Cubs

Cubs want another shot at Andrew Miller after shutout loss

Cubs want another shot at Andrew Miller after shutout loss

CLEVELAND - The Cubs didn't look like a team that just got shut out and struck out 15 times in Game 1 of the World Series in the visiting clubhouse at Progressive Field.

Maybe it's because they have endured offensive slumps before this postseason - 21 straight scoreless innings against the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series - and bounced back just fine to score 23 runs in three games to clinch the NL pennant.

Or maybe it's because they nearly got to Andrew Miller, who has taken over title of Best Pitcher on the Planet.

"I hope we [get to see him tomorrow]," Cubs shortstop Addison Russell said. "We got beat by a pretty good ballclub today. On paper, they beat us. It leaves a sour taste in our mouth, but tomorrow's a new day."

That's the Cubs' attitude normally and that spirit has only strenghtened with Kyle Schwarber back in the lineup.

The Cubs obviously didn't score against Miller - who ran his career posteason scoreless streak to 22 innings - but they did force him to throw 46 pitches in two innings and had the best overall outing against the dominant left-hander of any team in 2016:

The first two batters Miller faced - Kyle Schwarber and Javy Baez - worked a walk and then laced an 0-2 single to left field to load the bases. 

Miller then worked out of the bases loaded jam with a shallow pop-out and back-to-back strikeouts, but the next inning, the Cubs made him work again with a Kris Bryant walk and Ben Zobrist single.

Miller avoided that jam by striking out Schwarber to end the inning.

"We put some really good at-bats against these guys today," Schwarber said. "We just didn't come up with the knock when we needed to, but that's baseball."

It was the most pitches Miller has thrown in an outing since September 2011 and the Cubs tallied five different full counts against him in the two innings. 

"Guys getting to see him in the first game I think is always to a hitter's advantage," Anthony Rizzo said. "He's as advertised. He bears in when needed to and gets outs and that's the name of the game."

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With a taxing outing and another game right away Wednesday night, the Cubs feel confident they can get to Miller if he does come back and work again in Game 2.

"That's huge. I'm sure he's going to be a little tired," Bryant said. "He was doing his job, going max effort. 

"Any time you can get their best guy out of the bullpen to throw a lot of pitches and have good at-bats off of him, it gives us a bunch of confidence."

Even if Miller feels fine physically, the Cubs hitters have all seen him now and they can learn from watching his stuff and how he approached hitters in Game 1.

The Cubs had a rough showing against Corey Kluber - only four hits and nine strikeouts in six innings - but he's a Cy Young contender and there are major question marks surrounding the Indians' Game 2 and 3 starters (Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin).

In general, the Cubs came away feeling confident despite putting a goose egg in the runs column.

"I'm a believer," manager Joe Maddon said. "I know we're going to be fine. ... [Kluber], he's in a different league. So if we can continue to work these same kind of at-bats, I feel good moving forward.

"And that's not to denigrate anybody we're going to face. I just thought we actually did better than that all looked tonight. So I'm eager to get back out there and play again tomorrow."

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Jon Lester returns to the Cubs in typical Lester fashion

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USA TODAY

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Jon Lester returns to the Cubs in typical Lester fashion

David Haugh, Matt Zahn, Jim Litke and Steve Wilkos join Kap on the panel.

0:00- Steve talks about the new season of "The Steve Wilkos Show". Plus, he talks about being a Chicago sports fan in the Northeast and his love for the Cubs and Bears.

9:30- The Cubs fall to the Dodgers but Jon Lester pitches well in his return.

14:00- Addison Russell begins his minor league assignment. When should the Cubs bring him back up to the majors?

20:30- JJ Stankevitz joins Kap from Halas Hall to discuss the Bears' plans for the draft.

23:00- Robbie Gould wants out of San Francisco. Could he be dealt this weekend during the draft?

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

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Sports Talk Live Podcast

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Cubs Talk Podcast: Jon Lester returns and Addison Russell's future with the Cubs

lester.jpg
USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Jon Lester returns and Addison Russell's future with the Cubs

Kelly Crull and Tony Andracki discuss Lester's return, the upcoming road trip, plus Addison Russell talks about his suspension.

01:00 Lester looked good in his return to the rotation

03:30 Bullpen getting help from unexpected sources

05:00 Was Almora's hair the reason he wasn't hitting homers?

06:45 Kris Byrant looking better at the plate

09:30 Cubs get ready for game at Arizona and Seattle

10:30 Addison Russell's future with the Cubs

18:30 Will Russell be with the Cubs on May 3rd when eligible?

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

Cubs Talk Podcast

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