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Cubs thump Reds early, beat Cincinnati 9-2


Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

There weren't too many highlights for the Cincinnati Reds during Wednesday's tussle with the Chicago Cubs, but there was a lone glimmer from Eugenio Suarez, yet again.  Henny-O went 2 for 3 and walked once, again pacing the offense while the team's pitching poured ketchup into its own orifices.

Look, it's late, and if you watched this one you're not in the mood to read about it.  And even if you didn't watch, the scoreboard told you all you needed to know.

Honorable Mentions are due to:  Blake Wood, who continued his solid start to 2016 with another scoreless inning in relief; Ross Ohlendorf, who tossed a perfect inning from the bullpen; Scott Schebler, who tripled and scored; and Tucker Barnhart, who singled and walked.

Key Plays

  • The Reds looked like they were up to something big in the Top of the 1st, thanks in large part to Hamilton's leadoff double.  He moved to 3B when Suarez followed with a bloop into RF that just cleared Ben Zobrist at 2B, and the bags were then packed with nobody out after Henny-O stole 2B and Votto walked.  Brandon Phillips then K'd, but Jay Bruce lifted a deep sac fly to at least get one run in.  That was all they could muster, though, as Scott Schebler grounded out 4-3 to end things with just a single run scored.  Reds led, 1-0.
  • That lead lasted about a minute.  The Bottom of the 1st, though, lasted much, much longer.  49 pitches into his start, Alfredo Simon had only recorded a pair of outs, and his outing included famed luminaries such as "walked three guys in a row," and "watched the opposing pitcher (who spent almost his entire career not-hitting in the American League) get a single and drive in a run."  All told, the Cubs batted around, dinked-walked-dunked their way to 5 runs, and chased Simon in favor of Dan Straily before the end of the inning.  Reds trailed, 5-1.
  • Straily effectively got out of the Bottom of the 1st, sat the Cubs down quickly in the Bottom of the 2nd, but ran into predictable trouble in the Bottom of the 3rd when still tasked with being on the bump for the Reds.  He walked Miguel Montero to lead off the inning - which haunted - before the Cubs loaded the bases with a Jorge Soler single and subsequent Addison Russell walk.  Strailey K'd two in a row to flirt with escaping unscathed, but Jason Heyward poked a 2-run single to RF before the inning finally ended.  Reds trailed, 7-1.
  • Keyvius Sampson took over for the Bottom of the 4th.  Keyvius Sampson pitched to Kris Bryant.  That got tatered for a solo dinger.  Keyvius Sampson pitched to a pile of other Cubs hitters in the Bottom of the 4th, sometimes throwing the ball the full 60 feet and 6 inches to the catcher, sometimes not.  Montero ended up at 3B at some point (after walking), and he came home when - with pitcher John Lackey at the plate - Sampson spiked a wild pitch that may not have made it 52 feet before skipping to the backstop.  31 pitches later, a pair of Cubs ended up stranded, and the Reds trailed, 9-1.
  • Oh, hey!  Hey there, loyal fan of the Cincinnati Reds!  Your team emerged again from its slumber in the Top of the 7th, thanks to a Schebler's leadoff triple off the wall in CF and productive ground-out from Ivan De Jesus, Jr.  that drove him in.  Reds trailed, 9-2.
  • That's it.  You've seen it.  The Reds went quietly, losing 9-2.
FanGraph more indicative of what we thought 2016 Reds games would look like entering the season

Source: FanGraphs

Other Notes
  • Reds pitchers walked seven eight nine ten Cubs batters in this one, which may or may not have been why Twitter crashed around 10:50 PM ET.
  • Alfredo Simon was awful in this one.  I'd write more about that, but he's been awful enough off the diamond to where every word spent writing about him on the diamond feels wasted and misspent.
  • The Reds will tangle with the Cubs again tomorrow, with first pitch set for 8:05 PM ET.  Raisel Iglesias will hope to salvage a game of this series for the good guys, with Jason Hammel his opponent on the mound.
  • Tunes.