That’s a tough one to stomach. The Reds had won just twice in their last 16 games (how is that even possible?), the Cubs scored five runs and had a two-run lead in the middle innings, and the Cubs were coming off the high of a no-hitter (following the deep low of four losses in a row). To lose this game. Ouch. It stings.
Kyle Hendricks was not sharp, which is a huge bummer. Although he gave up only three earned runs through five innings, that probably undersells the lack of command. He was part of an interesting Joe Maddon strategy that didn’t work out – with runners on first and second and two outs, the Cubs elected to intentionally walk Joey Votto to load the bases for Brandon Phillips, who singled home two runs. I go back and forth on whether this was the right strategic move, but, in any case, it didn’t work out.
Thereafter, the Cubs immediately struck back, scoring four and taking a two run lead … which evaporated immediately on the strength of two two-run homers given up by Justin Grimm to guys who probably shouldn’t be hitting homers off of Justin Grimm. I guess the Reds … don’t fear the reaper. (I’m sorry.)
The Cubs were putting something together in the 8th inning, but, unfortunately for them, Reds manager Bryan Price finally figured out that he needs to use Aroldis Chapman when the game is on the line, regardless of the inning. The Cubs helped him out by ending the inning on a double steal attempt, though it was the first time a runner had been caught trying to steal on Chapman all year. It was the right strategic call at the time, but it didn’t work out.
Of course, it all became academic when a comedy of errors (two ugly ones by Starlin Castro) and walks and hits cascaded into a six-run top of the 9th for the Reds, all unearned.
And then Chapman came back out for the bottom of the 9th for some inexplicable reason.