The Cubs dropped their third series in a row and second to Milwaukee in a week’s time, falling 3-2 on Sunday in 11 innings at Miller Park. The cause yet again was pitching, this time it was the bullpen that gave in. Starter Kyle Hendricks delivered five and 1/3 innings of five hit- shutout ball but Zac Rosscup came on in the seventh and gave up two separate solo shots to turn a 1-0 lead to a 2-1 deficit.
Sure, the Cubs battled back to tie it on Anthony Rizzo’s eighth inning double but the Cubs’ bats were effectively silenced the rest of the way and the Brewers were able to scratch out the win on Martin Maldonado’s run scoring single in the 11th inning. This record is broken and it’s repetitive result is getting old fast. The Cubs should not be .500 right now, they should be well over and perhaps just a few games behind the Cardinals. They have simply given away too many games they had no business giving away. I’m not just talking the occasional back and forth slug fests we’ve seen that sometimes just don’t tip your way; I am talking about building a big lead only to see it unravel in the middle innings. The Cubs need help and it’s not very clear where they are going to get it from. Of course, this issue wouldn’t be as glaring if starters were going deeper into games but that hasn’t been happening with any consistency either.
Although they finally get to play an out of division opponent for the first time in weeks tonight, I’m not so sure that’s a good thing given that they have to play the NL East-leading New York Mets, a team that is 20-11 and getting back into form after winning their last two series. At least the Cubs get to trot out Jon Lester who appears to have righted the ship. He will face the Mets Jacob deGrom who struck out nine in his last outing vs. Baltimore.
It will be important for Lester to set the tone tonight and not take a step back. He needs to own this game and show the rest of the staff what it looks like to be an Ace. The further into this game he pitches, the better off the Cubs will be giving their bullpen some rest and taking away their ability to extend the current slide they are on. Add in the recent power displays by Kris Bryant and Addison Russell to go with the opening of the Budweiser Bleachers and the Cubs could be primed for a special night.
First pitch is 7:05PM CST.