MILWAUKEE – Chicago Cubs outfielder Junior Lake had a brutal game Friday night, highlighted by two strikeouts and two misplays in the first inning of the Cubs' 5-2 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. He did no favors for starter Carlos Villanueva, who suffered the loss after giving up 11 hits in just five innings.
With a man on second and none out in the first, Brewers second baseman Scooter Gennett hit a line drive off Villanueva to left field, where Lake misplayed it into an RBI double. The next batter, Ryan Braun, singled to left, and Lake came up throwing with no chance to get Gennett at home, allowing Braun to get to second base.
“In between innings he said, ‘My bad,’” Villanueva (1-5, 10.42 ERA) recalled after the game. “He’s not trying to make a mistake. You can see he cares. If he didn’t care, he’d be getting a different kind of chat from me.”
Lake went 0-for-3 at the plate and, after his first strikeout, he broke the bat over his leg in frustration. In the next at-bat, in the seventh, he struck out looking.
Villanueva, for his part, tried to keep the night in perspective.
“You can’t be selfish, you can’t be all that,” he said. “You can’t throw your arms up in the air. You can’t show anyone up.”
Lake is going to get a long look this season as the Cubs decide if he's part of their future core -- either as a starter or role player. Nights like Friday won't help his cause.