That’s seven straight losses. The swoon extends into July, apparently. The Cubs are now 7.5 games back.
Of course Nick Castellanos and Joey Votto get the back-to-back hits that bring the Reds back in this one to give them the lead over the Cubs. The guy who never should’ve gotten away and the face of the Reds. Good for them, I guess, but it’s a head-shaking kind of disappointment. Again.
To be fair, it’s hard to pin anything on Alec Mills tonight, or even necessarily Adam Morgan, who gave up the hit to Votto. That happens sometimes. Mills was very effective, accepting the generous strike zone he was given, and using it to really punish Reds hitters up and at the corners. That two-seamer was really running tonight, and he was actually a joy to watch. Quite a turnaround from how he looked in Los Angeles. Dan Winkler and Andrew Chafin did what they usually do from there.
Not that it mattered. Jason Heyward drove in Kris Bryant with a double, and that was it for the offense tonight.
He’s far from the only guy struggling, but he stands out: Javy Báez isn’t just lost in a usual way right now – it’s something that looks a little different. It looks like so much guessing up there. He has taken strike three more times in the last couple weeks than he has the whole rest of the season, or it sure seems that way. It’s as if he has become so convinced that he won’t see a ball in the zone when there are two strikes that he figures he should just take at that point no matter what. It isn’t just taking strike three. It just looks really off (even the uptick in walks). We know he can shake it loose quickly, so hopefully that’s around the corner or something. It’s hard to watch.
In the meantime, the offense continues to founder …