By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — The Cubs hadn’t lost four straight home games since May 2014, but that all changed Monday as they fell 6-3 to the Brewers at Wrigley Field.
Coming after three losses to the Pirates over the weekend, it was another reminder that the defending champion Cubs are the hunted, not the hunter.
“We are going to get that every single time,” outfielder Jason Heyward said after Chicago fell to 6-7.
“Opposing players coming in here, it’s a fun place to play. This is a baseball place, the fans are into the game. All those teams are going to challenge you and bring the best out of you. So we absolutely have to expect that. We have to trust our process and keep having fun. We must keep competing, approach things every day the same way making adjustment as a team.”
Cubs right-hander John Lackey allowed three homers — to Ryan Bruan, Eric Thames and Jett Bandy — in his team’s latest loss. Lackey went six innings, allowing four runs, all earned, on seven hits and a walk while striking out two in taking his second loss of the season.
“People are going to come here gunning for us,” Lackey said. “We are the world champions. People want to come here and play well. We are going to have to match that intensity and play better.”
This early season drought is somewhat surprising for the Cubs, who were so good from the start of 2016 in jumping out to a 25-6 start. Their longest losing streak at any point was five.
On Monday, Chicago tried everything it could, including bunt singles by power hitters Kyle Schwarber and Anthony Rizzo to take advantage of extreme defensive shifts. Schwarber’s was perfectly placed, trickling all the way down to hit the third-base bag to lead off the bottom of the first after the Cubs trailed 2-0 early.
“The situation dictated that right there,” Schwarber said. “We are down two runs right there. You need to get on base. If it’s wide open in that spot, I am going to take it.”
Just 13 games into a 162-game season, the Cubs aren’t at all worried about the standings. They’re just anxious to play better ball.
“We did a lot of things well tonight,” manager Joe Maddon said. “We must take better care of the later part of the game. The bullpen, we have to find their confidence somehow.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.