More like Life Alert for the Cubs. They’ve fallen and they can’t get up.
All right, all right. It’s only mid-April. It’s stupid to draw any big-picture conclusions after 13 games.
Not with 149 games remaining, no matter how sloppy they looked at times in a 6-3 loss to the Brewers on Monday night at Wrigley Field.
“People are probably talking [crap] about our bullpen. People are probably talking [crap] about our bats,” reliever Justin Grimm said. “But we know how good we are. You look around this room, and everybody’s more than capable of doing their job, on a consistent basis as well. I wouldn’t even say we had a rough couple weeks. I’d just say a rough series.”
In fact, the Cubs won their first three series, including the first two on the road. And nobody who has watched baseball would have reasonably expected the kind of wire-to-wire race to the promised land the Cubs experienced last year.
About the only thing that is certain is that repeating won’t be easy.
The Cubs’ fourth consecutive loss dropped them to 6-7 — the first time they’ve had a losing record even this late into a season since their last-place finish in 2014. They’ve been out-homered 8-2 over the last three games.
“We’re 12 or 13 games into the season. We’re competitors, and we want to win every game, but it’s baseball,” said center fielder Albert Almora Jr., whose two-run double in the second tied the game briefly. “We’ll be fine.”
Brewers first baseman Eric Thames was the star Monday. He doubled and scored in the first, homered in the third and singled and scored in the eighth.
“I didn’t necessarily see that kind of pop out of him [earlier in his career],” manager Joe Maddon said. “Right now he’s definitely scary every time he swings the bat. Give it to him. He really has made himself into a more dangerous looking hitter. That swing is very lethal.”
Unlike their three-game sweep at the hands of the Pirates over the weekend, the Cubs didn’t wait for the bullpen to give up the damage.
Starter John Lackey was tagged for Ryan Braun’s two-run homer into the left-field wind in the first, Jett Bandy’s solo shot near the same place in the second and Thames’ shot just to the left of those in the third. Lackey regrouped to finish six innings without allowing another run and left trailing 4-3.
Lefty Mike Montgomery allowed two more in the eighth, one with the help of a throwing error by catcher Willson Contreras after Braun stole third on an unaware Montgomery.
“It’s too early to panic about anything right now,” Lackey said. “We’ve got obviously a lot of talent on this team. The last 10 years or so, I kind of break the season up in quarters. Until you get to about 40, 50 games, we’ll see where we’re at then. Right now it’s pretty early.”
The Cubs didn’t endure their seventh loss of the season last year until May.
“Obviously, it stinks,” Kyle Schwarber said. “But we have to turn the page. It happened to us right before the All-Star break last year, we hit a skid. There’s no panic. We know that we’re a good baseball team, and we’ll bounce back.”
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