If you enjoy home runs, Sunday was the game for you as the Cubs and Reds played Home Run Derby for 10 innings. Ironically, the game was won by the Reds 13-12 thanks to the fake Rob Manfred runner on second base.
Both teams brought their hitting shoes as 10 home runs were split between the teams, including two each by Kris Bryant and former Cub Nick Castellanos, who ended up being the hero in the 10th.
If you had an inkling neither starter figured in the decision in this one, you’d be spot on, as Trevor Williams and Tyler Mahle both gave up six runs. The Cubs jumped on Mahle early when Ian Happ and Bryant both ripped doubles on the first two pitches of the game to put the Cubs up 1-0. The Reds got that one back plus another in the bottom of the 1st before the Cubs knotted it at 2-2 in the 2nd as Williams helped his own cause by knocking in a still-red-hot Nico Hoerner.
The Cubs then added two more as the home run parade began when Bryant launched the first of his two home runs on the day in the 3rd, followed by an Anthony Rizzo blast that put the Cubs up 4-2. That lead didn’t last very long as Williams gave up bombs to Castellanos, Mike Moustakas, and slumping Eugenio Suàrez in the bottom of the 3rd to give the Reds a 6-4 advantage. The Cubs knotted it up at 6-6 with single runs in both the 5th (Bryant’s second home run to left) and then a Hoerner double in the 6th to score Matt Duffy.
This is where crooked numbers really started going up on the board as both teams put up multiple runs in the next four half innings. The Cubs got theirs on a Javier Báez two-run bomb to center in the 7th, a Jake Marisnick single in the 8th, and then a much needed and awaited three-run bomb from Ian Happ to knot things up at 12-12 in the 8th.
Surprisingly, neither team was able to do anything in the 9th, and despite having second and third with one out in the top of the 10th, the Cubs came away with nothing. The rest you already know as Castellanos ended things in the 10th after fake runner Winker started at second, jogged to third on a wild pitch from Craig Kimbrel, then scored on the soft liner to center from Big Stick Nick. (Box Score)
Why the Cubs Lost
They weren’t the last team standing in a high-scoring affair where all pitchers had a hard time keeping the ball in the park. Certainly can’t pin this one on the offense today.
Not re-signing Castellanos continues to haunt the Cubs as he has killed them, singling to center to win it after two bombs and a five-hit day was just the gut punch Cubs fans didn’t need.
Stats That Matter
- Four Cubs had multi-hit days and the offense found all kinds of holes and wide open spaces, both in the field of play and the stands as they pounded out 14 hits and 12 runs.
- As good as the offense was, the pitching was just as bad. Williams, Alec Mills, and Justin Steele all gave up at least three runs.
- Bryant is having himself a year, putting all doubts about his elite status to rest. He was 3-for-5 with two bombs and a double and is now currently slashing an MVP-esque .323/.405/.708 with nine home runs and 22 RBI.
- Hoerner continues to dazzle all over the field and at the plate, pumping out another multi-hit day with two hits and a robbed third ripped right at Castellanos in right.
Tough to be upset with the offense on a day like this, but the pitching has to be better all-around. Starters need to give the Cubs more and the offense needs to do this consistently. Baseball aside, here’s hoping that Happ is okay after a scary collision with Hoerner in the 8th where he had to be carted off.
Things aren’t going to get any easier for the Cubs, as they head home to face the Los Angeles Dodgers for a three game set where they’ll get Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, and Trevor Bauer. Yikes. Oh, and the Dodgers just beat up the Brewers 16-4 today after scuffling for the better part of two weeks.
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