Injury to Insult--Reds 11 Cubs 2

These three games do little to change the trajectory of the 2018 campaign, but they certainly aren't easy or fun to watch. This time it was a pitcher hitting a grand slam that would be the dagger for a suddenly hot Reds team. The bullpen day for the Cubs involved a guy coming back from bereavement list getting lit up, another guy get injured, and Chris Gimenez's first career walk as a pitcher.

Luke Farrell made the emergency start and it wasn't pretty. He walked leadoff hitter Alex Blandino to start the game, and Tucker Barnhart made it 2-0 Reds just two plate appearances into the game. Farrell retired six of the next seven batters after the Barnhart blast to keep the game at the score through 2 innings.

Joe Maddon attempted to try to shake things up with not even a B lineup. This was a C lineup with the slumping Kris Bryant sitting down, as in lets see what happens with this group. It wasn't much different than what had happened with the traditional lineups. Anthony DeSclafani was sharp retiring the first four batters he faced. Willson Contreras launched a second inning solo shot to halve the Reds lead. DeSclafani scattered two walks and another hit to keep the Cubs to 1 run through 5 innings.

The Reds blew the game open in the third inning. Farrell retired the first two batters in the frame, but a two out walk to Joey Votto ended his afternoon. Brian Duensing was back to help the recently beleaguered Cubs bullpen. It was a rude greeting as Scooter Gennett doubled to score Votto. Eugenio Suarez singled to drive in Gennett. Duensing walked Jesse Winker, and Adam Duvall hit a grounder that Duensing couldn't handle to load the bases. Duensing fell behind to the pitcher 3-0, and grooved three straight fastballs. DeSclafani watched the first two for called strikes. He then turned on third one for the first grandslam hit by a Reds pitcher since 1959.

Duensing retired Billy Hamilton to end the third and then pitched a clean fourth inning. Rob Zastryzny kept the Reds off the board in the fifth inning. The Cubs got a single tally back with Ben Zobrist's fifth home run in the sixth inning against DeSclafani, but they could muster no further damage against the Reds hurlers of Michael Lorenzen, Amir Garrett and Dylan Floro to close out an easy, stress-free win for the Reds.

Zastryzny was the other big story of the game as he pitched into the sixth inning, but had to leave the game with an apparent injury. Hopefully it isn't something serious, but it is probably likely that he is headed to the DL to bring back Justin Hancock or another reliever back to Chicago. The Cubs need some help.

Anthony Bass and Steve Cishek got the Cubs into the eighth inning. Joe Maddon tried to save some bullets by having Chris Gimenez pitch the eighth inning. He threw batting practice as Blandino singled and Gimenez became yet another Cubs pitcher to walk Billy Hamilton. Gimenez got the next two batters including reaching back to strike out his counterpart Tucker Barnhart on a mid 80s fastball. Joey Votto wasn't having any of the fun as he pulled a three run home run to end the scoring on the afternoon.

Thankfully the Cards finally won again, and the Cubs remain just two back despite the three game skid.


Source: FanGraphs

Breathe because these aren't the same Reds
It is frustrating watching the Cubs scuffle as hard as they have this week. However, it is most likely just the normal ebbs and flow of a long baseball season. Many people will probably feel like there is an extra level of annoyance falling three straight to the cellar dwelling Reds, but these aren't the same Reds that have lived at the bottom of the division since the Cubs ascendency. Jim Riggleman has this team with some nice young pieces like Eugenio Suarez and Jesse Winker playing really well. The Reds are 8-2 in their last ten games, and since their horrific start 3-18 start to the year the Reds have actually been 28-27 since that point. The Cubs ran into a hot team and played some really bad baseball for a variety of factors. There aren't larger conclusions really to be drawn at this point.

Silver Linings
There wasn't much to write about for the Cubs side. They didn't have many chances in this game, and when Brian Duensing continued his slide back into the pitcher he was prior to signing with the Cubs it was all but over. Willson Contreras hitting a home run was a nice sign. The Cubs heart of the order has not been producing as much as is expected and in particular have not delivered the power expected from their dangerous bats. Contreras's blast was just his fifth home run by nearly the end of June. Tommy La Stella got a rare start at third base, and hit the ball hard but was not rewarded in the leadoff spot. He did make a nice defensive play early in the game when it looked like it might be a game.

Random Reference
This was about all I could muster when the ball left the yard off of DeSclafani's bat.


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  • I posted this comment near the end of the game post:
    So I switched over to the Philly/Nats game, and watched a bigger stronger left handed Starlin Castro flick a ground rule double in the LF gap.

    My reply:
    Point being (Juan Soto, by the way, it was eerie), do yourself a favor and watch Mike Trout for a few games; or anything but the Cubs. What it brought home to me was immeasurable, as it relates to The Late Great John Arguello’s Cubs Den.

    I’ve lost track of double plays that are a given on ‘my’ team, that are not even close. Do not let the difference between a .958/938 fielding percentage or whatever, fool you, the difference is stark.

    The production value of, one teams feed to the next (Philly’s are top notch).

    Announcers, subjective.

