Well, dang. I got my hopes up for a second there.
This game was pretty boring until we reached the first out in the 9th inning. That’s when David Ross was tossed from the game after Patrick Wisdom was plunked maybe(?) on purpose. The pitch had the look of something intentional – and it was Hunter Strickland – but it wasn’t even entirely clear why the Reds would’ve felt that was necessary in the moment (after the game, Ross said there was some jarring between the teams). Whatever. I guess we’ll keep a close eye on the emotional temperature tomorrow morning (11:35am first pitch, don’t forget!).
After that, Alfonso Rivas drew a walk and Willson Contreras came up to the plate – freshly available post injury – representing the go-ahead run. Contreras gave the ball a ride – 102.1 MPH and 388 feet into right center field – but OF COURSE Nick Senzel was there to make a beautiful catch and probably save the game for Cincinnati. As a matter of fact, Senzel had more than one of those catches tonight and almost single-handedly saved that game for the Reds.
But the excitement wasn’t over there, because Nico Hoerner (activated from the IL tonight) came up and delivered a two-out, RBI knock to bring the Cubs within a run with the game-tying run at third base. Unfortunately, Christopher Morel didn’t have the magic in him tonight and he struck out to end the game. Bummer. He had otherwise been having a really nice game, reaching base twice, scoring a run, and playing with all kinds of energy on defense and patience at the plate (he saw 30 pitches tonight in five PAs). Hard not to like what we’re seeing there.
And what’s there to say besides that? The Cubs got to Luis Castillo early, but after a leadoff single in the second, he sat down 11 straight Cubs batters while Kyle Hendricks was getting smoked. Daniel Norris had a great outing (six-up, six-down with 4Ks), Mychal Givens and Rowan Wick kept the Reds at 4 runs, but the Cubs came up just short because they went 2-11 with runners in scoring position. It happens. Go for the series win tomorrow.