Brewers lose 8-0 to the Cubs, lose closer Corey Knebel to injury

Milwaukee’s offense was once again missing as the Brewers fell 8-0 to the Chicago Cubs on Thursday night at Miller Park.

Our four takeaways from the loss:

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Injury bug hits hard

All-Star closer Corey Knebel went down in a heap after delivering a pitch in the ninth inning and needed help getting off the field. Knebel appeared to grab his left hamstring immediately after hitting the ground and was clearly in a lot of pain and unable to put any weight on his left leg.

“We’ll get an MRI (Friday),” manager Craig Counsell said, while noting Knebel will definitely be going on the disabled list. “Obviously, we had to help him off the field, but we’ll know the severity of it for sure (on Friday).”

Some questioned why Knebel was even on the mound in a blowout situation, but Counsell said there was nothing odd about it.

It’s a situation where Corey had been off for six days. We were just trying to give him an inning of work to keep him sharp,” Counsell said. “Makes it a rough day, for sure. A loss, you kind of turn the page. But, obviously, this is a little harder with that [injury].”

It’s becoming a trend

Craig Counsell said before the game that it’s way to early in the season to establish trends. The fourth-year manager has to hope that’s the case, because his starting pitching has struggled mightily for much of the season and that was once again the case on Thursday. Brent Suter last just five innings, giving up five runs — four earned — while also walking three batters. It left Milwaukee’s starting pitching earned run average at 6.23 through the first seven games. Obviously, that’s not going to get it done if the Brewers are to accomplish their lofty goals this season.

Ugly defense…again

For a second straight game, the Brewers kicked the ball all over the place, especially in the infield. Hernan Perez, after not committing a single error in 17 appearances at second base last season, had two in six innings on Thursday. The team ended up with three on the night — the same number it had against the Cardinals on Wednesday. If you’re going to struggle pitching, the defense can’t have the lapses we’ve seen in the first four games of this homestand.

Where’s the offense?

Milwaukee has not scored a run since Ryan Braun’s walk-off home run Tuesday night against St. Louis. In the 18 innings since, the Brewers have more than double the number of strikeouts (20) as they do hits (9). The fact the struggles have come against two starting pitchers — Carlos Martinez and Jon Lester — that did not pitch well in their first starts is even more puzzling for an offense that should not get blanked on back-to-back nights.

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