7/29 Brewers 5, Cubs 0

The Brewers scored five runs in the ninth to take the first game in this four-game, three-day series. What’s lost was a solid outing by Jeff Samardzija, who gave up three hits over seven shutout innings, striking out seven. This marks the third straight game a Cubs starter has gone seven innings and not given up an earned run since Aug. 3-5, 1971, when Bill Hands, Milt Pappas and Juan Pizarro did so.

The Cubs have said from the start of the season that the kid gloves are off Samardzija, who has 144 innings. He was shut down after throwing 174 2/3 innings last year. His goal this year is 200 innings and to make every start.

“Not that I’m a big goals guy,” he said, “but going into Spring Training that was No. 1 on my list, to pitch every fifth day and be healthy and even when you’re not healthy [to still] pitch, and be a guy on this team that hey, every fifth day, that name is in the lineup and he’s pitching, and we have a chance to win that day. It’s been my No. 1 goal from the start of the season was to pitch and be strong every game. I like where I’m at right now.”

He also likes where the team is at.

“We’re making a good late run and I feel good physically and my arm feels good, and I really feel like I’m improving as a pitcher, too, which feels really good to go out there and make some pitches in the game and know you made the right choice and get the right result,” he said.

The Cubs have stayed competitive despite losing two-fifths of their rotation in trades. How does Samardzija view the way Dale Sveum has handled things?

“‘Sveumer’ is a consistent dude,” Samardzija said. “Everytime he comes to the park, he has one goal in mind and that’s fielding a lineup that has a chance to win the game. He does a great job instilling that confidence in every player that that’s our goal. On top of that, with this roster we have, there’s a lot of scrappy guys who can play the game. With those two things combined, I feel every day we show up and we’re ready to win a ballgame in any form necessary.

“We’ve had a few games that have taken a different route, where the pitching’s been great, or the hitting’s been great,” he said. “We know we’re going to be in every game, they’re going to be tight. We need to figure out a way to pull them out. I really like the way we’ve played these teams in the top of the division, to tell you the truth. I know San Fran isn’t up there, but they’re the defending world champs, Arizona is at the top of their division, and Colorado has one of the most potent offenses in the league. We come to play against these guys.

“That’s exciting and it says a lot about this team and this roster from top to bottom,” he said. “These guys come to work every day and that’s all you can do. You come to play every day and everyone knows how good it feels to win as opposed to losing. That’s the first thing that’s on everyone’s mind is do what it takes to win this day.”

* EXTRA BASES: Junior Lake snapped an 0-for-14 stretch with a single in the third. He has five multi-hit games in his first 11 big league games. … The Cubs were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position, and are 9-for-84 (.107) with RISP since the All-Star break. … Chicago is 15-29 vs. the NL Central.

– Carrie Muskat

15 Comments

Where`s the offense? Is MIA. Is a minor miracle we swept the Giants as the bats were almost completely silent in that series. This is embarrassing.

The offense has been missing for most of the season and the recent string of wins we have experienced are coming via luck (i.e. Schierholtz home run etc.) and not because the team is very good. Despite Sveum’s questionable managing such as playing Barney day in and day out (yes, I said it White….Barney needs the bench for a week or so…what’s fair is fair…), not to mention the other night allowing Barney to swing away in what CALLED for a sac bunt, instead yet another Barney ground ball DP. I’ll take the wins but can’t get excited about WHY we are winning when it is so apparent that the offense pretty much stinks and the manager is very suspect.

I commented earlier that Strop was unscored upon. Did I jinx the dude?

I doubt it, had to give up a few sooner or later. Just hope he gave them all up at once.

I agree with joey, and especially with the lack of production from the second base position. Barney has struggled at the dish all season, and he shows no signs of turning it around. I`ve withheld my criticism in deference to White, but it`s been challenging.

There has not been much production from several, Castro, Barney, Castillo, Ransom & Valbuena has his days, but no consistant production, Rizzo has a decent OBP, but his AVG is not good at all.
This year the starting pitching gets the team MVP and Wood is the leader, not the expected Samardizja.

Castro is over 300 in his last 100 abs…. he is coming around

I agree that Wood has been our ace, Jasper. Is not shabby when it comes to offense as well.

Agree jhosk, A RH hitter like Hairston is not needed next year, bring Wood in as the RH pinch hitter.

I predict Barney will be out of baseball in three years……the guy is always late on his swings…his defense is now average……Barney needs to step up a few notches or he will be on the bench very soon…..and watching Alcantara in his place.

Dont know if I would replace Barney with Alcantara YET, but it would be nice to see what Logan Watkins brings to the team for the remainder of the year.

I don’t think Barney will be out. And if you say Barney is going to be out soon, Rizzo will be too because he has been struggling just as much as Barney. But they both need to step it up, and I know that they can do it too

I am not impressed by Strop. Why were the broadcasters going on and on about his striking out of Buster Posey and getting out of a jam, that was of his own making, I might add? That’s his job; that’s what he gets paid to do. And then last night, he totally fell apart. I think that his pitching is very Marmolesque! You can’t count on him.

I like that reference to Marmol, Deborah, but please don`t beat up on Strop yet. Has been with the club an ever so short time, and had been stellar in every appearance prior to this one. I believe he`s being overused by the manager, as he`s been called on in successive games. Unless he has a rubber arm the way Sparky Lyle had back in the day with Yankees, Strop may need a day of rest betwixt appearances.

You have a point there jhosk, over use. Look at the games for Russell last year and this, I think the guy is used up. How many games has Gregg been lately?
Thats why I think they should get what they can now for both.

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