It’s “Fastball Freddy” Peralta facing rookie hurler Adbert Alzolay in this divisional rival game. Here’s how both teams line up today…
Notable for the Brewers today is rookie Tyrone Taylor batting 3rd, starting in RF. Both Brett Anderson and Josh Lindblom would go on the IL. OF Corey Ray would be called up, as a result.
Kolten Wong, one-upping himself from yesterday, kicks the game off with a double on a nice shot to LF. If you’ll remember from the beatdown yesterday, Wong took his first swings since his return from the 10-day IL, with a single in the 1st inning and a HR in the 6th.
Narvaez, continuing to show his value to this Brewers squad, draws a walk to put runners on 1st and 2nd. Here comes the rookie, Taylor.
Alzolay struggling to locate on the first pitch, but puts a fastball insdie to Taylor, inducing a hard flyball out to LF, into the glove of LF Kris Bryant, but it will advance both runners, Wong to 3rd, Narvaez to 2nd.
Alzolay would get some fight out of Travis Shaw, but a hard 2 seam FB would get a swing and miss for the 2nd out of the inning. Billy McKinney to the plate.
A dissapointing end to a promising situation, Billy McKinney strands both runners with an easy fly to the middle infield. Alzolay gets out of potentially serious trouble.
Freddy takes the mound in hopes of pulling the hat trick, defeating Alzolay for the third time.
A solid start to the outing, Ian Happ goes down swinging on 7 pitches. The fastball is moving. Willson Contreras to bat.
It was Contreras who was hit with a glancing blow to the helmet from a Peralta fastball in the last series between these two teams. Peralta isn’t going inside much in this AB, but Contreras does hit one a mile high, but got just under the pitch for an easy out to LF McKinney.
Anthony Rizzo having a patient AB, working the count to 3-0 before taking one down the middle. The following pitch would be just outside the zone, losing Rizzo on 5 pitches. 1 on, 2 out.
Kris Bryant looking to extend his hitting streak, watch a ball in the dirt get by catcher Narvaez. Rizzo would swipe 2nd base on the pitch. No harm, however, as on the following pitch, a breaking ball would get the 2nd K of the inning for Peralta. END 1, 0-0
Alzolay looking to make shorter work of the Brewers in this inning, as he strikes out the side. Much better pitch count for him exiting the 2nd inning after a 22 pitch 1st inning.
Early action in the bottom of the inning as Matt Duffy lines a pitch to RF for a single. Jason Heyward to the plate.
The shift is on for Heyward in his first AB. It would pay off as Heyward hits directly into the shift; Travis Shaw, on the right side of the bag would take the ball to 2nd in a double play attempt, or at least an attempt to get the lead runner, but that is all they would get.
The shift on again, this time for Eric Sogard. A slow grounder would make it through the infield, but there is seemingly some miscommunication, probably with the responsibilities of the IF. Urias would cover the bag, seemingly thinking Shaw would have a play on the ball. Alas, he would not. Runners on the corners for Nico Hoerner, making his second start of the series.
A fair ball, barely on the inside of the 3rd base bag, would hit the ball boy’s stool, thus stopping the ball and helping Sogard cross the plate after Heyward. Cubs go up 2-0. As the commentary team would mention, it’s usual for the ball boy/ball girl to pick up their seat before vacating the area. Not sure it matters.
Alzolay would bounce out to 1st.
Happ, making his second plate appearance, would fight off a number of pitches, working the count full. Peralta finally gets the strikeout on the 49th pitch of the game, the 11th of the at-bat. END 2, 2-0 Cubs
Alzolay once again making quick work of the Brewers, freezing Freddy Peralta for his 4th straight K, and sitting Kolten Wong down on a flyout.
Narvaez would get some really good contact, but with Sogard playing deep, it’s an easy out at 1st. Alzolay is cruising thus far.
Peralta is back on track, striking out Willson Contreras to kick off the 3rd. It’s good to see no drama to this point with Contreras. That probably has something to do with the fact the Cubs are up at the moment. Let the score change, the temperament will likely follow.
A deep fly ball from Rizzo would get the Cubs faithful going, but it would die just prior to the warning track for a loud out.
Kris Bryant being Kris Bryant hits a nice double down the 3rd base line past a diving Travis Shaw. The play would be much closer at 2nd than it could have been. A better throw would have gotten Bryant.
A strikeout by Matt Duffy would get Peralta out of the inning with Bryant stranded on 2nd. END 3, 2-0 Cubs
There is a reason Alzolay made the opening day roster, in the starting rotation. He’s showing some great command after having a less that stellar start his first time facing the Brewers. A couple of bad innings does not a pushover pitcher make….
Back to back strikeouts of Tyrone Taylor and Travis Shaw have Alzolay locked in for the moment.