    MIKE. TROUT. I’m old enough to have seen Ernie Banks at Wrigley in the twilight of his career. Ya know, the guy who broke baseball in the late fifties, by hitting 40 or more HR’s 4 years in a row, as a shortstop, on his way to 2 MVP’s against the likes of Aaron and Mays. Don’t F’ this up, appreciate the WS we got, that Earnie and 4 HOF’ers never did. Take a step back, and watch someone who OWNS the game, that makes it look easy, to remind you that,
    Baseball Is Hard

  • Watch the shell of Albert Puhols dig out a close play at first, (thrown by Luis Valbuena), and be the reminded, of not only the Cubs killer he was, but of how dangerous, metrics aside, a great ballplayer once was if you are fool enough to go down and in; in said twilight.

  • Si yeah, this is personal; This is not my Late Great John Arguello’s Cubs Den. Or Felz, for that matter. I get game posts drive traffic, but it breaks my heart. I never thought I’d say this, but at least Bleacher Nation commenters are capable of some whit, while they go off the ledge every game......

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    I think you a need a Jack Daniels on the rocks.

  • From what he was saying I was thinking that was already what he was doing....

  • I'm pretty sure the lack of what you consider "whit", I.e. the nude pictures, racism, and graphic descriptions of the previous night's homosexual encounters, is exactly the reason we continue to follow John Arguello's Cubs Den.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Wait, what?

  • I don't even know how to respond to this game, this series, or the previous commenter. I don't want to disrespect a talented artist, and I want to convey the message of trash. That's how we're playing and how I feel. Here's some crap music from a crap artist to reflect the crap baseball we're currently playing. I can't even bring myself to type out more than a snippet. Enjoy:

    "Soy in perdedor."

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    "Soy un perdedor." Even my phone is a loser.

  • Whaaaaaaaaaa?

  • Sat right beside third base today. Sad to see but cub fans left in droves after grand slam.. just like cardinal fans. A lot of grumbling that is well deserved coming out of cub fans.
    People traveling a long ways to watch a team that has lost it will to win.
    Then to top it off cub fans were making fun of Maddon trying to do his best Lou Pinella impersonation buy getting tossed.. A couple from Wisconsin said they been fighting it off but they are going to start going to a rotting for the Brewers..said too many players reading their own headlines and big egos on this cub team. Another suggest Maddon has lost this team and we need a David Ross type leader back. Just passing info from fans. Oh yeah. Cincinnati a fun town to party in. People are very friendly.

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    In reply to TheSarge#36:

    Every time I get upset I remember 1969

  • Every time I get upset, I look at the 2016 World Series plaque hanging on my den wall.

  • In reply to TheSarge#36:

    Ross was the actual manager behind the scene when Cubs won World Series. Look at who Rizzo goes to during game for input, it was Ross, not Maddon. Cub players overcame Maddon's mind boggling managing to win. The "truth" about Maddon as a manager is showing, same as his teams slow demise in Tampa Bay.

  • Down by 6 and quit on your team. And you wonder why the team doesn't care any more.

  • Maddon didn't quit on his team. He saved his bullpen. Sometimes you just lose. It's doesn't have to be someone's fault. The key thing in Mike's recap is: this Reds team is coming up.

  • In reply to wastrel:

    Votto, Gennett, Suarez: is there a better 3, 4, 5 in the league?

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    Suarez is really impressive.

  • In reply to wastrel:

    I can't blame anyone for their frustration. I just vented a little myself. But nobody is quitting on the team. We got beat, badly, and Maddon did what he had to do to allow a weakened staff to fight another day. We are short on arms in the midst of a long stretch of consecutive games. Not a good combination.

    I do believe this team needs a spark, but I don't know what that is or where it comes from. I was actually worried during today's game there may be a physical confrontation.

    We'll get 'em tomorrow. Go Cubs!

  • Got to have some fresh pitchers in Cinc. today.

  • In reply to Hagsag:

    It won't matter if the Cubs can't muster more than two runs.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    We’re due for 9-10 because we have sucked for 3 games. It’s all about having the top scoring team in the NL and our run differential after all.

    I keep telling myself to relax as these were part of the 50 were are guaranteed to lose. We have to play better, period.

  • If nothing else, I learned once again that Luke Farrell should not be piching in the Major Leagues.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    Makes me wonder about his brothers competence as an infield coordinator and player scout.

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    Cubs are simply terribly short on arms at the moment,, I try to picture a month or two from now with THIS bullpen
    Rosario, Cishek, Strop, Edwards, Morrow,,,
    Bout as good as it gets,,, now Cub starters merely need to get thru four innings,,

  • After every loss everybody is on the ledge. It was just one of those games. Farrell sucks though and the cubs have seriously failed at not having at least 1-2 solid back end starting pitchers from the system they drafted and developed.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Agree there.....somebody by now should have progressed enough to make it

  • Walkwoods wife went into labor. Montgomery starting today!!! Cubs have a chance!!

  • If Maddon is so concerned about his bullpen being short then why does he only use each pitcher for one inning? Does he honestly think they are going to wear their arms out by pitching more than one inning at a time? If these guys are so delicate, they do not belong in the major league. I guess it doesn't matter that much since our Cubs can't score more than 2 runs. Something is terribly wrong and the blame should start with the management or else why are they there?

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    We seem to be getting worse since WS, not better. Time to look at the manager when a team underachieves?

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