Rizzo’s Power Falls Just Short Against Brewers, Cubs Lose 2-1

Anthony Rizzo was a one-man crew tonight, quite literally. He had two of the three hits the Chicago Cubs (89-50) managed to muster against the Milwaukee Brewers (62-77). Three hits just wasn’t enough for the Cubs as they lose the rubber match in the series to the Brewers by the score of 2-1 (Box Score).

If ever there was a night that needed very little offensive production to get the win, tonight was the night. Mike Montgomery pitched a beauty. He gave up one run – a home run by Jonathan Villar in the bottom of the fourth inning, his first of two on the night – and a paltry two hits over five innings. A great outing for the Cubs number six starter and one that you just grumble over losing.

For the Cubs on offense, it was a rough night. Former Cubs pitcher, Matt Garza, totally baffled the Cubs tonight. He surrendered one run – an Anthony Rizzo home run in the top of the sixth inning – and was really only in trouble in the first inning. The Cubs loaded the bases with only one out but they couldn’t get a run across home plate. That was the last time the Cubs would be able to get a runner in scoring position all night.

With the game tied at one run apiece, Joe Maddon called on Joe Smith in the bottom of the eighth inning. For the record, I’m not a huge Joe Smith fan – and that’s putting it mildly. Every time he pitches all I notice are how every one of his pitches floats up in the zone. It’s happened in bad outings, prior to his DL stint, and good outings, after returning from the DL. Tonight was no different and, like watching a crash in slow motion, he gave up a solo home run to Jonathan Villar. That would be the winning run for the Brewers.

Anthony Rizzo had a shot to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth inning when he blasted the ball to deep left center field. Brewers’ center fielder Keon Broxton leapt high above the outfield wall and made a great catch, robbing Rizzo of the game-tying home run.

Stats that matter

  • Man, was Mike Montgomery good tonight – 5.0IP, 1R, 2H, 2BB, 6Ks, 1HR, 87 pitches
  • Joe Smith has been a big disappointment for me. His stuff just isn’t that good, even when it’s good – 1.0IP, 1R, 2H, HR
  • The rest of the bullpen was solid – 2.0IP, 0R, 1H, 3BB, 2Ks
  • Anthony Rizzo was great for a second straight night, and to think Joe almost gave him the night off – 2-for-4, 1R, 1RBI, HR

 Bottom line

The last two nights produced games that were disappointing. I mean really, quite disappointing considering where the Cubs are and how easily they should have won this series. It’s not the end of the world, I know, but man. It’s hard to watch the Cubs get so dumbfounded by such middling pitchers.

The upside is that the Cardinals lost tonight which brings the Cubs magic number to 9 games. And that, my friends, is very exciting.

Next up

The Cubs have the day off on Thursday and will get back at it on Friday against the Houston Astros at 7:10 PM CT. Jon Lester (15-4, 2.61 ERA) is scheduled to pitch for the Cubs.

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