Reds 4 @ Cubs 3 

Box Score / Highlights

 

I have to admit something, other then opening day this was the first Cubs game I have watched from start to finish in the young 2012 season.  Unexciting players and just plain bad, predictable baseball have kept me from being able to watch a game in it’s entirety.  Today neither team looked pretty as errors, walks, and limited offense played a huge part.

The Cubs are sporting a 4-12 record and have yet to win a series this season.  This game was the epitome of Cubs baseball in the 2012.  As for the Reds, this was an example of why they will remain competitive.  They are struggling at the moment and still managed to win a series against a division opponent on the road.

 

The Good

 

  • Randy Wells struggled to throw strikes all day but managed keep things in control and put together a decent outing.  His line was 5 inn 6H 2ER with 5BB and 2 K.  The Reds helped his cause by going 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
  • The Cubs did display some plate discipline today, sometimes it was almost too much patience as we witnessed a few backwards K’s.  They did manage to cobble together four of their walks against the Reds ace, Johnny Cueto, and Aroldis Chapman, who was yet to issue a walk this season.  I may be reaching here, but hey, we need to lean on the positive, even if it is tainted with some negative.
  • Bryan LaHair came up with a clutch two out single to center field scoring Castro from second.  LaHair went 1-for-2 with an RBI and a walk in the cleanup spot today.  He was then promptly pulled in favor of right handed hitting for the remaining four innings.
  • Starlin Castro increased his current hit streak to 10 games going 2-for-4 with two runs scored.  He was plunked on the elbow by Cueto and Cubs fans near and far had a quick scare as he went down to the ground writhing in pain.  He then got up and took his base and appears to be fine as he stayed in the game.  He wore a protective pad on his elbow for his next plate appearance.
  • Scott Maine and Shawn Camp looked good in relief.  The pair posted a total of 3.2 innings and struck out 6 with two walks and only one hit.  Maine started off a little rough with as hit batsmen and a walk but settled down and looked almost un-hittable with that nasty slurve that he throws.

The Bad

  • Alfonso Soriano was horrendous on both sides of the ball.  In the first inning he misplayed a ball in left for the umpteenth time in his career.  Yes, it was windy, but a good outfielder catches that ball.  He basically misjudged a can of corn and it dropped in front of him.  He then managed to go 0-for-4 with seven runners left on base.  He was up twice with the bases loaded and produced a big goose egg.  The first time was early in the game with two outs.  The second time was in the second inning with only one out.  He struck out on a pitch that bounced in the dirt of left handed batters box resulting in his patented “my bat is too heavy and I cant stop it from going around” check swing.  Is it too soon to release him? Addition by subtraction anyone?
  • Rodrigo Lopez also had a doozy of an inning….or should I say 1/3 of an inning.  After the Cubs tied the game at two in the bottom of the fifth, Rodrigo took the mound to start the sixth.  He started off by walking the number 8 hitter, Ryan Hanigan, which would be the second time Hanigan would start the inning off getting walked by a Cubs pitcher.   As if the pitching wasn’t bad enough, next Rodrigo would show his fielding prowess.  Lopez stood by and watched from the mound as a bunt from Cueto went half way between first base and the catcher.  Instead of racing to the ball he sat on the mound watching as Geo chased it down and made a hurried throw with a bad angle up the line.  The throw hit Cueto in the back and he was safe.  Zack Cozart came to the plate next and bunted a ball halfway up the third base side and Rodrigo gave the same reaction….nothing!  Soto was forced once again to run halfway up the line and field the ball inducing a slightly wild throw that pulled DeWitt off the first base bag buy an inch or two…….one walk and two throwing errors charged to Soto and the bases were loaded with no outs.  Lopez finally got Drew Stubbs to ground into a force out but a run would score.  That was the end of Lopez for the day.  Scott Maine came on and cleaned up his mess but not before he would hit a batter and then walk another to plate the fourth run, which was charged to Lopez.   Two runs scored and not a single ball was hit out of the infield.  Reds 4 Cubs 2
  • Geovany Soto continued his wonderful season at the plate.  He went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and played pretty much emotionless baseball.  He did hit two balls hard right at an outfielder for whatever that is worth.  He also got the credit for two errors in the sixth inning but I lay those on Lopez and his inability to even attempt to field a bunt.
  • The Cubs were 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
  • Sean Marshall finally showed his face in the series closing the game out, but not before teasing the Cubs a bit by relinquishing a third run.

 

Once again, a lack of offense, even though the wind was blowing dead in and the temps were in the forties, spotty pitching, and poor fielding was the culprit for the Cubs abysmal play.  This game could have been a lot worse if the Reds took advantage of some opportunities.

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Chet West is an IT professional living in Minneapolis, MN with his wife and two daughters. He has a pug named Banks and loves photography. Follow him on Twitter @chetwest19