Tyler Chatwood looks better but not good enough to prevent Cubs’ loss to Brewers
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MILWAUKEE — Cubs right-hander Tyler Chatwood didn’t come close to beating the Brewers on Tuesday at Miller Park.
Right-hander Chase Anderson and third baseman Travis Shaw made sure of that much, leading the Brewers to 4-0 victory that knocked the Cubs out of first place in the National League Central. The result came about 24 hours after the Cubs knocked the Brewers out of first.
If there was a victory to be had in a game Cubs manager Joe Maddon called ‘‘innocuous,’’ it was the walk-prone Chatwood’s work after one of his wildest starts of the season.
‘‘I want to believe he’s going to feel good about himself going home tonight,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘You saw what he’s capable of doing.’’
Far and away the major-league leader in walks this season, Chatwood didn’t walk a batter until the third and finished his five innings with only two. It was only the third time in 13 starts this season he had walked that few.
‘‘He seems to be more at ease with himself,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘It’s not a physical thing. [Chatwood and pitching coach Jim Hickey] kind of ironed out the delivery part. Now it’s just a matter of him going out there and seeing the target, picking up the glove and throwing it where he wants to.’’
The Cubs wanted to see Chatwood use more of his off-speed pitches instead of forcing his four-seam fastball, and he seemed to follow the script.
Chatwood, whose 58 walks are 15 more than anyone else in the majors has allowed, said he found a comfort zone with his two-seamer and used a strong mix of slower stuff, including nine changeups.
‘‘Obviously, I don’t feel good that we lost the game, but I felt a lot [more] consistent,’’ said Chatwood (3-5), who could provide a major boost for the pitching staff if he can solve his control problems.
‘‘Like I said before, last outing wasn’t pretty. But I felt like I built on some stuff, and I took it into this outing. . . . Now it’s just keeping that feeling that I had today.’’
Maybe by the next time he faces the Brewers, he can be a difference-maker for an upward move in the standings.
Instead, it was Anderson. He throttled the Cubs for seven innings, allowing two walks and an infield hit and retiring the final 17 batters he faced.
Shaw provided all of the Brewers’ runs with a pair of two-run doubles, one in the first and the other in the third.
The kind of night it was for the Cubs might have been summed up by a rundown play immediately before Shaw’s second double, in which both runners wound up safe.
With Christian Yelich on second and nobody out, Lorenzo Cain hit a chopper to Javy Baez behind second base, and Yelich was caught in no-man’s land between second and third. Baez threw to third baseman Kris Bryant, and the Cubs got Yelich in a rundown that required too many throws and ended up with too many Cubs at second.
By the time Chatwood was running Yelich back to second, he saw Cain heading toward second for what looked like an easy out. But as soon as Chatwood coasted into second, Cain turned and sprinted back to first, with nobody covering the bag.
‘‘It was just a weird play, a smart play by Cain,’’ Chatwood said. ‘‘He realized nobody was at first, so he let us run Yelich all the way back, and then he ran back to first.
‘‘I don’t think I’ve ever been part of anything like that.’’