Until the ninth inning, the Reds had outhit the Cubs. But it sure didn’t seem like they were in the game. Last night the Cubbies scored 16 runs by blasting home run after home run. Tonight, they took a bunch of walks, stole bases, hit sacrifice flies and executed squeeze bunts. And hit two homers.
Once again, the Reds played Chip Diller to the Cubs Doug Neidermeyer. The Reds have now lost five in a row to the North Siders, outscored 46-7. Fifteen innings into this series, the Reds finally scored a run.
People say history repeats itself. The games between these teams feel a lot like the accounts from Atlanta, circa December 1864. Sherman’s drive to the sea was devastating. But historians claim that a fair bit of the damage to the Georgia countryside was caused by Confederate soldiers as they were retreating. The self sabotage the past two nights included wild throws, mistakes running the bases, swings at balls out of the strike zone and poor pitching. Meanwhile, the Cubs exhibited plate discipline and executed their plays. No mas.
Didn’t Get Killed In the context of those lopsided numbers, Jon Moscot’s second start of the season wasn’t terrible. Reds fans, meet low bar. Moscot gave up four runs (three earned) in five innings, allowing three hits and four walks. He struck out two. Jeff Brantley said that Moscot wasn’t pitching enough inside and the few times he did, Moscot recorded easy outs. His FIP stands at 7.24. That stinks. But it’s better than six others pitchers who have taken the mound for the Reds this year.
Zack Blast Zack Cozart hit his first home run of the season, crushing a long blast to left center off Jon Lester in the sixth inning. He also made a nice defensive play charging a ground ball early in the game and dove to catch a line drive in the ninth.
Promising Play Adam Duvall, who is not a natural left fielder, made an outstanding diving catch on a line drive down the line by Jason Heyward. The Cubs right fielder, a three-time Gold Glove outfielder, tipped his batting helmet to Duvall.
Speed in CF Tyler Holt got a start in center, with Billy Hamilton nursing an injured hand. He walked in the third inning and stole second. In his second at bat, Holt narrowly beat out a 5-4-3 triple play.
New from the Bullpen For the second night in a row, the Reds featured a pitcher who had just been called up from AAA. J.C. Ramirez is a 27-year-old right hander from Nicaragua. The Reds are his fifth organization. Ramirez has already learned the bullpen’s signature move, walking the first batter he faced. But then he retired the next eight batters. He finished with three innings of one-hit, one-walk, shutout pitching. So maybe he won’t fit in after all.
Sadly familiar from the Bullpen J.J. Hoover pitched the top of the ninth and gave up a home run to the first batter he faced. Brantley said Hoover is another pitcher who needs to challenge hitters inside. “When you constantly pitch them outside over the plate,” said the former All-Star closer, “they’ll lean out and whack it.” Hoover gave up three more extra-base hits and three more runs. Bryan Price had set up Hoover to pitch against the bottom of the Cubs order in a relatively low-stress situation and the Reds reliever got hammered.
Bailey’s Schedule Homer Bailey felt normal after his rehab start in Louisville last night. Bryan Price said Homer will have two or three more starts before returning to the Reds rotation. Bailey echoed that today. Price watched video of Bailey’s start last night and said Homer was “progressing beyond our expectations” (Fay). That sounds like two more minor league starts – on Tuesday, April 26 and Sunday, May 1. If Bailey stays on schedule, he could pitch in Cincinnati on Friday, May 6 against the Brewers.
Grilled Lamb Milton wasn’t the only frustrated lamb tonight. John Lamb‘s rehab start in Louisville didn’t go as well as Homer Bailey’s did yesterday. Lamb, who had back surgery in December, didn’t make it through three innings, giving up 11 hits and a walk. He struck out three. Lamb threw 78 pitches, 51 of which were strikes. As long as Lamb’s back feels OK, this is nothing to worry about.
Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.