After taking game one at Wrigley Field, this series turned ugly for the Cincinnati Reds. Neither Hunter Greene or Graham Ashcraft were able to pitch well in the friendly confines as the Chicago Cubs put up a combined 23 runs on Thursday and Friday to take the series. Now sitting at 26-49 on the season, the Reds are just one game ahead of the Oakland Athletics in the win column for the worst record in Major League Baseball.
Cincinnati returns to Great American Ball Park on Friday evening for an eight-game, seven-day home stand. The Reds host the defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves for a three game weekend series. Then, the New York Mets come to town on Monday. Finally, the Pittsburgh Pirates will play a doubleheader on Thursday to make up a previous rainout. First pitch on Friday night is schedule for 6:40 p.m. Eastern Time with Mike Minor taking the mound for the Reds.
Luis Castillo Throws a Gem, Reds Take Game One
The rumors of the Cincinnati Reds dealing their ace Luis Castillo at the trade deadline are intensifying. However, he continues to pitch very well for David Bell and company in the meantime. On Tuesday night in Chicago, Castillo struck out 11 batters while throwing six shutout innings to earn the victory. He is 3-4 on the season with a 3.32 earned run average. Some World Series contender would be smart to make a strong push to acquire his talented arm.
It was a pitcher’s duel at Wrigley field until the top of the sixth inning when Brandon Drury and Donovan Solano came through with back-to-back RBI doubles. Then, Jonathan India provided some additional insurance with a 421-foot three-run blast to centerfield to make it 5-0 Reds.
India’s home run proved to be crucial as the Cubs got three runs in the bottom half of the seventh off of Joel Kuhnel. The Cincinnati defense faltered in the inning which helped lead to the Cubbies getting back in it. However, Art Warren and Hunter Strickland shut things down in the eighth and ninth to give the Reds a 5-3 victory in the series opener.
Cubs Get to Hunter Greene Early, Cruise to Win
The rookie season growing pains hit Hunter Greene once again at Wrigley Field on Thursday evening. Long time Cincinnati Reds killer Ian Happ got the Cubs on top right away in the bottom of the first with a RBI double. Nico Hoerner drove in two more runs in the fourth and Wilson Contreras hit a two run homer in the fifth to really open it up at 5-0. Greene is now just 3-9 on the season with a 5.72 earned run average.
Joey Votto go the Reds on the board in the sixth with a run scoring double to center, but that was as close as they would get to a comeback attempt. Chicago continued to add on off of the Cincinnati bullpen and eventual came away with an 8-3 win to even the series at one game a piece.
Reds Allows 23 Hits, 15 Runs to Lose Series
The Chicago Cubs were scoring early and often in the Thursday night rubber match against the Cincinnati Reds. Chicago scored on an error in the first inning to take an early 1-0 lead. However, it was a grand slam by Patrick Wisdom in the second inning that really put the Reds in a hole.
Rookie Graham Ashcraft, who has mostly been great for the Reds, struggled mightily on the mound in this one. He allowed seven runs on seven hits in just two and one-third innings. For the season, Ashcraft is still 4-2 with a 4.53 earned run average.
Cincinnati’s offense did get going some in the later innings including home runs from Joey Votto and Tommy Pham. It was never enough to get closer than 7-2 in the sixth though. The Cubs went on to record a blowout 15-7 victory to secure the series win. They recorded 23 hits on the game off of five different Reds pitchers.