Billy McKinney is fighting this AB very hard. He’s gotten close on a couple of foul balls, inches from being possible extra bases. Lots of pitches have been thrown in this AB, but the count remains 1-2. Foul balls for days, but McKinney has been solid thus far. A weak ground ball to 2B would end this AB, though. 12 straight retired by Alzolay, including 7 Ks.
Eric Sogard continues to be an issue and very difficult to keep off the bases. This time, an infield bunt single is the method. He’s also becoming increasingly disliked by Brewers fans, and honestly baseball fans across the league. That’s a whole other conversation.
Peralta struck out Adbert Alzolay to get out of the inning and looked very much in charge out there. Though down 2-0, it doesn’t look like anyone is rattled. Game is still very much in reach. END 4, 2-0 Cubs
Don’t forget to listen to my interview with Cubs Den journalist, Tom Usiak
DK Best Picks July 21, 2021 – The Nasty Nine Podcast
Everyone breathe deep! Keston grabs himself two bases with a big knock into LF! There is life for Keston and we love to see it. If he can do this more than once, he might be ok.
No help would be received from Jackie Bradley Jr. in the next AB, as he pops out to 3rd. Luis Urias would help move Hiura up to 3rd with a deep out to RF, and with that, rookie prospect Corey Ray would come to the plate in his MLB debut.
A patient AB from the rookie would be successful as he drew a walk, bringing up Kolten Wong with runners on the corners.
Thus ended the day of Adbert Alzolay, a very nice outing having allowed no runs. However, the runners on the corners are ultimately his responsibility. In comes lefty RP Rex Brothers. I appearances this season, with a 4.50 ERA, Brothers will have a lefty on lefty matchup vs. Wong.
Continuing his consistent production since rejoining the team, Wong draws a walk to load the bases for Brewers’ top man, Narvaez.
Working the count from 0-2 to drawing a walk shows that Narvaez isn’t only a clutch power bat, nor is he merely a contact hitter. He has the discipline to lay off unfavorable pitches and help manufacture. Brewers score a run.
Tyrone Taylor’s first offering from Rex Brothers results in a HBP and just like that, we have a tie ballgame.
Yet another lefty in the order, Travis Shaw takes to the box with the bases juiced still.
It had to end some time. Shaw strikes out, leaving all 3 runners on. This has been the calling card for the Brewers – missed offensive opportunities.
Brent Suter in to pitch for the Brew Crew.
Throwing errors have been an issue for Luis Urias, but today, it could have come at a worse time. Tie game with much play left, this one shouldn’t be a killer. Nevertheless, Happ takes first before Suter handles a grounder on his own, from Bill Contreras to get the out at 1st. Runner on 2nd with 1 out.
Anthony Rizzo, who has been an issue his whole life, bounces out but moves the runner to 3rd for Bryant.
Suter gets out of the inning by jamming Bryant who flies out to left. No damage done. END 5, Tied 2-2
Brandon Workman in to pitch for the Cubbies. He’s had 7 appearances with a 3.38 ERA
Billy McKinney comes up with finally a favorable matchup. 0 for 2 on the day, he goes down chasing a breaking ball with a major bite. One out.
Hiura secures at least a 2 hit game with a grounder that shoots through the middle infield. This is what he needs. Small victories that get him on base can turn into big, clutch hits that win ballgames. The effect of this is immeasurable. A stolen base a few pitches in to the next AB will only help the coaching staff put more confidence in him going forward.
Another player who could stand to get something going is Jackie Bradley Jr., who gets good lumber on the ball, but shoots it directly at the 2B for the routine out.
Urias draws a walk, putting the debuting Ray up to bat for the 2nd time. With Christian Yelich out of commission for an unknown timeframe, we may be seeing a bit of Ray going forward. A very mature AB from Ray, fighting off a few pitches ,working the count deep, but it would end on a routine grounder to 2B. Nothing to complain about here.
Suter working again in the 6th, gets Duffy to ground out to third. A random thought that popped into my mind, watching Jason Heyward pop out to RF, is that Eric Suter has the same windup as I did in Little League, but he’s going to get all the credit for it. Life is a mystery, folks.
Eric Sogard, with the shift on, continues to be a thorn in the sides of pitchers as he grounds to third, against the shift, and beats out the throw from Urias. That would be his *checks notes* third hit of the day.
Suter would lose Hoerner to a base on balls, which is a rare occurance. Only the third walk allowed on the season for Suter. Yardley loosening up in the pen.
David Bote, in to pinch hit, works the count full but grounds out to 1B, but not before a slight bobble by Hiura and a quick pitch to Suter who beats out Bote in the foot race to the bag. Closer than it should have been, the result is a second scoreless inning from Suter. END 6, tied 2-2
Chafin in to pitch for the Cubs
Kolten Wong becoming Mr. Automatic with another base hit, this time a slow rolling grounder that finds its way through the infield.
