Sports Everything goes wrong for Cubs as Brewers trim NL Central deficit to 3 games
A refresher course in fundamentals, or even some smelling salts, might be in order for the Cubs after arguably their worst all-around performance of the season.
Two errors were only part of the problem Tuesday night as the Cubs allowed their lead in the National League Central to decrease to three games following an 11-1 humbling by the Brewers at Miller Park.
“We got our butts kicked,” center fielder Albert Almora Jr. said. “That’s basically what happened.”
One night after left-hander Cole Hamels questioned the legitimacy of the rivalry, Cubs fans watched in disbelief as the Brewers took advantage of virtually every miscue — from the errors to a passed ball by catcher Willson Contreras to nine walks by the pitching staff.
The offense was held to three hits in six innings by left-hander Wade Miley as the Cubs lost consecutive games for the first time since dropping three in a row from Aug. 18-21.
“We didn’t pitch well at all,” manager Joe Maddon said. “They didn’t beat us up offensively. We just self-destructed pitching-wise.”
Cubs slugger Anthony Rizzo left the game in the bottom of the sixth, three innings after fouling a pitch off his right foot.
X-rays were negative, and Rizzo was diagnosed with a bruise. Rizzo He told Maddon he’ll be ready for Wednesday night’s series finale.
The only consolation was that the blowout allowed Maddon to pull many of his regulars with eight games left on this stretch of 23 games without a scheduled day off.
“I’m confident,” Almora said. “We’re going to be fine.”
Shortstop Addison Russell, who was charged with a throwing error in the sixth, will get the night off to rest his right shoulder.
“It feels fine,” said Russell, who missed 11 games at the end of August because of soreness. “It was just a little hesitation (on the throw), but it feels fine. It’s just getting back to game speed.”
But the most glaring flaw was the lack of sound defense that had helped them maintain a season-high five-game lead as recently as Sunday night.
A potential double-play grounder grazed off the glove of second baseman Javier Baez that led to a tiebreaking run in the fourth. Baez originally was charged with an error, but the call was changed to a hit for Travis Shaw after the game.
Victor Caratini, Rizzo’s replacement at first, failed to catch a low throw from Russell and was charged with an error in the sixth that was followed by a passed ball by Willson Contreras.
Those miscues allowed two runs to score, and Dillon Maples hit Jesus Aguilar with a pitch with the bases loaded to cap the rally.
Montgomery, who relies heavily on his defense, struggled with his control from the outset.
The second inning mirrored Montgomery’s woes. He walked Travis Shaw and hit Erik Kratz with a pitch to load the bases.
After striking out Orlando Arcia for the second out, Montgomery appeared to be in command with Miley coming to the plate.
But Montgomery hurled a wild pitch that enabled Hernan Perez to score the tying run.
“These games are going to happen,” Almora said. “When it rains, it pours.”