Cubs

Command an issue for Jake Arrieta as Cubs throttled by Brewers

Command an issue for Jake Arrieta as Cubs throttled by Brewers

The party’s over. For now.

Ryan Braun launched two homers and five RBI and Chris Carter had a grand slam in the Milwaukee Brewers' 11-3 victory over the Cubs on Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field.

Jake Arrieta threw six innings, four hits, four runs (three earned), four walks and five strikeouts on 102 pitches. He recorded the loss and is 17-7 on the season with a 2.96 ERA.

Arrieta had a solid outing through five innings but started to struggle in the sixth, which he believed changed the game. 

"Really the turning point for me in that game was the two-run homer to Braun," Arrieta said. "(I) go out in the sixth with a two-run lead, wasn’t able to get out of that unscathed, I think there were three or four base runners. And then after the homer, was able to get three outs. Just poor execution. I don’t think we were at our best today."

The Cubs pitcher has a 4.15 ERA in September and has now walked 21 batters over 37 1/3 innings in his last six starts. Command was an issue again for Arrieta, who entered the inning around 60 pitches, but he's not too concerned with it.

"Just need to find that comfort with the sinker in the strike zone first pitch, and then after that it opens up a lot of doors," Arrieta said. "We’re working on it. It has a lot to do with the guy who’s in the box. Just the execution needs to be better early in the count to prevent guys from taking pitches and getting into 2-1, 3-1 counts.

"I just need to tighten that up moving forward. (I) got a couple starts left before October, just to prepare for that."

Arrieta also threw his 15th wild pitch of the season, which leads the National League after throwing only six all of last year.

"We missed locations on several locations and give them credit they did not miss the baseball," said manager Joe Maddon. "That’s what I saw. Jake did not have his typical command. The first home run to Braun you could see how badly he wanted to do one thing and ended up doing something differently."

The Cubs started things off in the first with Kris Bryant’s RBI triple. Chris Coghlan followed with a two-run homer to make it 3-0 early.

The Cubs had many opportunities after that, but failed to score. They left five men on with runners in scoring position.

Perhaps their best opportunity came in the fourth, when the Cubs’ first three men reached on two singles and a walk to start the inning. But Matt Szczur struck out and Munenori Kawasaki grounded into a double play.

In the fourth, Scooter Gennett’s RBI double cut the Cubs’ lead within one, but Braun crushed the first of his two-run homers of the day to give the Brewers their first lead of the game at 4-3.

C.J. Edwards — who had allowed just one homer in his 34-career big league appearances — allowed two in the seventh. Braun homered for the second time, and two batters later, Domingo Santana crushed a solo shot to make it 7-3. Braun finished with three hits, two homers and five RBI.

"We had other opportunities to tie or go ahead. But it was a really good ballgame up until they got those three runs against C.J. and I felt really good about him in that particular moment," Maddon said. "Moving forward that’s what you have to be able to do is execute in big moments. And we normally do. I cannot denigrate our group. Our group has been really good at executing pitches in big moments. We just didn’t do it today." 

Spencer Patton allowed two walks and a hit-by-pitch in the ninth. Carter took full advantage by hitting a grand slam off the left field scoreboard to seal the deal.

The Cubs are 7-2 against the Brewers this season at home. 

Maddon gave his regulars their second consecutive day off after his team clinched the NL Central on Thursday but said they will have a normal lineup on Sunday.

Arrieta has a couple starts left and would like to reach 20 wins, calling it the "benchmark" of starting pitchers. But he's also content with where things stand right now.

"Yeah, 20 is great, but at the same time the position I’m in with our team is more rewarding," Arrieta said. "It stinks to lose the game and to get the loss and to let the lead slip away the way I let it, but at the end of the day, come out here tomorrow, learn from it and get back to work."

Cubs Talk Podcast: Mailbag edition

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Mailbag edition

3:00 - Listener question: Espada or Ross? Kelly Crull shares some inside info on Joe Espada

7:30 - Kelly talks about David Ross' second interview for the Cubs managerial job.

11:30 - Listener question: Say it is Espada, do you see any way David Ross comes on as a coach behind Espada?

13:30 - Listener question: Could the team regress further due to a lack of familiarity with a new manager?

20:10 - Listener question: How hard will Theo and Jed go after Gerrit Cole? And if he's not available who else is?

23:30 - Listener question: Are you trying to extend Castellanos?

26:00 - Listener question: If you sign Castellanos are you also trading Kyle Schwarber?

28:45 - Listener question: Should the Cubs trade Kris Bryant? What would they get back in return?

33:00 - Lighting round: Will Nico Hoerner be the opening day second baseman and keep the job in 2020?

33:10 - Lightning round: Will the Cubs bring back Cole Hamels?

33:45 - Can we and should we clone Javy Baez so we have a fresh Javy when he retires, or is that unethical?

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

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Cubs reportedly had second interview with David Ross

Cubs reportedly had second interview with David Ross

The Cubs' managerial search is in full swing as they continue to line up intriguing candidates to replace Joe Maddon. In recent weeks, Houston Astros bench coach Joe Espada's name has been floated out as a strong candidate, with reports stating that the Cubs had already scheduled their second interview with the much sought after coach

While the fact that Espada is such a strong candidate in the midst of a World Series run has led many to believe he is the runaway favorite right now, it is still very much so a wide-open race. 

It was reported that while not extremely publicized, former Cub David Ross is believed to have had his second interview with the Cubs organization this week. 

Ross, who was extremely clutch in the Cubs 2016 World Series win, has an obvious and extended history with the organization. And while there are no concrete reports on the nature of any follow-up discussions between Ross and the Cubs, it was stated that the two sides have in fact at least had those expanded conversations.

As Kelly Crull hinted at in her tweet, Ross's position with the franchise definitely makes his negotiations about the managerial opening a bit more fluid, which may lead to fewer updates on his specific discussions with the team.  

Ross and Espada certainly sound like the favorites to land the Cubs' managerial opening, as our own David Kaplan stated that manager Joe Girardi, who has been connected to the Cubs throughout this search, looks like the front-runner for the Philadephia Phillies managerial spot. 

The 2019 World Series between the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros kicks off on Tuesday night. Traditionally you do not see MLB franchises make their managerial hiring announcements during the World Series,  so the Cubs' announcement could come on one of the World Series off-days, as early as Thursday. 

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