It was a crazy night at the old ballpark. The Reds bullpen, the worst in all of baseball, threw 8.1 no-hit innings against the first place Chicago Cubs. The Cubs had THREE different relief pitchers play in left field in the game. I’ll try to recap this wild one for you:

A long time ago, John Lamb started a baseball game for the Reds. Lamb finished off a terrific month of June by holding the Cubs to just two runs over six innings. Lamb gave up a leadoff home run to Ben Zobrist on an 0-2 pitch, but settled down and pitched a very good game. Following Lamb, Raisel Iglesias pitched two brilliant innings in relief, striking out four.

But as good as the Reds pitching was, the offense couldn’t get anything going through the first seven innings off Jon Lester. Billy Hamilton changed the Reds fortunes, as he was able to rip a solo home run down the leftfield line off Lester to get the Reds on the board.

Brandon Phillips was a hit by a pitch with one out in the ninth, and Jay Bruce followed with a single. After Duvall struck out, Eugenio Suarez ripped a single to leftfield. Reds third base coach Billy Hatcher decided to send the hobbled Phillips home, and it payed off. The throw was off line, and Phillips made a great slide to avoid the tag, and the Reds tied the game.

Phillips2

The game went into extra innings, and the Reds bullpen (with the glairing excpetion of J.J. Hoover) had without question their best performance of 2016. The Reds relievers combined to pitch 8.1 no-hit innings.

The Reds offense couldn’t get anything going, inning after inning. The Reds had a good chance in the bottom of the 13th, as they had runners on first and second with Votto up. Joey smashed a line drive, but it was caught by Ben Zobrist who doubled up De Jesus Jr. to end the threat.

Then J.J. Hoover happened in the top of the 15th. Hoover gave up a grand slam to Javier Baez to seal this one. The Cubs won a baseball game where they had three different relief pitchers play in left field. You will never see another baseball game like this one.

Final / 15 innings R H E
Cincinnati Reds (29-48) 2 8 1
Chicago Cubs (50-26) 7 9 1
W: Patton (1-0) L: Hoover (1-2)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score | Game Thread

Reds Cubs WPA

Biggest Play of the Game 

According to Fangraphs WPA statistic (winning percentage added), the most important play of the game was Eugenio Suarez 2-out RBI single in the 9th inning off Hector Rondon, tying the game at 2. That play increased the Reds chances of winning by 44.2% (from 16.9% to 61.1%).

Other important plays (+/- indicates how much each play increased/decreased the Reds chance of winning):

  • +12.5% – 9th inning – Bruce singles. Runners on 1st & 2nd, 1 out. Cubs lead 2-1.
  • +12.1% – 9th inning – Hamilton solo home run with 1 out. Cubs lead 2-1.
  • +11.3% – 10th inning – Smith gets Bryant to fly out to end the inning, stranding 2 runners. Game tied at 2.
  • +10.3% – 13th inning – Wood gets Coghlan to fly out to end the inning, stranding runner on 2B. Game tied at 2.
  • +9.7% – 9th inning – Phillips hit by pitch to leadoff the inning. Cubs lead 2-1.
  • -20.7% – 13th inning – Votto lines into inning ending double play. Game tied at 2.
  • -18.5% – 15th inning – Hoover allows single to Heyward, runners on 1st & 3rd with 1 out. Game tied at 2.
  • -17.8% – 15th inning – Hoover allows RBI single to Bryant. Runners on 1st & 2nd with 1 out. Cubs lead 3-2.
  • -16.3% – 9th inning – Duvall strikes out. 2 outs, runners on 1st & 2nd. Cubs lead 2-1.
  • -14.2% – 15th inning – Hoover allows grand slam to Baez. Cubs lead 7-2.
  • -11.1% – 9th inning – Hamilton pops out to end the inning, stranding 2 runners. Game tied at 2.
  • -9.9% – 1st inning – Lamb allows solo home run to Zobrist. Cubs lead 1-0.
  • -9.9% – 8th inning – Cozart pops out to end the inning, stranding Peraza on 2B. Cubs lead 2-1.
  • -9.6% – 5th inning – Lamb allows RBI single to Lester. Cubs lead 2-0.

Player of the Game

John Lamb

John Lamb: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 3.48 FIP

Lamb had a pretty darn good start tonight. He really locked in after allowing a home run to the first batter he faced. Lamb really did a great job mixing his pitches. The most encouraging thing is that it looks like Lamb has figured out how to strikeout hitters again. He now has 19 strikeouts over his last 3 starts (16.2 IP).

Lamb finished a terrific month of June with a 3.09 ERA in 6 starts (35.0 IP, 27 K, 13 BB).

Positives

Raisel Iglesias looked really, really, really good in relief. He struck out four straight batters, and pitched two scoreless innings. Iglesias has been pretty sharp through his first three appearances in the bullpen: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K.

Hamilton

Billy Hamilton for some reason owns Jon Lester. He hit another home run against him, and is now 6 for 10 with 2 home runs against him.

Josh Smith pitched 2.1 scoreless, no-hit innings. He got Cingrani out of a jam in the 10th, and then pitched a scoreless 11th, and a perfect 12th inning.

Blake Wood pitched two scoreless, no-hit innings. Wood didn’t even walk a batter.

Jose Peraza had a pinch hit on an infield single. He then stole second base easily. Have we mentioned just how fast this kid is? Wow.

Eugenio Suarez drove in the tying run in the 9th.

Negatives

Hoover after grand slam

Not so random thoughts………….

Cubs manager Joe Maddon double switched his reliever, Travis Wood into left field in the 13th inning. Then it seemed like he lost his marbles when Joel Peralta (the pitcher he double switched in) only faced one batter. It was looking like Maddon had lost his marbles when he started the 14th with Spencer Patton on the mound and Wood still in LF. Patton faced one batter, then Maddon put Wood into pitch, and sent Spencer Patton into LF. Wood faced one batter (Jay Bruce), then went back to LF! Patton finished the inning off. Travis Wood then pitched the entire 15th inning, while Maddon put Pedro Strop (another reliever) in LF. Just insane.

Ok, it is time for robot umps. Seriously?

Up Next:

Cubs at Reds
Wednesday, 12:30 PM
TV: MLB Network (select areas)
Cody Reed (6.75 ERA) vs Kyle Hendricks (2.76 ERA)

 

All statistics used courtesy of Fangraphs, ESPN Stats & Info, and Baseball-Reference (including Baseball-Reference Play Index). All photos used courtesy of the Cincinnati Enquirer and Kareem Elgazzar and are used by permission.