Remember the game May 10 in San Diego? The one where Frank Schwindel hit a ball that was caught at the wall, just a couple of feet short of a home run that would have given the Cubs the lead in the ninth inning?
Welp. We had another one of those Wednesday evening in Cincinnati. Situation: One out, Cubs runners on first and second. Willson Contreras, who hadn’t played since Saturday due to a hamstring issue, stepped up to pinch-hit.
That wouldn’t have been a home run if not for Nick Senzel’s excellent catch. But if Senzel doesn’t grab that ball, it would have resulted in an extra-base hit, tying the game.
The Cubs did score a run in the inning, but all that did was add another loss to their sad one-run record this year. The 4-3 defeat to the Reds ended a three-game Cubs winning streak.
The game started out well for the Cubs. Christopher Morel led off with a walk, a really good nine-pitch at-bat. One out later, Seiya Suzuki singled. That brought up Ian Happ [VIDEO].
So it’s 2-0 Cubs after just four batters. Unfortunately, that was it for the Cubs until the ninth inning, and overall they went 2-for-11 with RISP, which is the story of the Cubs offense in this game. They left RISP in the fifth, sixth and ninth, and also, at one point 11 straight Cubs were retired from the second through the fifth, a feast or famine offense.
Kyle Hendricks, unfortunately, was the Hendricks we’ve seen most of this year. As you know, GABP is not one of his favorite parks to throw in. He served up a home run ball to Joey Votto in the second and then in the third, two Reds singles were followed by two outs. One out from getting out of the inning, Hendricks allowed an RBI single to Tommy Pham and an RBI triple (!) to Votto to make it 4-2 Reds. That was just the 22nd triple of Votto’s long career.
Hendricks departed after the fourth inning having thrown just 68 pitches. This game left him with a 5.93 career ERA in 13 starts at GABP. He’s always thrown much better at Wrigley and his next two starts should be there against the Brewers and Cardinals. After those two, I’d say, we’ll have a much better idea of where Kyle goes from here.
The Cubs bullpen did another good job of keeping the game close. Daniel Norris, Mychal Givens and Rowan Wick threw four shutout innings, allowed two hits and a walk and struck out seven.
Wick and Votto had a little extracurricular activity. It happened after Wick walked Votto in the eighth [VIDEO].
This, apparently, is what happened:
Issue between Wick-Votto stemmed from Wick seeing Votto bat flip on walk. Wick said he told Votto "Nice bat flip." Heard Votto yelling from 1B but didn't want to turn around & start anything— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) May 26, 2022
Wick: "I feel like he kind of blew it out of the water a little more than needed to be."
Wick stated he couldn't remember exactly what he said to Votto beyond the bat flip comment.— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) May 26, 2022
He credited Higgins for helping him get locked back in and make the pitches he needed to get out of the inning without a run scoring.
“I don’t even know if (Votto) knows we’re both Canadian,” Wick said.
Low-key Canadian humor, that is. Love it.
Anyway, this boiled over in the ninth when Reds closer Hunter Strickland threw a pitch that hit Patrick Wisdom. David Ross was pretty upset [VIDEO].
That was the first ejection for Ross this year and sixth of his managerial career. The HBP did help lead to the Cubs’ run in the ninth. Alfonso Rivas followed with a walk, then Contreras hit the fly ball noted above. On that out, Wisdom took third, but now there are two out in the inning.
Nico’s looping single into right scored Wisdom to make it 4-3, with Rivas moving into scoring position at second. But Strickland struck out Morel to end it [VIDEO].
That was a really good pitcher’s pitch, a slider that nicked the outside corner. It would have been strike three anyway, even if Morel hadn’t swung at it.
Sigh. The Cubs are now 4-11 in one-run games, 14-14 in all other games. Also, P.J. Higgins is no longer undefeated as a starting catcher, the first loss after seven wins.
They still do have a chance to win the series in the finale Thursday afternoon (morning, Chicago time). Justin Steele will start for the Cubs and Hunter Greene will get the call for the Reds. Game time is 11:35 a.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network (and MLB Network outside the Cubs and Reds market territories). Today’s game preview will post at 10 a.m. CT.