The good news for me is that I didn’t watch this one. I sure picked a good evening for alternative entertainment. I resisted it in the headlines, but I’ve watched way too much football not to make the joke that the
Bears Cubs defense held the Bengals Reds to just four field goals but the offense could only muster a late touchdown. I feel so witty.
The first truly bad start of the year results in a lopsided loss. Of course the other pretty bad start resulted in the season’s other loss. Given how bad the bullpen is, the Cubs have been as good as their starting pitching is on any given night. Kyle Hendricks got knocked around, ultimately charged for six runs in 4⅓ innings. The last two of those were inherited runners that came in on a grand slam. The bullpen proceeded to allow six of its own.
It’s not right to play sequencing games. Of course, the bullpen was handed a 4-0 game and, of course, the Cubs offense later scored seven runs. Sure, by that simple math, the Cubs would have won if the bullpen had locked it down over the remainder of the game. No one can know how things would have played out. One of the likely outcomes is that Sonny Gray and the Reds leverage relievers wouldn’t have let the Cubs sniff seven runs.
That said, I’m going to take one positive out of the game. For the last two years, one of the things that has happened to the Cubs was that they ran into a very good pitcher and got shutdown (just like everyone else does). The problem was that their bats would often go into a funk and struggle against lesser pitchers for a few days afterwards. This team has had a real capacity to go into hibernation for a couple of days. Of course, the real irony is that in some of those games where the ace shutdown the Cubs, they actually won the game.
So I’m encouraged the the offense did recover in the late innings and put up seven runs. We all know that not all runs are created equal and I’m certainly not dismissing that the Reds took their foot off of the gas. I’m encouraged because the Cubs clearly didn’t take their foot off of the gas. It’s early and conclusions are premature, even in a 60-game season (that is now 10 percent complete), but the Cubs offense just might be the most potent it has been in a few years.
Game 6, July 29: Reds 12, Cubs 7 (4-2)
- Superhero: Ian Happ (.014). One hit and one walk in four plate appearances. One run scored.
- Hero: David Bote (.011). A homer, a walk, two RBI in three plate appearances.
- Sidekick: Duane Underwood Jr. (.003). The line score shows two innings pitched, nothing allowed, two strikeouts. He inherited the bases loaded in the seventh and was aided by a triple play.
- Billy Goat: Kyle Hendricks (-.149). 4⅓ innings, seven hits, two walks, six runs, three strikeouts.
- Goat: Victor Caratini (-.062). Vic was hitless in four plate appearances. He did manage both an RBI and a run scored.
- Kid: Rex Brothers (-.059). The game got out of hand when Brothers came in with two of Hendricks’ runners on base. Two walks, two hits (both home runs), three runs charged to him (plus two charged to Hendricks). He pitched 1⅓ innings. The lone bright spot is that he did strike out three.
WPA Play of the Game: Kyle Hendricks allowed a two-run homer to Mike Moustakas with no outs in the fourth innings to open the scoring. (.176)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Kyle Hendricks gets both ends today. He induced a grounder off of the bat of Joey Votto with two on and two out in the third inning. (. 048)
Up Next: The fourth and final game of this series. The Cubs will be looking for the series win while the Reds look to salvage a split. I called for the Cubs to win three out of four in the series preview, we’ll see if I end up being right. With Yu Darvish squaring off with Luis Castillo, the Vegas odds lean pretty heavily towards the Reds. Castillo is tough, but I look for Darvish to bounce back from a rough first outing.
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Duane Underwood Jr.