Cubs squander scoring chances in shutout loss to Brewers


by - Senior Writer -
Tyler Chatwood was forced to make a spot start in place of an ailing Yu Darvish on Sunday afternoon. (Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports)
Tyler Chatwood was forced to make a spot start in place of an ailing Yu Darvish on Sunday afternoon. (Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports)

CHICAGO — Going 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and leaving nine men stranded on base is not a recipe for offensive success in baseball, and the Chicago Cubs (73-63) learned that the hard way on Sunday. For the second day in a row, the Cubs were shut out by the Milwaukee Brewers (70-66), who won a rubber match at Wrigley Field that, excluding a monstrous ninth-inning home run, did not feature much quality hitting. Losing 4-0, the Cubs dropped the finale of the 3-game series as a result of failing to come up with any critical hits.

Roster turnover preceded the National League Central duel, with the active rosters expanding to 40 players across MLB on Sunday. Furthermore, the Cubs activated veteran utility man Ben Zobrist from the restricted list prior to the game and also sent infielder David Bote down to the minor leagues. Another personnel-related change that had nothing to do with the roster expansion was Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish being scratched from his start due to tightness in his right forearm. Darvish is expected to make his next scheduled start, but, out of precaution, Cubs reliever Tyler Chatwood started in his place versus the Brewers.

Chatwood lasted 3 2/3 innings on the mound, in which he struck out seven while giving up one run on three hits and four walks. In the top half of the opening frame, Chatwood got off to a rough start by walking the first two batters of the game, but he eventually worked himself out of a bases-loaded jam via back-to-back strikeouts. Going 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position and leaving nine men stranded on base, the Brewers squandered several scoring opportunities but were just effective enough at the dish to come away with the win. An RBI groundout by Orlando Arcia put the Brewers up 1-0 in the top of the fourth, leading to Chatwood being pulled soon afterward.

The Brewers put together a 2-out rally in the next inning that culminated in them loading the bases before Cubs reliever David Phelps collected an inning-ending strikeout. The Cubs' boasted an auspicious scoring chance in the bottom of the sixth but were unable to cash in on it. A leadoff single by Victor Caratini was followed by a pinch-hitting Anthony Rizzo getting beaned in the foot by a pitch. However, a pitching change ensued, and it paid off for the Brewers. First, Jason Heyward laid down an inadequate bunt that resulted in Caratini being thrown out at third base. Then, Addison Russell swung at the first pitch and hit into a double play that ushered in the seventh inning.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon made it quite evident that his team's roster had increased to 40 players, as he utilized numerous substitutions throughout the matchup. Speaking of which, Javier Baez was removed from the game prior to the seventh inning due to lingering pain caused by a hard slide at second base from earlier in the affair. Technically, Zobrist never entered the ballgame, but he was in the on-deck circle when the last out was recorded in the bottom of the ninth.

Chicago had a baserunner advance into scoring position in the seventh and eighth innings but came up empty-handed both times. The Brewers responded by placing the Cubs into a 4-run hole in the top of the ninth. All-time great Cubs closer Lee Smith was honored at the Friendly Confines on the afternoon for his recent Baseball Hall of Fame induction, but current Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel did not channel Smith in his outing, as Christian Yelich took Kimbrel deep on a 3-run homer that came on a full count with two outs in the ninth. The mammoth 443-foot blast skied out beyond center field resulted in the 4-0 final tally, which decreased the Cubs' lead in the standings over the Brewers to three games.

Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs
Sep 1, 2019 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Milwaukee (70-66) 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 3 4 7 0
Chicago (73-63) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
W: Jay Jackson (1-0) L: Tyler Chatwood (5-3)

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