Maholm Struggles in Cubs Debut
Tuesday night’s game against the Brewers was over before it really had a chance to get started as Paul Maholm and the Cubs spotted the Brewers a five run lead in the first. Maholm’s Cubs debut could not have been any worse for him or for the Cubs who have now dropped to 1-4 on the year.
With the wind blowing in and temperatures in the upper 30’s most would think this would have been a low scoring game. That however would not be the case. Rickie Weeks led the game off with a walk and soon found himself on third when the next batter Carlos Gomez hit a double. Ryan Braun followed with a sacrifice fly that scored Weeks and Gomez wisely moved to third. With the infield drawn in Aramis Ramirez hit a ball to first baseman Jeff Baker and he fired home, but the speedy Gomez beat the throw to put the Brewers up 2-0. After an Aramis Ramirez stolen base, yes I said stolen base, Maholm hit Corey Hart in the foot. With runners on first and second up stepped Alex Gonzalez who hit the ball through the teeth of the wind into the left field bleachers and just like that the Brewers were up 5-0. The Brewers would send four more to the plate before Maholm and the Cubs would get out of the first. The Brewers would add a run on a Jonathan Lucroy solo homerun in the third.
Down 6-0 the Cubs made some noise in the third. With one out DeJesus and Barney both singled. Chris Narveson then loaded the bases when he walked Starlin Castro, bringing up Alfonso Soriano. Soriano grounded a ball up the middle to put the Cubs on the board making it a 6-2. With first and second Ian Stewart hit a double play ball to shortstop Alex Gonzalez who booted it and all Cubs were safe. Jeff Baker drove Castro in with a sacrifice fly to make it 6-3. The next batter, Geovany Soto hit a ball up the middle only for Rickie Weeks to make a great diving stab to end the Cubs threat.
The Brewers added a run in the seventh off of Rafael Dolis when Jonathan Lucroy singled to bring home our old friend Aramis Ramirez. The Cubs had gone quietly since the third, but would put up a little bit of a fight in the ninth. Leading off Soto hit his first homerun of the year making it a 7-4 game. After a Marlon Byrd strikeout pinch hitter Bryan LaHair walked, which led to the Brewers going to the bullpen and bringing in Francisco Rodriguez. Unfortunately that is where the rally ended as DeJesus struck out on a borderline called strike three and Barney grounded out to short to end the game.
Born on Third’s Thoughts:
Maholm was not good Tuesday night plain and simple. The only good thing is it can only get better for him or so we would think. Dolis struggled a little with his command walking three batters in two innings, which will happen from time to time as his heavy sinker has a lot of movement. With more experience I would like to think he will learn how to harness it a little better, but only time will tell. Being down early it was nice to see the Cubs come back and actually bring the tying run to the plate in the third. On the downside they really did not threaten much the rest of the game. Better luck on Wednesday as Ryan Dempster (0-0) goes to the mound against Brewers ace Yovanni Gallardo (0-1) who struggled his first time out last week against the Cardinals.
Thanks for reading,
– Mark Sorrentino