Error, missed chances costly in Crew's loss

April 27th, 2018

CHICAGO -- An error hurt. So did a stiff breeze off Lake Michigan. The Brewers have had to be inch-perfect to beat the Cubs so far in 2018, and on Friday afternoon, most of those inches worked against them.
's misplay with two outs in the seventh inning spotted the Cubs the go-ahead run after the wind knocked down 's would-be grand slam, sending the Brewers to a 3-2 loss against their chief division rivals at Wrigley Field.
Brewers hitters are still searching for a crooked number to hang on the scoreboard against the Cubs, and Friday's pitcher-friendly conditions did not help. The Brewers fell to 1-5 against the Cubs this season while scoring nine total runs, including four runs in the five losses.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon said the Cubs were fortunate on Friday.
"Those guys are very good," Maddon said. "The Brewers are very good."
An error doomed the Crew, however. After Yelich settled for a tying sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh inning, a pair of ground-ball singles gave the Cubs runners at the corners with one out in the bottom of the frame and prompted a call for Brewers reliever and designated escape artist . He struck out Albert Almora Jr. and induced a ground ball that should have ended the threat, but Sogard, who shares shortstop with slick-fielding , bobbled the ball for an error as the decisive run scored.
"I actually had it in my glove going into the slot, and then it just kind of popped out when I was sliding," Sogard said. "I tried to stay with it and get him, but it didn't work out."

It was a costly misplay, especially in light of the conditions.
"In weather like this, there are not runs out there. I think it's been pretty clear for both offenses," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "You drive balls -- when the first-inning ball that [Jesus] Aguilar hits is an out instead of a homer, when the bases-loaded ball is an out instead of four runs, it's tough to score. That's six [runs]."
Neither starting pitcher figured in the decision despite strong efforts. Chicago's blanked the Brewers after a wind-aided unearned run in the first inning through the end of the sixth, striking out eight batters along the way -- including on a knee-buckling 64-mph curveball in the fifth.
Brewers starter found early trouble of his own when Almora, Baez and delivered successive hits for a 2-1 lead to start the bottom of the first inning, drawing an early mound visit from pitching coach Derek Johnson. Suter retired 12 of the next 14 batters, including nine straight from the second inning through the fourth before Darvish led off the fifth with a double.

Facing another pass through Almora, Baez and Rizzo, Suter retired all three to complete his outing. He was charged with two earned runs on five hits in five innings, and he lowered his ERA from 6.15 entering the second inning to 5.34 by the end of the day.
The Brewers' back-to-back losses to begin this series against the Cubs came after eight straight wins against the Reds, Marlins and Royals.

"Look, he had a rough first inning. The ball wasn't going where he wanted it in the first inning," Counsell said. "But after that, his second time through the lineup was the best he's pitched this year. ... Hopefully he found something that he can carry forward."
Yelich said he could not have hit it much better. With the bases loaded and one out in the top of the seventh against Cubs left-hander , Yelich smashed a slider -- 107.5 mph off his bat, according to Statcast™ -- right into the teeth of an easterly wind. It settled into right fielder 's glove at the warning track for a tying sacrifice fly.

"That's part of playing here," Yelich said. "Some days it's blowing in hard, some days it's blowing out hard. Unfortunately for us, it was blowing in hard today. It sucks."
Yelich is still seeking his first Major League grand slam.
"That's clearly a home run on a normal day," Counsell said. "But there's luck involved in the game. We don't want to acknowledge it, and a lot of times it's pretty subtle. Sometimes it hits you in the face. Today was a day it hit you in the face."
How's this for changing speeds? To strike out Pina for the second out of the fifth inning, Darvish froze Pina with a 95 mph fastball followed by a 64 mph curveball.

"I was never expecting him to throw that pitch," Pina said. "He just threw that one all day, right? I was ready for a two-seamer in or a slider away, and he threw me that."
"That's the team we want to beat. That's the team we need to beat. … When we play another team, we just play. When we face the Cubs, we just want to beat them for sure. We'll see [Saturday]." -- Pina

The Brewers are 3-0 in 's starts, and they will look to make it four in a row when the right-hander takes the mound at Wrigley Field on Saturday opposite and the Cubs. Quintana, scheduled to throw his first pitch at 1:20 p.m. CT, has a 0.75 ERA in five career starts against the Brewers, and he has pitched 17 consecutive scoreless innings against Milwaukee dating back to last July.