|Chicago Cubs (102-57)||7||8||0|
|Cincinnati Reds (67-93)||3||5||0|
|W: Jake Buchanan (1-0) L: Josh Smith (3-3)|
|FanGraphs Probability ǀ Box Score|
There wasn’t a whole lot to get excited about until the ninth inning, when Joey Votto (who else?) provided some fireworks. One night after taking a ball off the chin and getting seven stitches, he crushed a two-run home run — his 29th of the season — off the batter’s eye in center field.
Ivan De Jesus Jr. reached base in all three plate appearances (two singles and a walk).
Jose Peraza hit a double in the bottom of the sixth inning and would later score on a groundout by Hernan Iribarren.
Josh Smith gave as good an effort as you could expect in another spot start. He was perfect through four innings before giving up a solo homer to Ben Zobrist to lead off the fifth. The right-hander ran out of gas in the sixth, giving up two singles and a walk to load the bases before he was taken out of the game.
Only one of those runners would come around to score, as Tony Cingrani did a nice job limiting the damage with a groundout, a strikeout, and a pickoff (his team-leading sixth of the season). Smith’s final line: five innings, two runs, three hits, one walk, one strikeout.
Cingrani’s next inning didn’t go so well, giving up a leadoff double to Zobrist and an RBI double to Addison Russell.
Abel De Los Santos was awful in the eighth, giving up four runs (including Zobrist’s second homer of the night), three hits, and a walk. He recorded just one out. Given that he pitched most of the year in Double-A, De Los Santos just seems overmatched in the big leagues.
Ross Ohlendorf walked a batter, but got through the eighth without allowing the Cubs to further pull away.
Matt Magill threw a scoreless ninth. He walked the leadoff batter, but quickly erased that mistake with a double play ball.
— Some big news broke before the game, as the Reds announced they’re bringing manager Bryan Price and the rest of the coaching staff back for 2017. You can read Steve Mancuso’s thoughts on the announcement here.
My take: well, I don’t really have a strong one. The Reds aren’t going to compete in 2017 and there aren’t any great options out there (and no, Barry Larkin should not be the next manager just because we all loved him as a player), so it doesn’t really hurt to have Price back. He’s not the greatest manager of all-time, but he’s certainly no Bob Boone. My only concern is that the young players get on the field everyday, which wasn’t always the case in 2016. If they’re still around, Brandon Phillips and Zack Cozart should not be starting everyday while Jose Peraza and Dilson Herrera sit on the bench or play in Louisville.
— Recent waiver acquisition Patrick Kivlehan made his Reds debut in the bottom of the eighth, grounding out to shortstop. I’m not sure he’ll stick around, but he’s put up some intriguing minor-league numbers, at the very least. In parts of five seasons, he’s batted .282/.344/.470 with 82 home runs.
— Enjoy these last two days of Joey Votto, everyone. We won’t get to see his brilliance with the bat for a while.
The penultimate game of the season is tomorrow. That’s a bummer. Tim Adleman (3.90 ERA, 5.08 xFIP) will make his final start of the year, trying to build off the best outing of his career on Monday. He’ll have to really earn this one, though, as Jon Lester (2.28 ERA, 3.44 xFIP) will be his opponent.