Beer-cheese soup blog: Milwaukee far north of Chicago
MILWAUKEE – It looks more like a day better suited for Bears-Packers than Cubs-Brewers, but as long as we’ve got a roof and the grass has some sunlamps, we’re OK for baseball at Miller Park. Outside, it’s cloudy and in the 40s, but that retractable roof will be closed.
The Cubs woke up this morning already 10.5 games behind the first-place Brewers in the NL Central standings, and we’ve still got a few days before we hit May.
Neither Ryan Braun nor Jean Segura will be in the Milwaukee lineup today. Braun is suffering from an intercostal strain, which bothered him last night. Segura was smacked in the side of the face by the bat-swinging Braun before the bottom of the first inning last night and had to be taken to the hospital for stitches. Neither apparently needs to go on the DL.
Cubs manager Rick Renteria was asked what he likes about the 18-6 Brewers.
“I think they minimize mistakes,” he said. “They take advantage of other mistakes from opponents. If we over throw the ball, they take the extra base. They’re constantly looking at taking the extra base. They’re constantly looking to put themselves in a hitting position that allows them the opportunity to put the ball in play when they need to, drive the ball. Fundamentally, they’re doing a lot of good things.”
The Cubs will go with a different-looking lineup today:
Kalish makes his first start as the leadoff man as Emilio Bonifacio gets a day off.
“He has the ability and has the history coming up being a guy who can work the count and get on base,” Renteria said of Kalish. “I thought it was kind of an appropriate substitution.”
From the game notes: Hammel leads the majors with an 0.69 WHIP. He’s surrendered just 14 hits and 5 walks in 27.2 innings pitched. Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto is second with an 0.77 WHIP while San Francisco’s Tim Hudson is third with a 0.78 mark. The last pitcher to have a lower WHIP in his first 4 starts as a Cub was George McConnell, who posted an 0.61 WHIP in his first 4 starts for the team that spanned one start in 1914 and three in 1916. The Cubs credit STATS Inc. for the info. Hammel has allowed 3 or fewer earned runs in each of his first 4 starts as a Cub. The last pitcher to start his Cubs career with a longer stretch was Randy Wells, who began with 6-straight starts of 3 or fewer earned runs allowed from May 8-June 7, 2009.
Starlin Castro has reached safely in each of his last 12 games at Miller Park dating to August 22, 2012. He has batted .306 (15-for-49) in that stretch … Welington Castillo’s 4 home runs are tied for third most among National League catchers with Miami’s Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Atlanta’s Evan Gattis leads with 6 home runs while San Francisco’s Buster Posey has 5 … The Cubs are hitting just .204 (73-for-358) on the road, 47 points lower than their .251 home average (107-for-426) … Cubs pitching has produced a 3.90 road ERA (40 ER/92.1 IP), slightly lower than their 4.00 ERA (52 ER/117.0 IP) at home … the 3.74 road ERA ranks sixth-best among N.L. clubs.
The Cubs are now winless in their last 13 series dating to last year. The team’s last series victory was Sept. 9-11 of last year in Cincinnati, when the Cubs took two-of-three games from the Reds.
Class AAA Iowa moved into first place, winning its fifth straight Saturday, beating Colorado Springs 9-6 in 13. The I-Cubs are 4 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2010 season. Kyle Hendricks got no decision as he worked 6 innings and gave up 10 hits and 4 runs while walking two and striking out four. His ERA is 4.11. Chris Valaika hit his second homer. Jonathan Mota and Eli Whiteside also homered.
Infield prospect Arismendy Alcantara recorded a career-best 5 hits, going 5-for-7 with a triple and 3 RBI. Jeffry Antigua struck out three over 4 scoreless innings to get the win, with Blake Parker picked up his second save.
Class AA Tennessee dropped its third straight, 4-3 to Huntsville in 13 innings. Kris Bryant hit his fifth homer, going 2-for-6. He has hit safely in nine straight, going 14-for-39 (.359). Rehabbing pitcher Jake Arrieta tuned up with 2 innings of 2-hit, 2-run ball. He may rejoin the active Cubs roster later this week. Jeudy Valdez was 3-for-5 with a homer.
Daytona (A) beat Brevard County 2-0. Jose Rosario got the win, working 6 innings of 5-hit ball. He is 2-2 with a 3.86 ERA. Tim Saunders was 1-for-3 with a walk, a triple and 2 RBI. Bijan Rademacher extended a hit streak to 10 games, going 2-for-4. He is 13-for-37 (.351) in the streak.
The Kane County Coougars (A) got 4 in the ninth for a walk-off win over Wisconsin. Yasiel Balaguert drove in the winning run. Starting pitcher Duane Underwood worked 3.2 innings and gave up 5 hits and 4 runs, 3 earned. He has an ERA of 3.09. Jordan Hankins was 2-for-4.