Rapid Reaction: Brewers 7, Cubs 5
April, 9, 2012
By Doug Padilla | ESPNChicago.com
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs played it even until their bullpen entered the game and ultimately fell 7-5 to the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday in the opener of a four-game series.
How it happened: Chris Volstad wasn’t able to match what his fellow starters did in the previous three games, but it was against the bullpen where the Brewers really did their damage. Newcomers Shawn Camp and Lendy Castillo combined to give up four runs in a 2 2/3 inning stretch as the Brewers took control of the game. Light-hitting Darwin Barney delivered the first Cubs home run of the season in the first inning while slugger Bryan LaHair added one in the second. The Cubs rallied for two runs in the ninth, but couldn't close the gap.
What it means: Aside from a perfect inning from Rafael Dolis on Saturday and a nice 1 1/3 innings from James Russell on Monday, not much has gone right for the Cubs bullpen. It was expected to be a weakness, but perhaps not to this extreme as it has been exposed in all three Cubs defeats so far. It remains far too early for wholesale changes, so the Cubs will sit tight and hope it turns around, although the front office is looking for left-handed relief help.
Outside the box: The arrival of dusk, along with the fact that there aren’t any stadium lights beyond the outfield walls, proved to be a terrible combination for Brewers center fielder Nyjer Morgan. He had no clue where Geovany Soto's fifth-inning fly ball was headed and it dropped behind him untouched for a triple. Soto scored two batters later on pinch-hitter Blake DeWitt's sacrifice fly.
Off beat: In his first road game, and at Wrigley Field no less, the Brewers’ Ryan Braun heard it from Cubs fans after an offseason when he avoided a suspension despite reported elevated testosterone levels. He even got to read it, if he took a moment to look in to the bleachers. Among the signs held by Cubs fans: “NOT GUILTY [doesn't equal] INNOCENT,” and “Bonds 762*, Braun MVP*, *Cheater.” Former Cub Aramis Ramirez made his return to Wrigley Field with a mixed reaction of boos and cheers that was much quieter than what Braun received.
Up next: Left-hander Paul Maholm will make his Cubs debut when he takes on Milwaukee in the second game of the four-game series. The Brewers will counter with left-hander Chris Narveson in the 7:05 p.m. start from Wrigley Field.