The Cubs made the short trip up to Milwaukee for the weekend to begin their 10 game road swing. After splitting a weather shortened two game set at Wrigley the week prior, the Cubs should have felt good going into the series to face a Brewers club that was without Corey Hart and Aramis Ramirez. They ended up leaving Wisconsin with their tall between their legs, suffering a sweep at the hands of the streaking Brew Crew.
Chicago out hit the home team 22 to 16 in the series, including four home runs in the hitter friendly Miller Park. Half of those came off the bat of Anthony Rizzo, who continues to flash his power stroke despite an ugly .191 batting average through 18 games. The Cubs bullpen corps was the other bright spot during the series, shutting down the Ryan Braun led Milwaukee offense over seven innings of work, including three perfect innings in the series finale by the trio of Michael Bowden, James Russell, and Shawn Camp.
The Cubs defense coughed up six errors in the three days at Miller, with the Brewers capitalizing on the mistakes to the tune of eight unearned runs. Two of the errors came on Sunday after the vent session manager Dale Sveum had that same morning. Two of the culprits in the series, Starlin Castro and Scott Feldman, lead the team in this dubious category with four and three errors respectively. The Cubs overall have 17 miscues as a team through 18 games. You don’t have to be Russell Crowe in “A Beautiful Mind” to know that calculates out to almost one per game.
Despite out hitting the Brewers and the majestic home runs, the Cubs offense could not pick up that clutch hit when it mattered most. The North Siders went a pathetic 1 for 17 with runners in scoring position in the series and they are currently dead last in the league in this stat category. Yes, the starting pitching, the bullpen, and the defense have been less than perfect too, but even in the few Cubs victories the dreaded RISP stat has been a constant problem this young season. This is actually a recurring issue in recent seasons and one of several that continue to show a lack of progress under the new front office that has come in proclaiming changes to a team culture that has failed for decades.
While Sveum’s ejection from the game on Friday was to protect his ace Jeff Samardzija from the same fate over balls and strikes, his voiced displeasure with the team on Sunday morning is likely understated compared to the way some Cubs fans may be feeling at this point.