What's Your 20 Jon??? Reds 7, Cubs 4

The Cubs and Reds battled in the penultimate game of the regular season Saturday afternoon in Cincinnati. Probable game one starter Jon Lester got his final chance to make a case for the Cy Young Award. Opposing the Chicago lefty for the Reds was righty Tim Adleman.

It became clear early on Saturday that big Jon did not have his best stuff. Jose Peraza got hit by a pitch leading off the bottom of the 1st and stole second base. After advancing to third with one out, a Joey Votto grounder scored Peraza to give the Reds a 1-0 lead. Eugenio Suarez snuck a two-run homer inside the right field foul pole to increase the Cincinnati lead to 3-0 in the 2nd.

Suarez continued to be a pain for Lester adding a sacrifice fly in the 3rd inning to make it a 4-0 spread. Finally, the Baby Bears staged a rally in the 4th inning to attempt to get Jon win number 20. Anthony Rizzo singled and Addison Russell walked, putting two on with two outs for Jason Heyward. Heyward lined hard to right field, but it looked like it was right at Reds right fielder. That right fielder, Patrick Kivlehan, broke the wrong way on the ball however, allowing it to sail over his head for a two-run double. Javy Baez followed with an RBI-single to left making it only a 4-3 Brennaman’s lead.

Lester continued to struggle into the 5th, Joey Votto doubled home another run to make it 5-3. Pedro Strop pitched a clean 6th inning and Hector Rondon came in as scripted in the 7th. Rondon ran into some trouble in his inning of work. Votto the “hit machine” doubled home another run, and then scored on a Hernan Iribarren single to bring the score to 7-3.

Ben Zobrist would chip away a bit with his third homer in two games to cut the margin to 7-4. Aroldis Chapman pitched around a jam in the 8th to post a scoreless frame. Fellow Cuban Raisel Iglesias saved the Reds 7-4 victory in the 9th.


Source: FanGraphs

Les Than Stellar

So Jon Lester had a rough outing today like Jake Arrieta had before him. At least to me it’s not really a cause for alarm, especially with Jon. Lester’s last seven starts before Saturday he had a sub 1.00 ERA and was 7-0. Arguably a more dominant stretch than Jake Arrieta had in the second-half last season. No matter how hard the Cubs try to make these final games important or meaningful they just can’t. They don’t matter, and it’s just hard to create that playoff atmosphere. So I put no stock in any performance this last two weeks. Feel free to disagree in comments if you do.

Going Off Script

This game was more or less a dress rehearsal for game one of the NL Division Series Friday. The lineup behind Lester will look an awful lot like it did today, if not exactly the same. Strop, Rondon, and Chapman will probably be the pen used with a late lead on Friday. Again the results in this game weren’t important but the players used will be important when thinking about this Friday. Also it’s worth noting that this game is likely the last David Ross regular season start ever. So here’s to you Grandpa Rossy, it was fun to watch you play.

Meanwhile in the Wild Card

The Mets beat the Phillies 5-3 in Philadelphia this afternoon to clinch home field in the Wild Card Game. The Giants beat the Dodgers 3-0 in San Francisco to earn at least a tie for the second Wild Card. Known evildoer Jedd Gyorko hit a home run to give the Cardinals a 4-3 win over the hapless Pirates in St. Louis. The Cardinals will need to win and have the Gigantes lose to force a one-game playoff on Monday.

Random Reference

Since this is the last start for Ross in his regular season career I thought I would show this again. Honestly this is just awesome so don’t really need a reason to show it.

Three Stars

3. Dexter Fowler: 2-3, 1 BB. Dex got career hit number 1000 in the 7th. You go we go buddy!

2. Eugenio Suarez: 1-2, HR, 3 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB. Suarez knocked in 3 of the runs Lester allowed Saturday.

1. Joey Votto: 3-5, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 1R. Votto hit .214 the first two months of the season. He is now hitting .326 for the season. The man is an absolute freak.

 

Well there you have it my final recap of the season. I guess I should give a playoff prediction. It’s a rather simple one. I have literally no idea what will happen. Anyone that tells you they do is lying to you. Theo Epstein has a very simple playoff philosophy that I always liked back to his Boston days. No one knows what will happen in the playoffs. All you can do is try to make it every year and you are bound to get hot one of them. Here’s hoping this is the year.

 

 

 

Comments

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  • One more game to go. It feels like we've been waiting for the playoffs forever, and I'm ready for them to get it on. Lots of talk out here in the Bay Area that "no one wants to play the Giants." No one wants to play the Cubs!

  • I said this in yesterdays game thread but rondon hasn't looked that good the last few appearances.I don't know if it's rust,boredom or hitters lining him up but it concerns me with the playoffs starting next week.

  • Cardinals are in deep doo doo now.
    Need help from the Dodgers.
    Then three must wins just to get a chance to get beat by the Cubs.
    Chances aren't good.

  • Think the level of play appears to reflect spring training attitudes, Cubs are 6-3-1 in last ten, WAS & LAD are with more incentives until recent, NYM are 7-3 and SFG are 6-4 while StL is 5-5 (the difference) and even though my head hopes SFG loses and StL wins forcing a WC play in game for a second WC play in game, my heart hopes both teams win and StL is one game short for any post season.

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    sorry meant WAS and LAD are also 6-4 in last ten with more incentive until recently.

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    Sean, can't you recap the playoffs? We'll miss them. I wonder if Lester's performance today might hurt his chances for the CYA especially if Kyle has a good one tomorrow. Let's end up on a winning note and go into the playoffs with a little momentum, although this team is resilient and will be the best team in the playoffs.
    I have confidence too, especially when the WC teams will be using their best pitchers in the playoff game.
    Go Cubs!!

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    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Thanks Jonathan. But Mike, Jared, and Myles all do a great job. They'll take it from here.

  • just as Nancy replied I am dazzled that any one can get paid $5487 in a few weeks on the internet
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  • Always a bit concerning when some of the key bullpen guys are getting lit-up pretty good in the last week.

    Rondon looks like he has nothing right now and Grimm is a bit shaky as well. I had to laugh at Cahill's last outing as it seemed more than half his pitches were 55 ft. braking balls.

    To me, the bullpen looks a little shaky right now going into the Post Season. Hopefully the players can "filp the switch" and turn it up a few notches in the NLDS, otherwise...well, I don't want to go there.

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    While it would've been nice to see Arrieta and Lester dominate in their final "tune-ups", my thought is IF they have a bad start in them, it's better for them to get it out of the way NOW, before it really counts.

    I'm not worried about Lester. Arrieta has been a bit too shaky the last few months. Here's hoping he can dial it up again.

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    In reply to brober34:

    Me too. I know Lester is a big game performer. Jake is also one but if he's not getting the corners, he's very very very hittable.

    We just have to hope Jake backs up what he's been preaching since the rough start. Plus w all eyes on him, he's going to want a magical a post season to really get paid too.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Lester was good with Boston, but he was not a big game performer last year in the playoffs. I firmly believe, however, that he will be much better in this years playoffs.

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    In reply to INSaluki:

    I wasn't exactly referring to last years playoffs, but I get your point.

    I think Lester will be his best in the 1st round as he has something to prove vs either opponent. The Giants humiliated him in SF early in the season and the Mutts got him last October. Both teams have a lot of key players who hit left handed as well !

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