Narvaez pops out to left, and is followed by backup catcher Manny Piña. This is a clear indicator that Avisail Garcia is not available for tonight.
The Power of the Pineapple is PRESENT in Wrigley as Manny Piña takes Chafin yard, putting the Brewers up 4-2 in the top of the 7th. Wow. After last night, the Brewers needed something to get the spirits up and that will do it 8 day a week!
Travis Shaw would lay down a bunt down the 3B line only for pitcher Chafin to bobble the pickup. Shaw reaches on an E1.
Billy McKinney who was still looking for some sort of production in this ballgame would reach on a fielder’s choice with a hard liner up the middle, but it would be handled by the second baseman.
Ryan Tepera, of throwing behind Brandon Woodruff fame, is replacing Chafin on the mound.
Keston Hiura, on the first pitch, knocks one to left and suddenly has a 3 hit ballgame.
Jackie Bradley Jr. will continue his dry spell, however, going down on strikes. Just a thought on JBJ, but even when he was signed to the Brewers, I said he wasn’t someone we wanted to depend on with his bat. he is a glove first player and will slump like this from time to time. Don’t forget though, he’s coming off a decent hit streak, so you take the valleys with the peaks. He’ll come around.
J.P. Feyereisen on to pitch. He is still yet to allow an earned run this season.
Not a good start from Feyereisen, giving the free pass to a struggling hitter like Happ. He would get a chance to make good on it by inducing a ground ball to 2B from Contreras. Wong would throw out Happ at 2B, but Contreras was too quick and safe at first.
You know who isn’t too fast? Anthony Rizzo isn’t too fast. He would ground into a 5-3 double play to end the inning. END 7, Brewers 4-2
Tepera out for a second inning of work, facing Luis Urias who is 0-2 at this point, with a walk. Urias hits into a routine grounder to 3rd.
Corey Ray up for his third AB, would strike out looking. Devin Williams warming up in the Brewers pen.
Red hot Kolten Wong up for his fifth PA on the day. He is working the count, feigning bunt, but swings out in front of his pitch. Wong was able to work the count full before fouling off a pitch, making Tepera earn his check. Wong would finally go out with a hot one to center, but directly at the centerfielder.
Devin Williams in to pitch for the Brewers. He’s finally gotten things going for himself in his last couple of outings after a rocky start. Of course, he had no spring, so it was to be expected.
Williams facing Bryant to kick off the bottom of the 8th. The result was Bryant being Airbended….er, Airbent?….out of his cleats. Strikout.
Matt Duffy, who isn’t prone to the strikeout, would go down in the same manner. From Airbent to Airwrecked.
Well, Jason Heyward airwrecked a ball to deep centerfield and we won’t see that one again. Homerun Heyward. Cubs are now within a run.
Just the guy I don’t want to see anymore of today, Eric Sogard at the plate. The Brewers finally are able to retire Sogard, but not without incident. Close play at 1B, but Sogard is out. END 8, Brewers 4-3
Winkler in to pitch for Chicago, Josh Hader warming up in the Brewers pen.
Omar Narvaez continues to get barrels, but this time it goes right in to the glove of Matt Duffy.
And now the mass of humanity that is Dan Vogelbach. Dan Vogebach standing sideways is as wide as Luis Urias facing forward. And now he sends a bullet out into LF for a base hit. This is my guy, y’all.
Travis Shaw just not having much of a day on the stat sheet, but he launched one to CF, only to come down in the glove of the defender. He’s due one, but it won’t be today.
With Vogey at 1B, McKinney up to bat seeking his first hit once again. He has had a very good road trip, hitting all 3 of his HRs in this very trip. The next won’t be in this game, as he is sat down once again on strikes.
Josh Hader in to close it out.
Let me just say before this inning gets underway that teams had better hope they get ahead and stay ahead of the Brewers early. Once you get to the 7th inning and have to face Feyereisen, Williams, and Hader, in any order, you’re going to have a tough time getting on base, let alone scoring runs.
Nico Hoerner, on cue, would draw a walk rendering the above paragraph into the top tiers of “this you?”.
Jake Marisnick on to pinch hit. A speedy guy, Marisnick would give the Brewers fits in game 1. Hader was just given a very generous strike, a fastball at the Cubs logo, which did not sit well with Cubs manager David Ross. I do believe Ross was ejected and subsequently came out of the dugout to get his words in. Marisnick would be retired on strikes. One out.
The switch hitter, Happ, up to bat with Hoerner on first. Happ hacking fiercly, but coming up with nothing. Happ would be struck out with a high fastball, a swing a miss. Two outs.
Bill Contreras to the plate, and there’s no one I’d rather have as the final out. There are plenty I’d rather have at the plate, though. A high fly to RF would seal the deal and give the Brewers the win, and a tied series, 4-3. END Game, Brewers win.