The Cubs didn’t appear to have the right game plan for this one, a 7-5 loss to the Reds.
Kyle Schwarber leading off the game? Out on one pitch. Kris Bryant, following Schwarber? Out on one pitch. Anthony Rizzo managed to stretch Bronson Arroyo all the way to five pitches before he, too, made an out.
With a guy throwing 68 mile-per-hour curveballs, why wouldn’t you be a little more patient and wait for better pitches to hit?
Rizzo got one in the fourth inning after a single by Bryant and smacked a two-run homer [VIDEO].
For Rizzo, that was his fourth homer of the year and third in as many games. The Cubs homered seven times in the three-game series and a Cub has homered at least once in the last 15 games they have played in Cincinnati, dating back to September 29, 2015.
But all Rizzo’s homer did was tie the game 2-2 after John Lackey had one of his bad first innings again. This time, he only allowed one run in the first, but was touched for another in the second and Scott Schebler broke the tie in the bottom of the fourth with a solo homer.
Still, the Cubs didn’t have much patience. At one point Arroyo had 21 strikes in 24 pitches — and that was his total through three innings! How long has Arroyo been around? He made his major-league debut June 13, 2000. Bobby Bonilla and Andres Galarraga played in that game! Yikes.
Arroyo finished six innings having thrown only 66 pitches (48 strikes), and the usually-patient Cubs drew no walks off him, and struck out seven times (10 K’s overall off Reds pitching).
A disastrous bottom of the sixth off Lackey did the Cubs in. Two errors, one each by Rizzo and Bryant, helped the Reds to a four-run frame that put the game out of reach. One positive sign: Mike Montgomery threw a couple of scoreless innings in relief, after the game was out of reach.
Give the Cubs some credit for trying another ninth-inning comeback. They scored a pair of runs on RBI singles by Addison Russell and Jason Heyward before Miguel Montero hit into a double play to kill the rally.
Mercifully, it was the fastest Cubs game of 2017, and by a significant margin. Prior to Sunday, only one of the Cubs’ 17 games this year had run under three hours (2:57 against the Cardinals on April 4). This one beat that by 31 minutes at 2:26.
Usually, these recaps are longer. But I just don’t have much more to say about this stinker. These are going to happen from time to time, even to good teams. But given the pitching matchup Sunday, this one appeared ripe for the Cubs to sweep the Reds. We’ll take the meatloaf, but we would have liked sweeploaf. Instead, the Cubs’ four-game winning streak came to an end.
The Cubs head on to Pittsburgh looking for payback for the sweep the Pirates hung on them at Wrigley Field last week. Brett Anderson goes for the Cubs in the series opener Monday night. Chad Kuhl will go for the Pirates.