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Cubs 7, Reds 3: Cincinnati snatches another defeat from jaws of victory

I have no idea what's going on. You probably already knew that.

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

Billy Hamilton smacked a pair of singles, stole three bags, scored twice, and generally brought the pain down on Jon Lester and the Chicago Cubs on Friday night, consistently proving that when he's on base, he's an absolute animal to deal with.  He nearly singlehandedly created two runs with his basepath prowess, and on a night where questionable decision making from the Reds in charge ruled the roost, it's great to know that when Billy's on, you can almost chalk up the opposing team having flop sweat.

Have a trophy, Billy, and talk to your manager about buntpocalypse if you get a chance.

Honorable Mentions are due to:  Marlon Byrd, who continued to show signs of life by smacking a pair of hits, one a double; Mike Leake, who had a very prototypical Mike Leake outing in his 7 IP; Todd Frazier, who had a pair of hits and walked once; and Joey Votto, who walked twice.

Key Plays

  • I often complain that Hamilton doesn't get on base enough to hit atop the Reds order, but there is no denying that when he does manage to get on base, there's not another player in baseball I'd like on the bases.  He put that on full display in the Bottom of the 1st against Jon Lester, singling up the middle and promptly wreaking havoc on the base paths.  He stole 2B without a throw, moved to 3B on a wild pitch, and scored when Joey Votto hit a soft grounder to the SS.  Reds led, 1-0.
  • The Bottom of the 3rd had a similar feel, as Hamilton again led off with a single to CF, but this time around he stole both 2B and 3B before coming in to score on a grounder off the bat of Brandon Phillips.  Reds led, 2-0.
  • That Reds lead lasted only momentarily, however, as Leake finally ran into some trouble in the Top of the 4th after having breezed through the first 3 frames.  Dexter Fowler led off with a double, and he moved to 3B on a wild pitch, not that the base he was on really mattered when Anthony Rizzo launched a 2-run dinger two batters later on a cut fastball that caught 10 lbs worth of the middle of the plate.  Game tied, 2-2.
  • Byrd spearheaded the next Reds run by starting the Bottom of the 4th with a double to the corner in LF.  He moved to 3B on a soft grounder from Brayan Pena, and later scored after a lengthy PA from Zack Cozart resulted in a deep sac fly to plate the Reds' LF.  Reds led, 3-2.
  • Chris Coghlan entered tonight's game having gone 8 for 8 against Mike Leake.  Although the Reds starter manage to retire the Cubs LF the first two times they met Friday, Coghlan finally got to Leake in the Top of the 7th, as he smacked a GABP special opposite field solo dinger.  Game tied, 3-3.
  • After several tenuous innings where both teams put runners on and failed to score, the game went to extras.  The Reds got an excuse me single from Skip Schumaker to lead off the Bottom of the 10th, and they promptly squandered a chance for their best hitter - Joey Votto - by bunting Skip over with Hamilton to open 1B for the obvious intentional walk.  Stop bunting.  Just, just stop.  Seriously, stop it.  You're still bunting...don't freaking do that.  You took the bat out of the best LH hitter in baseball because you bunted.  You took the bat out of one of the hottest hitters in baseball because you bunted.  Don't do that.  That's silly.  Why do that?  Why?
  • Oh, right.  The Reds didn't score in the Bottom of the 10th.
  • The Cubs, however, scored in the Top of the 11th, as back to back singles from Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant put the pressure on Burke Badenhop to get creative, and Jonathan Herrera had none of it by smacking an RBI single to RF to score Rizzo.  The Reds then intentionally walked somebody before someone hit a blah blah double off the blah blah wall in blah blah field to score a few more Cubs.  They still didn't bunt.  Then another run scored.  Then I cried.  Then Tony, nevermind.  He didn't pitch.  Why would he pitch?  The Reds are only shorthanded and keeping their most talented non-Marquis former starter in the pen having not pitched in nearly a fortnight, so why would he pitch?  Am I losing my mind?  Are they?  Is the world round and someone failed to tell Walt Jocketty, Bryan Price, and the intelligence wing of the Reds corporate machine?  What the hell is actually going on up there?  Good gravy, what a freaking disaster, mess, and conflagration.  What.The.Hell.  This is not some social experiment where you just arbitrarily create odd ways of handcuffing yourself in an attempt to outsmart other teams.  This is just awful, terrible, blatantly obvious bad, bad management.  What the actual hell is going on?  Starbucks doesn't stop buying milk for a month and then drop F-bombs at reporters who ask about it.  Wendy's doesn't keep french fries on their menu for two weeks while they simultaneously stop shipping potatoes to their franchisees.  Running a business with multiple hands tied behind your backs gets stupid bloggers with stupid keyboards to type stupid rants where game summaries normally exist, and that's the type of thing that throws every balanced basement out of balance.  To be completely frank, it's head-in-blender inducing, and it's equally parts annoying and frustrating.  Reds lose, 7-3.

Tony Graphanino

Source: FanGraphs

Other Notes
  • Brayan Pena led off the Bottom of the 7th with a double down the RF line, yet was stranded at 2B for the remainder of the inning.  Keep in mind, of course, that the Reds are playing with three catchers yet couldn't find a way to pinch run for easily the slowest person on their 24/25 man roster.
  • Devin Mesoraco, for what it's worth, pinch hit with Pena on base.  He struck out.
  • Cleanup hitter Brandon Phillips stepped to the plate with nobody out and runners on 1B & 2B in the Bottom of the 8th.  He grounded into a double play.
  • Cleanup hitter Brandon Phillips, by the way, still does not have an extra base hit yet in 2015.
  • That's two straight Other Notes that talk about the Reds getting runners to 2B in late-game innings and having them not score.  Some teams do have awesome bullpens, it seems.
  • Awful personnel decisions aside, the Reds were 0 for 14 with RISP tonight.  Fart on that.
  • Speaking of those personnel decisions, John Fay mentioned before the game that Devin Mesoraco is still a minimum of "days" away before he can even take a gander at seeing if he's physically capable of catching.  He's still on the roster, though, because Tony Cingrani needs someone to play Yahtzee with while neither can get into a game while taking up spots on the 25 man roster.
  • Just keep bunting, Reds.  When that's the twelfth dumbest thing you do each week, you won't even get chastised for it very often.
  • On a brighter note, tonight's 1990 throwback uniforms were freaking on-point.  Man, I miss those, and winning World Series titles.
  • Tunes.