Offense can’t keep the line moving as Cubs fall to Brewers

Cubs hitters struck out 12 times during Saturday’s 6-5, 10-inning loss to the Brewers and have fanned 27 times in the last two games.

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Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

The Cubs’ offense hasn’t needed to be at the forefront during the team’s 13-5 start to the season. The starting pitching, defense and timely runs have been more than enough.

But on Saturday, Cubs hitters weren’t able to generate much offense when they had their chances and fell to the Brewers 6-5 in 10 innings.

Things started on the right foot for the Cubs when they jumped out to an early lead, thanks to first baseman Anthony Rizzo. He homered into the left-field bleachers on the first pitch he saw from Adrian Houser and added an RBI double in his next at-bat.

But after Rizzo’s second-inning double, Houser settled in. He and the Brewers’ bullpen allowed two hits until the seventh -inning and neutralized the offense.

“Our guys jumped on them early and had some really good at-bats,” manager David Ross said. “They just started to execute pitches and just kept us off balance right there in the middle of the game.

“Obviously, [we came] back with a big hit by [Steven Souza Jr.]. They just locked it in there in the middle.”

It looked all afternoon as if the Cubs needed just one big swing to change the momentum of the game. Things looked bleak until Souza’s first home run of the season tied the score at 4 in the eighth.

The Brewers would have the last laugh in the 10th inning, when an RBI double by -Avisail Garcia and an RBI single by Luis Urias gave them a lead that they would hold. 

It’s the first time the Cubs have dropped back-to-back games this season.

“I mean, it’s tough,” said Rizzo, who went 3-for-5. “The last few years, they’ve done a really good job. 

“That starts with Craig Counsell and the way he’s managed a lot of the moving parts there with their team, and they just always compete. 

“They’re a really good team, and they’re a good team now and their best player on the planet is going through a little bit of a grind right now. These are tough losses, but you got to just turn the page and be ready to play them on.”

The Cubs left nine runners on base and went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. They also have struck out 27 times in the last two games, including six times by shortstop Javy Baez.

Baez is one of many Cubs hitters who has had the misfortune of hitting the ball right at someone. He hit into the shift twice Saturday.

You can’t control where the ball goes,” Ross said. “You got to continue to put in the work, which Javy does, and continue to stay at it. This guy’s been playing for a while now, and he understands [as much as] anybody the ups and downs of the season, and this is no different.

“Hitting is extremely hard, and you try to hit them right on the screws. He did a couple of times tonight. You want them to fall, and usually that’s when things start to turn around, when something just falls in there or gets through. But as long as you’re hitting the ball hard, that’s all that you can control.”

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