Chicago Cubs Score and Recap (4/1/23): Brewers 3, Cubs 1 – Steele not Reinforced by Offense in Loss

The Cubs played their second game of the season at a cold and blustery Wrigley Field against the Brewers Saturday. Chicago got another very good starting pitching performance but the offense could not produce enough runs to pull away and Milwaukee rallied to win late.

Justin Steele was a little bit amped up in the 1st inning and put a couple of runners on base before a William Contreras double play got him out of the jam. Steele and his counterpart Brandon Woodruff dominated the next six innings and the score remained deadlocked at zero.

Ian Happ finally broke through against Woodruff in the bottom of the 6th inning with a solo home run into the basket in right. Javier Assad pitched a clean 7th before hitting big problems in the 8th.

A single and a walk put two on base for pinch-hitter Jesse Winker, who hit a ground ball single up the middle to tie the score at one. Later in the frame, the Brewers loaded the bases for Contreras. Michael Fulmer, in for Assad, fooled the Milwaukee catcher with a slider, but Contreras got just enough of his bat on the ball. His flare off the end of the bat fell in front of a hesitant Miles Mastrobuoni in right and two runs scored.

The Cubs got the first two runners on base in the 9th inning before a Cody Bellinger double play short-circuited the rally and the road team took home the 3-1 victory. (Box score)

Key Moment

Garrett Mitchell was attempting to bunt with one on and nobody out in the 8th inning. Assad proceeded to walk him on four pitches and opened up the floodgates for Milwaukee.

Why the Cubs Lost

The bats could do nothing to support the quality start from Steele. Scoring a single run is not going to win a lot of baseball games.

Stats That Matter

  • Steele was lights out after the 1st inning Saturday: 6 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 8 K, and 1 BB.
  • Dansby Swanson had three more hits including a double and made several outstanding defensive plays, he has six hits in two games.
  • Happ had a single in addition to the home run and he and Swanson were responsible for all of the Cubs’ hits on Saturday.

Bottom Line

Chicago’s starting pitching looks as good as advertised, but the offense has struggled so far. It is probably unfair to put too much stock into performances against two of the top five hurlers in the National League. That said, they need to do better going forward to support their quality arms.

On Deck

The rubber match of the three-game set is Sunday at 1:20pm CT as Jameson Taillon makes his Cubs debut against left-hander Eric Lauer with a broadcast on Marquee and 670 The Score.

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