Cubs

Cubs offense hits rough patch in loss to Brewers

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Cubs offense hits rough patch in loss to Brewers

It was a picture-perfect day at Wrigley Field, but the Cubs still walked away with a bad taste in their mouths.

The Cubs (13-9) offense managed just one run and five hits as they lost to the Brewers 6-1 in front of 34,878 fans at Wrigley Field.

In addition to the 70-degree weather and sun-soaked forecast, it was also the first time the wind was blowing out for a game this season at the corner of Clark and Addison.

But the Brewers (6-18) were the only team to truly take advantage of the conditions, as Ryan Braun hit a two-run homer in the first inning off Cubs starter Jake Arrieta. Milwaukee added another pair of runs in the second off a couple of balls just out of the reach of Cubs defenders.

"Just wasn't very good today," Arrieta said. "Plain and simple, didn't do a good enough job. We need more out of our starter and didn't give us the effort that I intended to today."

On one play in the second inning, Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell collided in shallow right field attempting to catch Carlos Gomez's looping pop-up, which wound up falling for a hit, leading to the first run. Both players were shaken up on the play, but stayed in the game.

"It was really just awkward from the dugout," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "Got out there and neither one seemed to be in trouble, so obviously felt good about that. We're just fortunate it wasn't worse than it looked."

The Brewers got their sixth run in the ninth inning when Starlin Castro made a throwing error to first base and even though no one had covered third base, Rizzo turned and threw it anyways, allowing Logan Schafer to circle the bags on what started as a weak ground ball to shortstop.

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Rizzo provided the only offense for the Cubs with a solo shot to center in the sixth inning.

Jorge Soler and Miguel Montero started off the eighth and ninth innings, respectively, with singles, but the Cubs weren't able to do anything after that.

Beyond that, the only other hits were singles off the bats of Chris Denorfia and Russell.

"The home run early on by Braun really set the tone for them," Maddon said. "And we were just unable to answer anything. Their guy pitched really well. [Fiers] was good today."

The day started promising for the Cubs as two of the first three batters - Soler and Rizzo - worked walks from Brewers starter Mike Fiers, but Fiers then came back to strike out Kris Bryant and Miguel Montero as part of a stretch where he retired 12 Cubs in a row.

Fiers struck out 12 batters in his six innings and the Cubs struck out 18 times as a whole on the afternoon. Maddon attributed the high strikeout total to Fiers' location.

"I just think he was throwing the ball where he wanted to," Maddon said.

The Cubs have now scored just three runs in the last 30 innings dating back to Tuesday.

Kris Bryant and wife Jessica take batting practice at home, with fun twist

Kris Bryant and wife Jessica take batting practice at home, with fun twist

The baseball season is on hold due to COVID-19, but Kris Bryant is still getting his work in.

Sunday, Bryant shared clips of him and his wife, Jessica, taking batting practice in their at-home cage. We know Bryant has a nice swing, but Jessica — who played high school softball — has quite the sweet stroke herself.

Not to be outdone, Bryant wraps up the post by showing a highlight of the home run he hit at the 2016 All-Star game.

Ah, sweet nostalgia.

The Bryant's son is due in the near future, so perhaps we'll get a look at all three in the cage in a couple of years. With an at-home facility, the kid is going to be a stud, right?

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Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel's unique pitching pose stemmed from an injury

Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel's unique pitching pose stemmed from an injury

Craig Kimbrel’s debut season with the Cubs didn’t go well. The closer on a Hall of Fame trajectory went 0-4 with a 6.53 ERA (8.00 FIP) and 1.597 WHIP in 2019, converting 13 of 16 save tries.

Kimbrel had an abnormal preseason last year and didn’t make his season debut until late June. 2020 is a clean slate for the right-hander, but Major League Baseball is looking at an unorthodox season due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Whenever the season starts, Kimbrel has the chance to start fresh and put last year’s struggles behind him. Until then, here’s a few things to know about him:

1. Kimbrel was born in Huntsville, Ala., and played quarterback as a junior and senior at Lee High School. Per a Q&A on his website, the school featured a run-oriented offense, and Kimbrel said he "wasn't really good." Alas.

2. Post-grad, Kimbrel attended Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, Ala. He went 8-0 with a 1.99 ERA as a freshman, leading to the Braves selecting him in the 33rd round of the 2007 draft.

Kimbrel returned to school and improved his draft stock, going 9-3 with a 2.88 ERA and 123 strikeouts in 81 innings as a sophomore. Atlanta drafted him again in 2008, this time in the third round.

3. Kimbrel’s pitching stance is notorious — he bends his torso parallel to the ground and dangles his arm at a 90-degree angle. But he doesn’t do it for kicks. It became too painful for him to hold his arm behind his back in 2010, when he suffered from biceps tendinitis.

Opposing fans have made fun of the stance, but hey, it’s unique.

4. During his time with the Red Sox (2017-18) Kimbrel and his teammates — including David Price, Chris Sale and Xander Bogaerts — became avid fans of “Fortnite,” the multiplayer-focused video game that took the world by storm two years ago.

“Let’s say we get back at 11 p.m. from a game, we’ll play until 1 a.m., 1:30 a.m., 2 a.m. depending on what time our game is the next day,” David Price told The Athletic in 2018. “But day games or off days, we can put some time in.”

Same, David. Same.

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