Great American Ballpark
April 26, 2015
The Cubs conclude their eastern road trip today as Jake Arrieta (3-1) faces Jason Marquis (1-3). The Reds bats have been extremely quiet this season, and while Chicago has a great start going, but despite their excellent defensive ratings across the board they have played terrible defense so far.
Marquis, who is not exactly known as a “fireballer” gets off to a great start by striking out the first two hitters, but lets his guard down a bit and Anthony Rizzo, who had been slumping of late rips this into the right field bleachers for his 4th homer of the year. Marquis gets the next hitter, but the inning ends with the visitors leading by one.
Jake gets a bit of a tough start in the bottom of the inning. Skip Schumaker rips a double into right center field with one out and Joey Votto draws a two out walk to put runners on first and second, but Eugenio Suarez whiffs to end the rally and the score is still 1-0 Cubs.
The score was unchanged as we reached the third inning. Dexter Fowler, who was struggling at .231 coming into this game slaps an opposite field single and steals second after a bit of cat and mouse at first base. Starlin Castro, who has been the team’s MVP for the month of April so far hits a single to center that scores Fowler with the second run of the day for Chicago. Castro had to hold at first, but he steals second soon afterward and ends up stranded there as the inning ends with the home team losing by two runs.
Arrieta gets a quick inning in the bottom of the third and the game is still close, but that all changed in the fourth inning. Miguel Montero, who has really come through in the early going smashed an opposite field homer to start the inning. Chris Coghlan hits a floater over second for a single. Chris Denorfia, who was in for the slumping Austin Jackson hits a single that puts runners on the corners with one out, and they were still there with two outs when Dexter Fowler walks to load the bases.
Castro pulls a fastball into left field and two runs score and the lead is now 5-0. The pitching coach comes out to calm Marquis down and it worked as he gets Rizzo to end the inning.
Arrieta is really starting to come around (I guess a five run lead will do that) and he gets another 1-2-3 inning. The Cubs come to bat in the top of the fifth inning and now things come undone at last for the Reds. Montero gets his third straight hit with a single to right. Coghlan follows up with a single to center, but Montero is gunned down at third for out number two. Javier Baez, who is in for the struggling Addison Russell and his .207 average smokes a drive that hit the wall just under the basket in left for an RBI double.
The manager has seen enough and Collin Balester is in. He walks Denorfia, and Arrieta hits a sure inning ender right at him, but he bobbles the ball and the error has loaded the bases. Fortunately he gets Fowler to fly to right and the inning is over with the Reds losing 6-0.
The Reds go down quickly in the fifth and now Nate Adcock is in and shuts the Cubs down for the first time in the sixth inning. The Reds don’t score after the sixth inning ends and Adcock comes in for his last inning of work.
It was a mistake the Reds manager would regret. Montero gets his fourth straight hit and Coghlan hits a fly ball that hits the wall and rattles around in the corner for an RBI triple. The bullpen is starting to work for the Reds, but it’s not in time. Baez slams his second double of the day that scores Coghlan. The pitching coach comes to the mound to stall for time. Castro gets an RBI double and Rizzo makes the merciful final out and the inning ends with the Cubs comfortably on top 10-0.
Arrieta struggles a bit and is finally tiring a bit, but he still has a shutout as the seventh inning closes. Donovan Hand is in for the Reds and he is the first Cincy pitcher that has an answer to the Cubs bats. He strikes out two of the three hitters he faces and the Reds now need to do something to make this close.
Billy Hamilton hits a single to left. He was on second with one out when Jay Bruce crushes a fastball for a two run shot and the Reds are on the board. One out later Suarez crushes a towering homer to right that nearly left the stadium, but Brandon Phillips strikes out and the inning is over with the Reds now trailing 10-3.
Hand stays in the game and looks great again. He gets the Cubs in order, and Joe Maddon has decided to let Jake Arrieta go the distance, and he does that in style. He strikes out the side and the final four hitters overall. The Cubs get a big win and remain in first place.
For the Cubs Jake Arrieta walked two and struck out 8 and allowed just the three runs. Miguel Montero was the star on offense (there were many) with a 4-5 night. Starlin Castro and Chris Coghlan had three hits apiece.
Around the horn:
Zack Greinke lost on a game winning homer by little Alexi Amarista with two out in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Jason Kipnis of the Indians continues to impress with a .388 average and 18 RBI’s in 17 games.
Joe Kelly of the Red Sox, a C starter continues to pitch well. He is 3-1 with a 3.21 ERA after shutting out the Orioles 8-0.
Eddie Rosario of the Twins is overcoming a slow start and is now hitting .324 with 6 homers.