WP: Jose Quintana (1-0); LP: Chase Anderson (0-1); Save: Brandon Morrow (2) Home runs: Chi – Zobrist (1); Mil – none
Get yer Box Score here!
For those of you who didn’t pay attention this off season, the Chicago Cubs (5-4) have put together a darn good rotation. Today the Cubs had lefty Jose Quintana on the hill, and he was as tough as Yu Darvish was yesterday or Jon Lester was Thursday. The only pitcher that showed any chinks was Kyle Hendricks, and he had just one bad inning. The Brewers didn’t face Tyler Chatwood, the Cubs’ #5 starter. Perhaps today’s Brewers’ (5-5) starter Chase Anderson could crack that rotation, but perhaps not. The Cubs polished off their three out of four series win with a 3-0 victory.
Quintana worked six shutout innings, allowing three hits, walking two, and striking out six. He overpowered an all right handed lineup for the Crew and could have come out for the seventh if he hadn’t been pinch-hit for in the top of the inning, as he was sitting at just 87 pitches thrown.
Anderson had a solid start for Milwaukee, going six innings with four hits, two walks, and two runs allowed. The first Cubs run came in the top of the fourth when Ben Zobrist pulled one down the rightfield line that grazed the outside of the foul pole for his first homer of the season. The second run came in the top of the fifth on a walk, a sac bunt from Quintana, and a double with two strikes by Alberto Almora. Good situational baseball by the Cubs.
Taylor Williams got the seventh, just a few hours after his call-up from AAA Colorado Springs. With the team in Omaha, at least it was a shorter flight. The Cubs used their Cardinals approach and the Brewers’ shoddy infield defense to score an unearned run, getting a jam-job single from Victor Caratini, a popup single that Orlando Arcia had in his glove but lost when he hit the ground, and an error on a groundball hit right at Jesus Aguilar to plate their third run. Williams got his three outs via strikeout, with the final out a called strike on Kris Bryant over the inside corner.
It was a tough sequence for Jesus, as he came up in the bottom of the sixth with runners at first and third and two down, with Milwaukee down 2-0. Quintana struck him out on a slow curve for his last batter faced in the game.
Adrian Houser made his 2018 debut in the top of the eighth and was hit harder than Williams but got out of it unscored upon. After a long at bat of fouling off 96-97 mph fastballs Willson Contreras tripled off of the Yount’s Triples angled wall in center, but Houser fanned Kyle Schwarber and snared a come-back liner by Addison Russell to end the inning. Houser came back out for the top of the ninth and retired the Cubs in order with two strikeouts. Both Williams and Houser looked very good; the future – perhaps present? – bullpen arms of the Brewers look good.
The Cubs turned things over to their bullpen in the bottom of the seventh, and the majors’ leading relief corps shut down the Brewers the rest of the way. Justin Wilson had a perfect seventh with two strikeouts; Carl Edwards was perfect in the eighth with one ‘K’, and Brandon Morrow earned his second save of the year and his second save in two days by working a perfect ninth. The Cubs retired the last eleven Brewers they faced, completing a combined three hit shutout. This marks the third time the Brewers were shut out in less than a week.
The Brewers travel to St. Louis and face the Cardinals tomorrow night with a 6:05 game time, on Fox Sports Wisconsin. Milwaukee sends out Jhoulys Chacin (0-1, 7.00), trying to find his stuff after two poor starts, and the Crew will face the Cards’ Miles Mikolas for the second time this season. Mikolas is 1-0 with a 6.35 ERA, and was the winning pitcher last Monday in the Redbirds 8-4 win over the Brewers in their home opener.