Over the course of his first 12 starts in a Chicago Cubs uniform, Tyler Chatwood‘s struggles have been well documented. Entering play on Tuesday, Chatwood owned a 20.7 percent walk rate paired with a well below league average 19.6 percent strikeout rate.
Through the first two-plus months of his tenure with the Cubs, Chatwood has walked at least one batter in every start, while issuing just one free pass one time, on April 10, his second start of the season. In that start, Chatwood gave up five earned runs on nine hits over five innings, eight days after allowing just one earned run over six innings in his Cubs debut.
Despite an overall solid start from Chatwood on Tuesday, the Brewers were able to defeat the Cubs 4-0.
Chatwood’s start on Tuesday night in Milwaukee drew similar comparisons to that April 10 start. After walking seven batters in his last outing which lasted just 4 2/3 innings, Chatwood did not issue a walk until the third inning in Tuesday’s contest with the Brewers. Due to a high pitch count that came as a result of traffic during the first and third innings, Chatwood could only complete five innings in Milwaukee. Despite that short outing, Chatwood only walked two batters, the last of which came in his final frame.
With his command issues seemly under control for at least one start, Chatwood struggled to retire the Brewers’ batters. To combat his problems with the free pass, it seemed early on that Chatwood would challenge hitters in the strike zone with his cutter and fastball. What resulted was back-to-back singles to start the game from Eric Thames and Christian Yelich. A ground out by Lorenzo Cain moved runners to the corners with only one away for Travis Shaw.
Entering play on Tuesday afternoon, Chatwood was sporting an above average left-on-base percentage of 78.8 percent. Despite that solid mark, Shaw shot a two-run double past Anthony Rizzo and down the right field line, putting the Brewers up 2-0 in the home half of the first.
Two strikeouts on what appeared to be change-ups ended the inning, but that would not be the end of the Brewers’ offensive production. After a walk to Yelich and a fielder’s choice in which Cain reached following an attempted run-down of the lead runner put two runners on with no outs for the Brewers in the third, Shaw once again stepped to the plate with a chance to do damage off Chatwood.
Prior to play on Tuesday, Shaw was sporting a .207 batting average with just one double in the month of June. Those numbers, however, did not stop the 28-year-old from once again shooting a two-run double into right field, plating Yelich and Cain and increasing the Brewers’ lead to 4-0.
Despite getting roughed up by Shaw, Chatwood worked two more scoreless innings before being lifted in favor of a pinch-hitter in the sixth. With just five more innings on Tuesday, Chatwood has not completed six innings since he went seven scoreless on April 29 against the Brewers.
Chatwood’s final line looked like this: five innings, five hits, four runs (three earned), two walks and five strikeouts on 97 pitches.
With Chase Anderson on point on Tuesday, four runs would prove to be more than enough for the 30-year-old right-hander.
Prior to the contest against the Cubs, Anderson had been a mess for the Brewers. After going six scoreless innings in his season debut, Anderson had allowed at least one earned run in every start since March 29, while at the same time posting a 7.08 ERA in May.
Despite his struggles, Anderson mowed down the Cubs’ hitters with ease on a 72 degree afternoon in Milwaukee. The only rally Chicago could muster on Tuesday was in the second inning when they put two runners on with no-one out. A Javier Baez strikeout and Addison Russell line-drive to shortstop that resulted in a double play ended the threat in the frame.
After a Willson Contreras infield hit in that second inning, Anderson did not allow another Cubs’ base runner over his final five innings of work. His final line looked like this: seven innings, one hit, zero earned runs, two walks and six strikeouts on 107 pitches.
After not recording an RBI on Tuesday, Rizzo’s streak of eight straight games with a run driven in came to an end. Despite that, Rizzo is currently tied with Baez for the team lead in that statistic with 46. In addition to that, the Cubs failed to record an extra base hit for the first time since August of 2017, a 96-game stretch. That was the club’s longest such stretch in franchise history as they have logged 205 extra base hits in 2018.
With the loss, the Cubs drop to 38-26 while the Brewers improve to 40-27 on the season. In addition, Milwaukee moves to a half game ahead of the Cubs in the NL Central after the Cubs grabbed first place with their 7-2 win on Monday night.
Next Up For The Cubs
The Cubs will wrap up their three-game set with the Brewers on Wednesday, June 13 at 1:10 p.m. at Miller Park. Taking the mound for the Cubs and making his fourth turn in the rotation will be Mike Montgomery (2-1, 3.56 ERA). Montgomery has been brilliant since Yu Darvish hit the DL on May 23, allowing just two earned runs over 17 2/3 innings.
Opposing Montgomery on Wednesday for the Brewers will be Jhoulys Chacin (5-1, 3.58 ERA). Chacin posted a 2.73 ERA over five starts in the month of May while striking out 25 batters in 29 2/3 innings. More recently, Chacin allowed four earned runs over 6 1/3 innings on June 8 against the Philadelphia Phillies.
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