Remember the old Bugs Bunny line, "Ain't I a stinker?"
"Stinker" was what Saturday's 13-5 Cubs loss to the Reds was, and it also reminded me of this Bugs Bunny cartoon:
That's what this game felt like, at least while watching parades of Reds runners cross the plate. It's the most runs the Cubs have allowed since August 31, 2015, coincidentally, also against the Reds, that one at Wrigley Field. The good news is that last year's Cubs team followed that loss by winning eight of their next 10 games, and this year's bunch is certainly capable of doing that.
The summary of this one will be succinct, because I'm sure you don't want to hear all the gory details. The game was close until the bottom of the sixth, when John Lackey fell apart and Trevor Cahill wasn't much better; three Reds homers (two of them three-run shots) highlighted a seven-run inning for them.
The good thing about that is this: When the Cubs scored two runs in the seventh after being down 9-5, I had the sense that maybe they could still make a game of this. Because Neil Ramirez and Clayton Richard both got hit hard, it didn't happen, but that's how good the 2016 Cubs are. Even after taking a pitching pounding, they didn't seem completely out of it. That, of course, is a good thing.
Even in this horrific loss, there were still some positive things that happened. Dexter Fowler continued pounding baseballs, going 2-for-4 with a walk. As April begins to approach its end, Jason Heyward begins to heat up: he also had a pair of hits and a stolen base, and I suspect some power won't be too far away. Addison Russell homered [VIDEO], walked three times and scored twice.
The Cubs certainly had enough chances to score; they left 11 men on base, even while going 3-for-14 with RISP. Many times, five runs is enough to win. (It would have been enough in 14 previous Cubs games this year, two of which they lost.) And even losing eight runs on their run differential so far this year, dropping it to +59, it's still 18 runs better than anyone else.
Cubs walk watch: Go figure, right? The eight walks drawn is the third-highest total for the Cubs so far this season, and the largest in a defeat. They've now walked 93 times, 16 more than anyone else, and are averaging 5.17 walks per game. Pace: 837, which would break the major-league record. Obviously, it's unlikely the Cubs can keep up this walking pace.
Or can they?
That's all I've got for this recap, and you probably don't want to read much more about this game (I sure don't). The good news, as it generally is in baseball, that there's another game today. By winning, the Cubs could get out of Cincinnati winning three of four, which is what I was hoping for out of this series in the first place. Jason Hammel will pitch against Alfredo Simon. The game preview will post at 10:45 a.m. CT.