Cubs offense gets shut down once again in 7-0 loss to Brewers
The Cubs scratched out a win against one of Milwaukee's best pitchers on Tuesday. But two days in a row was too much to ask for this offense.
Brewers co-ace Corbin Burnes shut down the sputtering Cubs bats in an easy 7-0 victory in Milwaukee. Burnes allowed 4 hits and struck out 10. For the season, he's collected 30 strikeouts and no walks.
"That's the best guy we've faced all year there today," manager David Ross said after the game. "I mean, 97 with cut, changeup and the breaking ball was really effective, not walking guys. His numbers are pretty ridiculous. We'll take this off day and get back to work against Atlanta."
The Cubs' team batting average remained putrid at .163. Five players in Wednesday's starting lineup ended the day hitting below .200 -- Anthony Rizzo, Ian Happ, David Bote, Eric Sogard and Joc Pederson. Jason Heyward needed 2 hits to reach an even .200. Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras got the day off.
In the last five games, they've been outscored 30-9. The best pitching performance was when Alec Mills stepped in as the emergency starter on Tuesday and the Cubs beat Brewers starter Brandon Woodruff.
Things aren't looking great right now, but Wednesday's losing pitcher, Jake Arrieta, went out of his way to send a calming message after the game.
"I think it's just a tough stretch that we've been on," Arrieta said. "We're going to have periods of struggles like this throughout the season. We'll have ups and downs. We'll also have periods where we go 9-1, 8-2 and things tend to balance themselves out over the course of a six-month season.
"We just so happened to run into one of these stretches right out of the gate. Not ideal, obviously. But it's going to happen. There has been some frustration, but it's not going to do us any good to dwell on it for too long and take it for more than what it is."
It is true the Cubs record is 5-7 right now, not 2-10. They're heading into a long, nine-game homestand against Atlanta, the Mets and a rematch with Milwaukee.
It just happens that last season ended with questions about when the hitters would get going, especially the five regulars left from the World Series team. And now this season began with more offensive issues.
There's been some talk about Cubs hitters trying too hard to break out of their slumps and playing tight.
Arrieta was asked if pitchers can feel that way, knowing they'll need a great performance to win.
"Not at all. I don't feel that way and I hope our others guys don't feel that way and if they do, I'll make sure they stop feeling that way," he said. "It's a matter of maintaining a strong mindset and understanding the routine is more important than the result at certain times."
So the Cubs will try to keep believing things will be better by the weekend. But the same problems continue to plague their hitters.
"We've got to put the ball in play a little more, take our singles when they give it to us," Ross said. "We can't live and die with the home run. I know we're built to slug, but we have to move the baseball a little bit better, especially when we get opportunities to score off the really good pitchers."