural reaction after years of the division being more important than the Wild Card is to worry about the Brewers moving five games ahead, but the current format ensures you get a three-game series no matter how you qualify. With that out of the way, this was a very disappointing effort. Milwaukee is too good right now to make it easier on them with mistakes like the North Siders made Monday. They need to tighten it up because the next two don’t get any easier.