4 takes from the Cubs' 3-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers to open the 3-game series

Craig Counsell’s old work buddies came to Chicago for a three-day work trip starting Friday afternoon.

His old friends, the Milwaukee Brewers, got the first one on the Chicago Cubs 3-1 in the first of a three-game series.

In front of an attendance of 33,557, Wesneski starred and got a lift from Christopher Morel. But, the Cubs were 0-5 with runners in scoring position and stranded five runners.

Here are four takes from the Cubs series opener against the NL Central first-place Brewers.

Hayden Wesneski’s stellar outing

The Cubs rotation has been hampered with injuries, but the pitchers filling in have not missed a beat.

Getting the start on a lovely Friday afternoon, Wesneski was stellar and methodical. He finished his day after 6.1 innings, striking out eight and walking two, but he did not allow a run for his first quality start of the season.

Even as the Cubs’ offense sputtered with runners in scoring position – the Cubs were 0-5 with RISP going into the seventh – Wesneski kept going strong.

He threw 90 pitches on the afternoon, with 54 called strikes.

It was a stellar day.

Hayden Wesneski’s quiet but stellar start to the season

Shota Imanaga was honored as the Cubs Player of the Month in April ahead of Friday’s game, and rightfully so.

The Cubs’ big free agent splash is 5-0 so far on the year with a sub 1.00 ERA. If you’re making early Cy Young Award watch lists, Imanaga has to be at least talked about even just a month in.

But, Wesneski is putting together a stellar start to his own season in a year where the Cubs have taken their set of bruises in the rotation, literally.

With Jordan Wicks, Justin Steele and Kyle Hendricks missing time on the injured list, the pressure has been on Wesneski and Wesneski has delivered through April and again as May started. 

Wesneski started the day with a 0.68 ERA. That figure went down nine points to 0.59 by the bottom of the fifth inning. Wesneski’s ERA is now at 0.56 in five appearances and three starts. He has a 2-0 record.

The Cubs start May against the Brewers and end it against the Cardinals. Having a pitching staff that can carry the load as the regular starters get healthy for the back end of the month could be a sign of things to come for the latter months of the season.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MAY 03: Tyler Black #7 of the Milwaukee Brewers steals second base against Nico Hoerner #2 of the Chicago Cubs during the fir inning at Wrigley Field on May 03, 2024 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

Christopher Morel’s productive bat in the last week

It wasn’t that the Cubs’ offense was in a rut against the Brewers. They just couldn't get the one hit they needed to plate a few runners.

The Cubs had five hits going into the sixth inning. They also had a few head-scratching mistakes.

One of those was a fifth-inning double by Nico Hoerner, but Hoerner got caught on the basepaths mid-pitch for a put out that ended the fifth. Another was Miguel Amaya trying to stretch a single into a double, which had no chance of happening, in the seventh.

In the sixth, however, Christopher Morel got the sixth hit of the day for the Cubs. That hit was not with any runners in scoring position, but it did fly an estimated 413 feet into center field.

That continues Morel’s solid play in the past week. He’s hit three home runs and driven in six RBI in the past five games. 

Cubs’ offense could not come through

The Morel home run gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead, but the Brewers took advantage of Wesneski’s exit. 

Three RBI singles in the eighth gave the Brewers a 3-1 lead. Adbert Alzolay was charged with all three earned runs. 

The Cubs stranded Hoerner in the eighth inning. The Cubs went down in order in the ninth. That ended the game.

Game two is Saturday afternoon.


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