Baserunning gaffes haunt Cubs in loss to Brewers
BY DAN MCGRATH For Sun-Times Media September 7, 2013 11:28PM
Milwaukee Brewers v Chicago Cubs
Updated: October 10, 2013 6:25AM
As they dawdle in the cellar of the NL Central for the second straight season, manager Dale Sveum insists he has no complaints about the Cubs’ effort.
“It’s the nature of the game that when you’re out of contention you lack motivation, but when you’ve got the right guys who care about performance and preparation, it makes a difference,” Sveum said. “I’ve got no problem with our guys playing hard. There’s still a lot of pride.”
And maybe too much effort in the seventh inning of Saturday’s 5-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. Leading off in a 4-3 game, Wellington Castillo hit a liner to left field that handcuffed Caleb Gindl and fell safely. Castillo, a catcher who runs like one, kept chugging for second and was out by eight feet.
“He tried pushing the envelope and it didn’t pay off,” Sveum said.
One batter later, pinch-hitter Junior Lake hustled out an infield hit, but was thrown out stealing on the first pitch to Starlin Castro.
Still trailing 4-3 in the eighth, the Cubs caught a bad break when Nate Schierholtz smoked a liner into the glove of first baseman Yuniesky Betancourt, who tagged Anthony Rizzo as he scrambled back to first, completing a double play.
“A few feet either way and that ball’s in the corner and we’ve probably got a run,” Sveum said.
Instead, they had their 81st loss when Jake Arrieta was touched for four runs in the fourth inning, three scoring on Logan Schafer’s bases-loaded triple that followed two of Arrieta’s four walks.
“I backed myself into a corner with the walks, then I didn’t make a pitch to Schafer when I had to,” Arrieta said.
Johnny Hellweg, the Brewers’ top pitching prospect whom they acquired from the Angels in last year’s Zack Greinke trade, earned his first major league win with six innings of four-hit work.