As I was writing this, news broke about Anthony Rizzo traded to the Yankees. I’ll have an article up on that soon. In the meantime, here’s your game recap.
Let’s see. Joey Votto homer in the first inning? Check. Cubs come back with some middle-inning runs? Check. Random Cubs bullpen arms put the game out of reach in the later innings? Check. Cubs score in the bottom of the ninth, temporarily raising hopes? Check.
All of those things happened in the Cubs’ 8-2 loss to the Reds Wednesday evening, and damned if they didn’t happen again when they lost 7-4 to Cincinnati on a beautiful Wrigley afternoon on Thursday.
I know, I know, you all want to talk trades but first let’s get to some details on this game.
First, I want to criticize David Ross a bit. There are two out and a runner on second in the first inning and Joey Votto is coming to bat and... why would you pitch to him in that situation? I realize it’s only the first inning, but Votto is hitting about a million against the Cubs this week and why would you even give him a chance to hit?
Of course, he hits a home run and it’s 2-0 Reds before the first inning is over.
Alec Mills threw pretty well after that; he only allowed three baserunners over the next four innings, and one of them was erased on a double play.
In the meantime, the Cubs got back in the game and even took the lead. Patrick Wisdom made it 2-1 in the fourth [VIDEO].
That was Wisdom’s 16th of the year. Remember? My bold predictions had Wisdom hitting 27 this year — still a chance!
Then with two out in the fifth, Rafael Ortega walked and Willson Contreras sent a ball into orbit [VIDEO].
Here’s how far that went:
#Reds 2 @ #Cubs 3 [B5-2o]:— Home Run Tracker (@DingerTracker) July 29, 2021
Willson Contreras homers (17): line drive to CF (2-run)
Hit: 464ft , 112.9mph , 25°
Pitch: 87.9mph Slider (RHP Luis Castillo, 12)
The Cubs led 3-2, but that did not last long. Mills got in trouble in the sixth, allowing a couple of hits and then a Wisdom error loaded the bases. A forceout at the plate helped, but two singles made it 4-3 Reds before Mills ended the inning on a 1-2-3 double play.
This was a bit of history for Mills:
#Cubs starter Alec Mills had 6 IP today with no walks or strikeouts. Last Cubs starter to do that (at least 6 IP, no BB or K) was Mike Bielecki, August 17, 1991 https://t.co/imlR1HkQcp— Al Yellon (@bleedcubbieblue) July 29, 2021
This is still a competitive game, a one-run game after six, and then Ross puts Trevor Megill into the game. He didn’t retire any of the three batters he faced, and after Kyle Ryan got a groundout and a sac fly, the Reds had a three-run seventh.
The Cubs went out meekly in the seventh and eighth before Ian Happ briefly got the remnants of the announced crowd of 32,793 excited for a moment [VIDEO].
I am opening the complaint department door here. While Ryan and Jake Jewell (making his Cubs debut) threw all right — Jewell struck out three in the ninth — why are the Cubs replacing the traded Andrew Chafin and Ryan Tepera with guys like this? Do we really need to see more retread 30-year-old relievers? If this is a “re-tool” as Jed Hoyer has said, why aren’t we seeing guys from the system who might actually be part of the next Cubs contender, like Ben Leeper? Honestly, I have had enough of Megill and Ryan, and Jewell, while a bit younger (25), seems like just another one of these retread guys.
Okay, I’m off the soapbox now.
Many in the crowd had presumably come to see what might be Anthony Rizzo’s and Kris Bryant’s final game as Cubs, but neither played at all. As for KB:
After the final out, #Cubs Kris Bryant remained in the dugout for a little bit. Seemed to be taking in Wrigley. Looked to be getting emotional as he finally got up to leave.— Taylor McGregor (@Taylor_McGregor) July 29, 2021
If I had to guess right now — with about 21 hours to go until the trading deadline Friday — Bryant’s going to be gone, but Craig Kimbrel will still be a Cub when they take the field in Washington Friday evening. Just a hunch. As always, we await developments!
If the Cubs make any deals this evening, of course we’ll cover them here, and we’ll have an open trade deadline thread Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. CT.
The Cubs’ next game is against the Nationals in Washington Friday evening. Trevor Williams will start for the Cubs. As of now the Nats don’t have a starter listed. Game time is 6:05 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.