|Cincinnati Reds (19-20)||5||9||1|
|Chicago Cubs (20-19)||7||6||0|
|W: Kyle Hendricks (3-2) L: Scott Feldman (2-4) SV: Wade Davis (9)|
|FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score | Game Thread | Statcast|
Zack Cozart really wants a donkey, doesn’t he?
He continued his outstanding season, going 3-for-5 at the plate. Billy Hamilton led the game off with a single, stole second base, and scored on a single by Cozart to give the Reds an early lead (which didn’t last long — more on that later).
In the third inning, the Reds’ shortstop blasted a solo home run into the left field bleachers, giving him a home run in five straight games at Wrigley Field.
The tale of the tape (the wind miiiiight have helped this one a little bit):
Exit velocity: 91mph
Angle: 36° pic.twitter.com/2O6gPcSShj
— Home Run Tracker (@DingerTracker) May 18, 2017
Down 7-2, the offense struck again in the seventh inning, breaking the 18-inning scoreless streak of Cubs reliever Mike Montgomery. Cozart got the two-out rally started with a single. Joey Votto then drew a walk, and Adam Duvall followed with a line-drive single into left to score Cozart.
Eugenio Suarez was unfazed by a pitching change, sending a two-run double into the left-center field gap to reduce the Cubs’ lead to 7-5.
Unfortunately, the comeback effort fell short. The Reds didn’t manage a baserunner in the final two innings (although they probably should’ve; the game ended on a very questionable replay review to rob Votto of an infield single).
For a second straight night, a Reds veteran starting pitcher was knocked around by the Cubs offense. Scott Feldman, though he wasn’t beaten by home runs like Bronson Arroyo on Tuesday night, couldn’t build on the momentum from his previous two starts. He lasted only 2 2/3 innings, allowing seven runs (five earned) on five hits. He struck out four and walked three.
He had a disastrous second frame, allowing five runs to put his team in a four-run deficit it would not overcome. The right-hander’s command was all over the place, as he gave up three walks and hit a batter in addition to allowing three singles in the inning.
Bryan Price sent him back out for the third, and things did not improve — although it wasn’t all Feldman’s fault. Ben Zobrist laced a double to start the inning. Feldman struck out the next batter and should’ve had the second out against Miguel Montero; however, Duvall dropped a fly ball in left field to put runners at second and third. (In Duvall’s defense, the wind was blowing hard — as it typically does in Chicago — but it was still a catchable ball.)
Then, Cubs skipper Joe Maddon showed why he’s regarded as one of the best managers in the game. He called for a safety squeeze with pitcher Kyle Hendricks at the plate in a 3-2 count, and it worked beautifully. Feldman faced one more hitter, allowing an RBI single to make it a 7-2 game before he was removed from the game.
As has been the case in many games this season, the bullpen kept the Reds in it.
Austin Brice was once again solid in relief. He threw 2 1/3 perfect innings, with six of his seven outs coming on the ground (the other was a strikeout). Brice has allowed only one run in nine innings this season. With the way Luis Castillo is throwing in Double-A, that Dan Straily trade is looking might good right now.
Drew Storen tossed a scoreless sixth inning, inducing a double play after giving up an infield single. Wandy Peralta continued his dominance in the seventh, striking out one in a perfect inning. (Shameless plug alert: I have a piece about him coming out tomorrow, so keep an eye out for that.)
The eighth was a little more rocky. Raisel Iglesias walked three hitters to load the bases but struck out the side to cap off 5 1/3 shutout innings from the bullpen.
– Turns out Cozart’s feat of homering in five straight games at Wrigley is a pretty rare one.
Correction: Cozart 3rd visitor, 7th player to homer in 5 consecutive games at Wrigley (Williams twice). No player has homered in 6 straight.
— Reds Media Relations (@RedsPR) May 18, 2017
Can he set the record tomorrow?
– With a walk in the fifth inning, Votto reached base for the 20th consecutive game. That’s decent.
– Speaking of Votto, Patrick Jeter wrote an excellent piece on the Reds’ first baseman today. Go check it out.
The Reds will try to avoid a sweep as they wrap up their three-game series with the Cubs on Thursday afternoon at 2:20 p.m. ET. After a brief stay in the minor leagues due to innings and service time concerns, Amir Garrett (4.25 ERA, 4.59 xFIP) will take the mound for Cincinnati, looking to build on his strong rookie season. He’ll be opposed by Cubs ace Jon Lester (3.45 ERA, 3.62 xFIP).
Growing up just north of Cincinnati, Matt has been a Reds fan for as long as he can remember. As a kid, he was often found leading the Reds to 162-0 seasons in MVP Baseball 2005 and imitating his favorite players (Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, Sean Casey, and Austin Kearns) in the backyard. One of his earliest baseball memories is attending the final night game at Cinergy Field. Matt is also a graduate of The Ohio State University and currently lives in the Dayton area. Follow him on Twitter at @_MattWilkes.