It was just one of those nights. The Cubs kept it close early but a Reds seven run sixth inning, capped by two three-run home runs, one given up by Lackey and the other by Cahill, put this one out of reach quickly. Although, I have to admit, in the top of the seventh inning when the Cubs scored two runs to make it 9-5, I almost felt like the Cubs might be able to pull it off. Unfortunately, the Reds proceeded to score two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, which extinguished all hope. Cubs fall just short in this one 13-5 (Box Score).
Sunday’s forecast clear and sunny
That headline is my way of saying, I don’t want to dwell on this one. Sometimes teams lose and sometimes they lose ugly. This was an ugly one. John Lackey gave up six earned runs on seven hits over 5 2/3 innings. He’s been up and down this year and it’d be great if he could steady the ship and end up somewhere close to where he was last year. He was pretty solid through five innings but things went upside down in the sixth.
The bullpen couldn’t do much to stop the bleeding. When Trevor Cahill came in the game in the sixth inning he gave up back-to-back home runs to the Reds, a three-run shot and a solo home run. Neil Ramirez didn’t fair much better. He took over in the seventh inning and, after getting one out, gave up a two-run home run and a double before settling down and ending the inning with his third strike out in the inning. Clayton Richard continued the trend and also gave up two runs in the eighth inning. It was a bad night for Cubs pitching — after the fifth inning.
Two negatives equal a positive
The Cubs offense, along with the first five innings of Lackey’s outing, produced positive results. Addison Russell got in the mix early as he went deep with a solo home run in the top of the second inning. He ended the night going 1-for-2 with three walks, one run and one RBI via the long ball. A positive night and hopefully one that Addison can build on as he tries to break out of his cold streak.
Dexter Fowler just continues to hit he ball. He had two doubles and a walk, scored two runs and one RBI. He’s the top offensive player in the league so far this year based on fWAR and BABIP, per FanGraphs. He just keeps getting it done. The guy put in a ton of work in the offseason (we wrote about it) and it keeps paying off for him. I’d love to see this continue and for him to get to the all-star game. I know, that’s still a couple months away but if his hitting continues for that long, that means the Cubs are going to keep being red-hot, despite a stinker here and there.
Jason Heyward is heating up lately too. That’s another good sign for the Cubs. He went 2-for-4 with one walk, one run and one RBI. Jason’s been on base at least twice in each of the first three games in this series. I think this will be enough to help Jason break out and find himself in the middle of a lot of offense from the Cubs going forward.
The Cubs finish up the series against the Reds on Sunday and will send Jason Hammel to the mound at 12:10 PM CDT.