Team drops 3rd in row, se­ries against Brew­ers be­fore gru­el­ing stretch

Chicago Sun-Times - - SPORTS - rdorsey@sun­ RUS­SELL DORSEY | @Russ_Dorsey1

Things have gone right for the Cubs more times than not in the first three weeks of the sea­son, but they’re fac­ing a lit­tle bit of ad­ver­sity for the first time in 2020.

The Cubs lost right-han­der Tyler Chatwood to the 10-day in­jured list Sun­day, dropped three of four games against the Brew­ers and now face a stretch of eight games in seven days, which would be a chal­lenge for any team.

‘‘We needed that one ex­tra lit­tle bloop to maybe fall, and it’s a dif­fer­ent story,’’ left-han­der Jon Lester said af­ter the Cubs’ 6-5 loss Sun­day. ‘‘I felt like that was kinda the week­end for us, and that hap­pens. I think it’s mag­ni­fied with 60 games, but we show up to­mor­row, we get back on the horse and try to get back into the ‘W’ col­umn.’’

It was the ex­tra-base hit that did Lester and the Cubs in. The Brew­ers were able to bar­rel up Lester’s cut­ter af­ter he cruised through the first two in­nings, strik­ing out three of the first six bat­ters he faced.

Ke­ston Hiura started the dam­age by crush­ing a 419-foot, three­run home run in the third af­ter the Cubs had taken a 3-0 lead in the first. In the fifth, Lester al­lowed a lead­off triple to Luis Urias be­fore Or­lando Ar­cia fol­lowed by turn­ing on a cut­ter about six inches off the plate for a two-run homer to give the Brew­ers a 5-3 lead.

‘‘I wasn’t sur­prised he got the bat head there; I was just sur­prised that he kept it fair,’’ Lester said. ‘‘When I saw it on a re­play, I was like, ‘Gosh, I just don’t know how he kept it fair.’ Even the one where I gave up the three-run homer, I felt like that was a pretty de­cent pitch. You know, guys are good . ... I’d like to think that if I ex­e­cute those pitches again, maybe I’ll get a dif­fer­ent re­sult.’’

The Brew­ers had four ex­tra­base hits in six in­nings against Lester and five to­tal. Four of the five came around to score, which proved to be the de­cid­ing fac­tor in the game.

The Cubs’ of­fense scored five runs and showed other signs of life, in­clud­ing Nico Ho­erner’s 13-pitch at-bat against closer Josh Hader in the ninth. They also had their strug­gles, strik­ing out 53 times dur­ing the four-game se­ries.

‘‘I think our ap­proach has been good,’’ man­ager David Ross said. ‘‘We’re get­ting into a lot of deep counts. I just think some guys aren’t quite where they want to be and com­fort­able at the plate.

‘‘I think we’re just talk­ing about hav­ing a plan within your ap­proach. That’s the main thing . . . . I think these guys have bought into what­ever the game plan is that day. There’s no real mantra that we’ve [had to] hit home. I think it’s about hav­ing your plan and trust­ing your plan.’’

The Cubs likely will find out a lot about them­selves with a long, gru­el­ing week of games ahead.

‘‘I think this could be a pretty good test,’’ out­fielder Kyle Sch­war­ber said. ‘‘We’re gonna be play­ing a pretty good team [the Car­di­nals], but they had a lit­tle bit of a lay­off [be­cause of a COVID-19 out­break]. I think this can be a test for us to be able to go out there and kind of show the guts . . . .

‘‘This isn’t ideal, play­ing five games in three days. I think that we’re all go­ing to have a mind­set to at­tack [it] each game at a time, and I think that you’re gonna see that out of every­one.’’


Man­ager David Ross chats with left-han­der Jon Lester dur­ing the fifth in­ning Sun­day against the Brew­ers.

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