The Chicago Cubs went into Cincinnati to face the Reds with the knowledge that the Reds have had players miss games over the weekend due to being COVID-19 symptomatic, as well as the debacle that is the Miami Marlins’ 14 positive tests, to begin a four game series.
Was it wise to play tonight? Probably not. There was a downpour prior to the game, which led to the start being pushed back an hour and 47 minutes. Between the chance to get the clubhouses deep cleaned and the 30 man rosters, a doubleheader on Tuesday or Wednesday would not have been the worst idea in the world.
But play they did, and we’re here to provide a recap to you, our loyal tens of readers.
The Cubs were extremely happy to see Wade Miley on the mound at the Great American Ballpark, scoring six runs off him before he got six outs. But then the arsonists in the Cubs’ bullpen gave up seven of their own. They held on for an 8-7 win, and took a half game lead over St. Louis in the NL Central. Yeah, it’s only 4 games, but that’s 1/15 of the season already.
Let’s get to this.
Jon Lester. 5 hitless innings, 1 walk, 1 strikeout. Cubs’ manager David Ross had him on a pitch count, 5 innings or 80 pitches. He was at 76 after five, so in came Dan Winkler and a cast of thousands.
Bryzzo. They each walked and got hit by pitches, and both scored each time. Rizzo also homered in the 6th, his third in four games. But when your top two guys in the order are getting on with that type of frequency, it’s good news for the Cubs.
Willson Contreras. He hit a double and a single, but the big story is his framing. He’s really using his glove effectively and is giving Cubs pitchers a much better strike zone.
Ross turned the game over to the bullpen with a 7-0 lead and 12 outs to go. The bullpen not only ended the no-hitter in very short order, but they made it all a lot more interesting than it needed to be. I’ll beat this dead horse all year – bring up Adbert Alzolay and Brailyn Marquez so they can crank it up for an inning each. They’re better than the guys out there now. What makes it even worse is the fact that the Reds’ bullpen was able to stop the bleeding once Miley hit the showers.
But even though I’ve already mentioned the bullpen, Craig Kimbrel merits his own mention here. His Mitch Williams imitation lacks the part where he’d pull his own ass out of the fire. He came into the 9th with a three run lead and walked four and hit one. Contreras should have gotten combat pay catching that.
Winkler looks like he should have been born 50 years ago and been in The Lovin’ Spoonful.
Tomorrow night they go at it again, and Alec Mills gets the start.