‘It’s just not going our way right now’: Cubs trying to grind through difficult stretch
MILWAUKEE — The Cubs understand the predicament they’re in.
Sure, they’re banged up and they’ve had to endure some tough travel this month while playing a bunch of playoff-caliber teams.
But this is a results-oriented game and with Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to the Brewers, the Cubs fell to 5 games back in the division with the season approaching the official halfway mark.
“Whenever you’re chasing the team in front of you, yeah, they’re important games,” David Ross admitted. “If you get swept, you’re 6 games back. That’s a big number.”
Tuesday night, the Cubs drew 7 walks and actually out-hit the Brewers (6-2). But Milwaukee’s lineup made those 2 knocks count (both run-scoring singles off Zach Davies) while the Cubs went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left 12 on base throughout the contest.
That includes Eric Sogard’s tough-luck double play to end the 8th inning (he lined out with a pair of runners on) and the Cubs’ 9th inning rally against Josh Hader.
“We’re not playing great baseball now, especially playing the team in 1st place and you really want to cut down on the lead,” Joc Pederson said. “We’re not taking care of business so it’s pretty frustrating.”
It was the first time the Cubs had lost while giving up 2 or fewer hits since Aug. 4, 2013.
It also marked the team’s 5th straight defeat coming on the heels of the combined no-hitter last week in Los Angeles.
“There’s hot streaks and there’s cold streaks,” Davies said. “Right now, we’re cold but that can turn around in an instant. We’re gonna compete, we’re gonna come out tomorrow and try and win a ballgame and come away with at least 1 in this series and then take it from there.”
The Cubs battled against Brewers ace Brandon Woodruff (1.87 ERA) and Milwaukee’s top relievers Tuesday night but could only push across 1 run on Patrick Wisdom’s RBI single in the 4th inning.
This is a Cubs team that has been without Anthony Rizzo all week and has also seen Willson Contreras (hand) and Kris Bryant (side) miss time this series in addition to the already-lengthy injured list.
To make matters worse on the injury front, José Lobatón fell awkwardly on his right shoulder on the final play of the game and was in some serious pain. The Cubs were sending him for imaging after the game.
In Lobatón, the Cubs were already on their fourth backup catcher this season. Austin Romine (wrist) and P.J. Higgins (forearm/elbow) are both on the 60-day IL and Tony Wolters was on the Opening Day roster but designated for assignment last month and is currently playing with Triple-A Iowa.
“It’s just not going our way right now,” Ross said.
To be sure — this series is important for the Cubs. But they’ll still have exactly half the season left to play after Wednesday’s series finale in Milwaukee and Ross understands the big picture.
“We played some really good baseball and so did they in this stretch and they kinda got on a roll,” Ross said. “We can do that as well at any part of the season. But when you get a chance to beat the team you’re facing head-to-head, it’s important for sure.”