Cubs Get Turned Around Wrong Way to Close Milwaukee Series

The hope was that Justin Steele‘s outburst during the 3rd inning of Saturday’s win in Milwaukee provided the wakeup call the Cubs needed. But as we’ve seen from this team all season, hope is a shitty strategy. Sunday’s pathetic effort featured just two hits — within the first three batters of the game — for the visitors as mistakes once again told the story of another ugly loss.

Kyle Hendricks looked sharp in the early going, once again throwing his curveball with greater frequency to catch the Brewers looking. But when he hung one to Christian Yelich, the longtime Cubs nemesis sent it 422 feet in the other direction for a 2-1 lead that would have stood up even had Hendricks avoided disaster. After a strikeout and walk, the righty gave up a high fly to Rhys Hoskins that would have been the second out of the inning.

Instead, Ian Happ misread the ball with American Family Field’s open roof creating a different environment. Not that such things should really be an issue for a two-time defending Gold Glover out there.

“I had a good bead on it and it turned and moved a long way kinda toward left-center there on its way down, my body wasn’t in a great spot,” Happ explained after the game. “I kinda thought it was gonna be more up against the wall over there I kinda got a little turned around. Obviously not my best moment out there and it puts Kyle in a tough spot where he’s got first and second.”

Hendricks then allowed two more singles to score a run and load the bases before getting another K to nearly close out the inning. That’s when he fired a middle-in sinker on a 1-0 count to Brice Turang, who promptly smacked a line-drive grand slam to right-center that put the game well out of reach. It was an absolute dick punch the Cubs were never able to recover from and they remained in a fetal position for the next five innings.

Of note, that was the Brewers’ second grand slam of the series and their fifth in the last eight games. I have no doubt their fans are calling the ballpark AmSlam at this point. Cheesy as that is, it must be nice to have a team that puts up runs in bunches on a regular basis. The Cubs haven’t scored more than five in their last eight games and have only done so three times in their last 23 contests.

Now they get a day off to try for the millionth time already this season to clear their heads before hosting the Phillies, who currently boast the best record in baseball (55-29). The only ray of hope for the Cubs is that both Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber are on the IL, though there’s still plenty of firepower in the lineup. Kinda wild how they’ve been able to keep adding big contracts even with Harper’s huge deal.

That $261 million CBT payroll is going to cost ownership a little in overage penalties, but I’m guessing they’ll make some of that back in postseason gate and other revenue boosters. The Cubs, meanwhile, sit seven games under .500 and are behind seven other teams for the last Wild Card spot. And have we mentioned how looming carriage issues for Marquee Sports Network could have them looking to trim spending in the future?

There are only so many times you can say a team should be better than it is before you finally come to the realization that something simply isn’t working. Or, in the Cubs’ case, several somethings. I’ve given up on hoping they’ll turn things around this season, now I’m just holding out for a brand of baseball that doesn’t make me throw up in my mouth when I watch it.

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