Chicago Cubs unable to back Lackey in 6-1 loss to Brewers

Jul 22, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Chicago Cubs center fielder Dexter Fowler (24) singles during the ninth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 22, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Chicago Cubs center fielder Dexter Fowler (24) singles during the ninth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /
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After their series-opening win on Friday night, the Chicago Cubs were romped by the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday night, as John Lackey struggled once again.

1. 9. 6. 76. Final

It was a sellout crowd in Milwaukee with plenty of Cubbie faithful in attendance, but the Chicago Cubs were unable to overcome a dominant outing from Brewers’ pitcher Zach Davies.

Davies (7-4, 3.64 ERA) was stellar for the Brewers (41-54), going 6 1/3 innings, giving up three hits and just one earned run. Davies, who has had a nice year for the Brewers, received his seventh win of the year.

John Lackey (7-7, 3.79 ERA) took the loss in what proved to be another less-than-mediocre outing. Lackey continues to be plagued by the long ball, as he gave up a two-run home run in the first inning. The Cubs have now lost six of Lackey’s last seven starts.

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With Lackey being so ineffective over the last month and a half, the Cubs find themselves in a tough spot. Based on pedigree and salary alone, it would be quite difficult to justify bumping him out of the rotation. But the Cubs’ front office has indicated that they would be open to adding starting pitching at the deadline, and if they do so, someone is likely to lose their spot.

The Cubs started to put a rally together in the seventh inning, as Addison Russell drove in Ben Zobrist on a RBI single, cutting the lead down to 3-1. Earlier in the inning, Zobrist recorded a base hit, ending a 0-for-24 skid. The rally soon ended with a Javier Baez strikeout and a Matt Szczur ground out.

Clayton Richard came in to start the seventh inning, and unsurprisingly, it did not go well. Richard gave up a hard-hit double to the first batter he saw, and then promptly hit his next batter. With Joe Nathan expected to join the team on Sunday, this could very well have been Richard’s final chance to prove he belongs.

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If this really was Richard’s last appearance in a Cubs’ uniform, then I have to say, it was disappointing to see him go out this way. Richard was a reliable arm for the Cubs in 2015. I only wish that could have carried over into this season, but in baseball, it’s business as usual. Tough decisions have to be made. Though in this case, the decision may not be too tough.

Mike Montgomery made his Cubs debut in the bottom of the eighth inning, inheriting two baserunners. It wasn’t the debut he was hoping for, as Montgomery gave up a three-run homer to Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Nieuwenhuis, who is batting a paltry .207, went 3-for-3 with two home runs.

The Cubs (58-38) have not yet lost a series since resuming play after the All-Star break, and they’ll have a chance to keep that trend alive on Sunday.  The rubber match will feature Jon Lester facing off against Junior Guerra at 1:10 pm.