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Yu Darvish shuts down Cincinnati Reds in 3-0 Chicago Cubs win

A thorough thumping all around.

Chicago Cubs v Cincinnati Reds - Game One Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

‘Twas a rather quiet afternoon for the Cincinnati Reds, as Chicago Cubs starter Yu Darvish did his best to completely quiet the newly-awakened Reds offense of the last few days.

Joey Votto returned to the lineup, and he doubled and singled.

Mike Moustakas had a pair of singles, and later added a walk.

On the pitching side, Trevor Bauer wasn’t as his best - more on that below - but was cromulent enough had the offense chipped in. Jose De Leon even backed him with a perfect 1.2 IP of relief.

Unfortunately, it just wasn’t good enough.

Key Plays

  • Walks, as they are wont to do, will haunt. Such was the case in the Top of the 2nd, as a leadoff walk to Kyle Schwarber - who is from Middletown - came back to bite Trevor Bauer. Scwarbs motored to 3B on a single up the middle by Willson Contreras, and that put him in a perfect position to score on Jason Heyward’s productive groundout to the right side. Reds trailed, 1-0.
  • Bauer was having a tougher-than-usual time putting hitters away today, and that was on display in the Top of the 3rd in battle against Anthony Rizzo, one the Reds hurler eventually lost on the 9th pitch when Rizzo smashed a solo dong out to RF. Reds trailed, 2-0.
  • Rizzo, again. This time it was the Top of the 6th off Bauer, a 422 foot potato way the hell out to CF. Reds trailed, 3-0, and that’s how this 7 inning game would finish.

Tony Graphanino

Source: FanGraphs

Other Notes

  • Trevor Bauer was far from awful on the day, but it seemed that from the very first PA of the game he was fighting his stuff a bit. He was missing spots more than usual, and he and catcher Tucker Barnhart took awhile early to get on the same page. Still, he battled through 5.1 IP of 3 ER ball, scattering 4 hits and a pair of walks in the process. He struck out 5, but the 112 pitches he threw tells you just how grind-y this outing was.
  • Shogo Akiyama managed to reach base three times against Darvish in their first matchup in the states, though it wasn’t all rosy. He reached twice via error - one a catcher’s interference, one an error on Darvish on a swinging bunt - but did smack a single later on. Unfortunately, he was immediately retired on one of the more odd double plays I’ve seen, as he and Mark Payton - who was at the plate - both thought Payton’s dribbler up the 1B line was a foul ball. It was not.
  • Like watching Reds baseball on Saturdays? Well, you’re in luck! The back-half of today’s doubleheader will begin shortly after most of you first read this. Alec Mills will toe the rubber for the Cubs, while Tejay Antone will get another start for the Reds.
  • Tunes.