4/21 Brewers 4, Cubs 2
The errors and the losses keep adding up for the Cubs, and may lead to some changes on the roster. Ryan Braun smacked a three-run home run to lift the Brewers to a 4-2 victory Sunday and complete a sweep over the mistake-prone Cubs, who committed two more miscues.
“You out-hit a team every day and you lose,” Dale Sveum said. “It doesn’t happen very often.”
The Cubs did just that, out-hitting the Brewers, 22-16, in the series, including a two-run homer by Anthony Rizzo in the third to back Scott Feldman. But Feldman also made a critical error, which led to Braun’s home run. The Cubs rank second in the Major Leagues with 17 errors, trailing the Nationals, who have committed 18.
“We keep shooting ourselves in the foot and that’s something we can’t do — I don’t think we’re good enough to be doing that,” Rizzo said of the poor defensive play. “We need to play good baseball. That’s the game of baseball, though — guys are going to make errors, and it’s not going to be the last error we make today, we’re going to make plenty more but we’re going to make plenty more good plays, too.”
In the Milwaukee fifth, Yuniesky Betancourt doubled off David DeJesus’ glove as he tried to make a leaping catch at the center-field wall. Two outs later, Jean Segura hit a comebacker to Feldman, who couldn’t get his glove on the ball for an error. Braun then followed with his home run.
“This is one of those games that falls squarely on me,” Feldman said. “If I make that play [on Segura], we’re up 2-1, and my pitch count is down. It’s just a shame I didn’t make the play. … It’s like a Little League play.”
Unfortunately, it’s not the first time the Cubs have made an error that led to a run and a loss. The Cubs were 1-for-17 with runners in scoring position, charged with six errors in the series, and now have given up 14 unearned runs over 17 games.
“Going into a season, I don’t care if you’re the best team in baseball, you’re going to have a week to 10 days that you play [sloppy] baseball,” Sveum said. “That’s a given going in. Obviously, good teams have really good streaks and long streaks. Hopefully, we’re getting this out of our system. We know this team is a lot better than we’ve played.”
The mistakes have forced Cubs starters to work even harder, dealing with the extra outs. Chicago starters have ranked among the top in the National League this season, and their combined ERA actually dropped to 3.13 after Feldman’s outing. He has failed to post a quality start in his three outings.
Before the game, Sveum said the Cubs would look for other options if play didn’t improve. It would seem that players like Castro and Rizzo were set, but Sveum didn’t exclude them.
“You have to perform,” Sveum said. “The bottom line is you have to perform.”
“You can’t think about that,” Rizzo said about the possibility of being sent down. “Everyone in here is in the big leagues and everyone wants to be in the big leagues, no one wants to go to the Minor Leagues. Whatever happens, happens.
“This team is going to have a lot more transactions throughout the year,” Rizzo said. “Guys are going to come and go, that’s part of the game. You can’t worry about getting sent down — I’ve done it before and it never works out when you think about that. You just have to go out and play.”
Castro, whose error in the fifth Saturday led to two Brewers runs, did talk to Sveum in Chicago.
“I feel bad,” Castro said of his mistakes. “Those errors make the team lose. That’s why the team is losing now because of the errors. We have to keep it together, work hard and it’s going to be all right.
“The talent is here,” Castro said. “The only thing is the whole team is trying to do too much because everybody feels bad about the way the team is playing now. That’s why everybody is trying to do too much.”
Players aren’t hiding from the mistakes.
“It’s frustrating,” Rizzo said, “but everyone is competitive and that’s why I think it’s so frustrating. We’re young and we want to win and we’re hungry to win and we just have to keep fighting and keep believing in ourselves and each other and keep the line moving when we’re at the plate and don’t try to hit a five-run home run when you just have to get the next guy up.”
— Carrie Muskat