Cubs 2, Reds 7
What Went Right
March to 200 – Starlin Castro improved on his major league lead in hits with lead-off singles in the first and sixth innings. The pair of safeties gave the shortstop 192 hits on the season as he continued his quest to be the first Cubs player with 200 hits since Juan Pierre in 2006.
Sixth Inning Offense – The Cubs didn’t get much going offensively all night, but the sixth inning went exactly as you would draw it up. After Castro’s second lead-off single of the night he was moved up two bases by the third batter (Aramis Ramirez) and driven in on a double by the clean-up hitter (Carlos Peña). Alfonso Soriano drove in the second run with a ground ball to the right side of the infield.
- Casey Coleman’s Line: 3.2 innings, 6 hits, 6 runs, 3 walks, 4 K’s
- Bullpen Line: 4.1 innings, 2 hits, 1 run, 0 walks, 4 K’s
At Least It Was Quick – On nights when the Cubs are out of it early and aren’t putting up a fight, the best thing you can ask for is a mercifully quick game. We had that tonight with a game time of just 2:21.
What Went Wrong
Casey Coleman – There were a few other things here and there (they only scored two runs, left another nine men on base) but the biggest obstacle facing the Cubs on Wednesday night was the hole dug by starting pitcher Casey Coleman. I feel like a broken record picking on the starters time and time again but what else is there to say. On the positive side, Coleman was around the strike zone most of the night. Unfortunately, he was getting a little too much of the plate and couldn’t get through four innings. At this point in his career, Coleman simply doesn’t look like a major league pitcher while giving up nearly a run an inning over the course of the season. On a side note, he should have kept the beard.
- After seeing Johnny Cueto leave the mound with an injury in the fourth I couldn’t help but flash back to the Dusty Baker-managed Cubs teams of yore and the repeated injuries to our young starters. Perhaps Baker gets a bad wrap for running pitchers into the ground (and yes, Cueto has only thrown 150 innings this season after starting the year on the DL), but it seemed like a typical Dusty move when he allowed Cueto to keep pitching in a meaningless game after he first showed signs of injury.
- A foam finger found its way onto the warning track in the top of the 8th inning. I make note of this only because the foot speed of the security guard convinced me that if I was ever going to run onto the field and hope not to get caught, I would make sure I was at Great American Ballpark.
- Reds reliever Sam Lecure’s mustache was fantastic…a real thing of beauty.
The radar teased us all night but the Cubs certainly didn’t. Despite the positive tilt in the “What Went Right/What Went Wrong” section, Chicago never put up a fight. Ramon Hernandez’s 3-run home run off Coleman in the second inning was all the Reds needed (though they tacked on another four runs for good measure). After winning the series opener, the Cubs will need a solid start out of Randy Wells to salvage a split in the finale on Thursday.
Stars of the Game
Base on Win Probability Added (WPA)
1st Star – Ramon Hernandez (.228 WPA)
2nd Star – Johnny Cueto (.166 WPA)
3rd Star – Juan Francisco (.123 WPA)