Recently promoted Allen Webster and Kyle Ryan continue to make much-needed contributions to the Cubs bullpen in the form of scoreless innings. It wasn’t enough, however, to overcome four runs — two in the 1st inning — given up by Kyle Hendricks, who falls to 0-2 to start the season. The Cubs dropped the rubber game in Milwaukee today and head to their home opener with a 2-7 record. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Lost
The Cubs offense was averaging nearly eight runs per game coming into today, but they couldn’t continue that success today, scattering just six hits over nine innings. Willson Contreras’s two-run home run in the 6th inning accounted for all the Cubs’s runs in the game.
Brewers manager Craig Counsell called for reliever Josh Hader in the 7th inning. Hader proceeded to retire eight consecutive batters — including three strikeouts — to close out the game and secure the win for Milwaukee.
Stats that Matter
- Hendricks continues to struggle in early innings, giving up four runs on eight hits over just four innings pitched. He’s opened the season with a 6.48 ERA.
- Tyler Chatwood, pitching in relief, gave up two walks in seven batters faced. However, he managed to strike out three and held the Brewers scoreless in his 1 1/3 innings pitched.
- Ben Zobrist did decent work in the leadoff spot, going 3-for-4 with three singles, but didn’t score a single run.
The bullpen was able to answer Maddon’s call today, but they did it from behind. An improved bullpen is a step in the right direction and hopefully that continues while the starting pitching works to catch up.
The Cubs head to Wrigley for their home opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates (5-3) on Monday afternoon. Jon Lester (1-0, 3.00 ERA) takes the mound against Jameson Taillon (0-1, 3.46 ERA) at 1:20 CT. Television coverage can be seen on ABC 7, with MLB Networking broadcasting out-of-market. The radio broadcast will be on 670 The Score.