I don’t know what to say anymore to encourage you guys to keep watching this team. Maybe you should because this Wednesday the biggest party of the Century will take place and you never know what can happen at a party! Dabs wrote a nice article this morning that you guys should check out too. Spoiler alert, Javier Baez is everything. While we wait for baseball, here is a recap of the series vs. the Reds:
Reds 4, Cubs 1
W: Simon (2-1) L: Samardzija (0-2)
The Reds didn't need many runs against the Cubs, who entered the game riding an 18-inning scoreless streak. The Cubs finally got on the board in the seventh. Trailing, 3-0, Starlin Castro singled to open the Cubs' half of the frame and Ryan Sweeney reached on a fielding error by third baseman Todd Frazier. Starter Alfredo Simon was pulled for Sam LeCure, who struck out Welington Castillo, then served up a RBI single to Luis Valbuena. That is all that the Cubs were going to come up with as they dropped yet another game to the Reds. Renteria, who called the play on Friday "sloppy," met with the Cubs after a 4-1 loss. One bright spot for the Cubs is starting pitching. They entered Friday’s game ranked eighth in the NL in starting pitchers ERA, led by Jeff Samardzija who posted his fourth quality start and has a 1.29 ERA this season but zero wins to show. He went seven innings and gave up three runs (one earned) on six hits, walked two and struck out seven.
Cubs 8, Reds 4
W: Jackson (1-1) L: Cingrani (1-2)
Edwin Jackson gave up two runs in 5 2/3 innings (he doesn't completely suck) and a trio of homeruns by Mike Olt, Darwin Barney and Welington Castillo powered him to his first win of the season. Emilio Bonifacio added three hits and scored twice to help the Cubs snap their five-game losing streak. The pep talk given by Rick Renteria a day prior seemed to work, at least for one day anyway. Reds starter Tony Cingrani (1-2) gave up three runs in five innings, struck out three, but walked four. The Reds cut the lead to 3-2 in the sixth. Devin Mesoraco hit an RBI double and another run scored on Zack Cozart's groundout. But the Reds stranded a runner at third when pinch hitter Brayan Pena flew out to shallow right to end the inning. The Cubs got some insurance runs from Barney as he hit a two-run home run, his first of the season, off Logan Ondrusek, and Junior Lake drove in another run on a single to push the lead to 6-2. The Reds came back with two runs in the seventh. Jay Bruce singled in a run, and the second run scored on third baseman Olt's error on Chris Heisey's grounder, but Heisey was thrown out at second. Castillo hit his third home run, a two-run shot in the seventh for the final run of the game. The highlight may have been Jackson's efficient three-pitch third inning. Billy Hamilton singled on the first pitch, and Joey Votto then grounded into a double play on the first pitch he saw, before Brandon Phillips hit a comebacker to the pitcher for the third out. The last Cubs pitcher to get three outs on three pitches in one inning was Randy Wells, who did so on Sept. 25, 2011, against the Cardinals.
Reds 8, Cubs 2
W: Bailey (1-1) L: Villanueva (1-4)
Right-hander Homer Bailey scattered three hits over six shutout innings as the Cincinnati Reds continued to dominate the Cubs with an 8-2 victory on Sunday at Wrigley Field. Bailey struck out eight and walked three in his longest outing of the season. The Reds took two-of-three games in the first of six 2014 series with the Cubs and have now won 15 of 20 games over Chicago. The Reds hit five doubles, including RBI doubles from Devin Mesoraco, Zack Cozart and Todd Frazier to back Homer Bailey's best outing this year. Jay Bruce and Cozart added on with homers in the seventh. The Cubs stranded two in the ninth and once again failed to win a series. They totaled 28 hits in the three-game series, and scored 11 runs, including eight on Saturday in an 8-4 win. On Sunday, they had chances, stranding 14 base runners, but went 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position. Carlos Villanueva took the loss, throwing a season-high 103 pitches over 4 2/3 innings, giving up five runs on nine hits, walked one and struck out seven. He may have one more start before he is switched to the bullpen and replaced by Jake Arrieta, who was scheduled to make a Minor League rehab start Monday and could be close to returning. In hopes of getting the offense going against Bailey, Renteria inserted left-handed hitters Ryan Sweeney, Anthony Rizzo and Nate Schierholtz in the lineup. Lefties were batting .538 against the Reds starter entering the game but the Cubs’ lefties didn’t do much as they went a combined 2-for-7 against him.
The Cubs and Diamondbacks open a four-game series tonight at Wrigley Field, and both teams are looking for a boost as they have struggled to start off the season. The D-backs' starting pitchers are last in the National League in ERA, one of the reasons they are sitting at the bottom of the National League West standings. The Cubs' starting pitchers rank 10th in the NL in ERA and have kept the team in games but they have struggled offensively and have been shut out four times this season. Former Reds’ pitcher Bronson Arroyo looks to have a better outing than his last and Cubs’ starter Travis Wood looks for his first W of the season. Here are the upcoming games and probable pitchers:
Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Chicago Cubs
Monday, April 21, 7:05 PM CDT, Wrigley Field
TV = CSN+
Bronson Arroyo, RHP vs. Travis Wood, LHP
Tuesday, April 22, 7:05 PM CDT, Wrigley Field
TV = CSN
Wednesday, April 23, 1:20 PM CDT, Wrigley Field
TV = WGN
Wade Miley, LHP vs. Jeff Samardzija, RHP
Thursday, April 24, 1:20 PM CDT, Wrigley Field
TV = WGN
Mike Bolsinger, RHP vs. Edwin Jackson, RHP
Thanks for reading and as always, Go Cubs!