The Cincinnati Reds (43-48) beat the Chicago Cubs (50-44) by a score of 6-3, Monday night at Wrigley Field. A little bit of everything came together in this latest Reds victory over the Cubs.
The seventh inning was where the fortunes of Cincinnati, who had been treading water to that point, changed for the better. Curt Casali blasted a solo home run off the first pitch from Cubs reliever Steve Cishek (2-5, 2.83 ERA) to even the score at three. Jesse Winker then hit a pinch-hit single to left, followed by Nick Senzel reaching on an error by Javier Baez. One out later, Eugenio Suarez delivered a ball that David Bote booted and scored Winker to put the Reds ahead, for good.
Cincinnati received as much pitching as it needed, despite it not always being steady. Luis Castillo (9-3, 2.41) provided six innings of 10 strikeout baseball, but constantly worked around innings with runners on as the Cubs went in order just once, and that was the first frame. Castillo did allow seven hits, including a home run to Kyle Schwarber, and three walks. No mention was made of where Schwarber grew up, so that may have galvanized him to the game that he ultimately had.
The eighth inning saw the Reds do something they have done little of, in 2019, which is to play add-on late in the game. Phil Ervin got the party started with a lead-off single on this, the day of his birth. After a wild pitch and a productive groundout by Scooter Gennett, Ervin stood 90 feet away. A lazy infield fly, by Jose Iglesias, put the Reds up against it with two outs, but Kyle Farmer hit a pinch-hit double to plate Ervin. That pinch hit gives Farmer the fifth-most in the National League, with nine. Not to be outdone, Michael Lorenzen hit an RBI-single to give us the score we ended up with.
Speaking of Lorenzen, the bullpen duo of he and Raisel Iglesias (17th save) held the Cubs to two hits in the final three innings. Iglesias came in the bottom of the eighth with one out and runners on first and second to induce an inning-ending double play. He pitched a perfect 1.2 innings with a pair of strikeouts to close out the series-opening win over the current NL Central division leaders.
The Reds, once-again, pull within shouting distance of the second Wild Card spot (3.5 GB) and are now tied with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Tomorrow sees game two of the series with Anthony DeSclafani (5-4, 4.26) taking the mound to face Alec Mills and the Cubs. This will be Mills’ first time toeing the rubber, in 2019, after tossing 18 innings, in 2018.
Man oh man. Imagine if the Reds made the playoffs and played against these Cubbies!
Sign Puig 5 year/85 mil. What are you waiting for!
Ervin 8 for his last 11. Got to ride the hot dude on a team crying for offense.
Glad Winker was not seriously injured.
Would love to see Winker/Ervin/Puig across the outfield, Senzel at 2B, and Gennett traded or pinch hitting. Though 2019 is not over, got to be thinking about 2020.
Who knows with this team? I left when Castillo wild pitched a run in to go down 3-1 and figured the wheels would come off like they usually do in Wrigley. Instead Castillo really competed and held them down. The offense had a ton of contributors. P Iggy was throwing 99 in the 9th inning! One of the best wins of the year!
The NL wildcard is wide open! Milw, Col, & Philly are scuffling. Its there for them, but the division is probably too good! Bell blew both of those losses in Colorado imo. They blew 3, 4,and 5 run leads with Castillo on the mound and 8-0 with Sonny!
Those games most likely will cost them in the end, but you never know? Garrett’s coming back and Wood & Reed could really help! I keep pushing Lorenzen or Stephenson to replace Mahle, but Wood is the more likely candidate. Lorenzen needs to cut his walks down. He wouldn’t last long as a starter with 6-7 baserunners in 4 innings. Actually if Bell is sticking with a 13 man staff, they could use Stephenson or whoever as an opener for 1-2 innings or Wood if the opponent has more lefty hitters. Mix-n-matching once a week would be no big deal for Bell!
What if they traded Winker to Texas for reliever Jose LeClerc? It opens up a spot for Ervin and there is a great chance that he’s the better all around player then Winker. I like Jesse, but he should never hit below .280 imo! He’s got HR fever and rolling over too much.
LeClerc is 25 yrs old and 66 Ks in 43 ip. He had a rough April, but a 2.80 era otherwise. The last 2 years he gave up a combined 47 hits in 103 ip!! Now he’s not a big guy and throws 97-98 mph so they’d have to evalute his mechanics, etc., but we need to get younger/deeper in the pen and Texas has Choo, Pence, etc in the outfield. They’re about done. Something like this makes sense!
I’m definitely higher on Winker than about half the people around here, but I think if they trade him they better get more than just a reliever. Also, his value his probably as low as it’s ever been right now.
I don’t think they should give up on him yet, he’s always hit (134 and 128 wrc+ last 2 years) and he still young and cheap. I don’t want to get rid of players like that. Even this year he has .794 OPS and 103 wrc+, which isn’t terrible by any means.
I don’t think he roles over trying to hit Home Runs. Most of his home Runs are hit to left. I don’t even know if he has pulled one this year. He hits ground balls to the right side because he gets fooled on breaking balls. I too think that they should be able to get more for Winker than a relief pitcher. I like Winker, love the way he plays with boyish joy, but he is probably a first baseman or DH. He is not going to be paying first in Cincinnati and we don’t have the DH.
I’ve always liked Winker’s approach to hitting, but because of his difficulty hitting lefthanded pitching and weakness on defense, he’ll eventually be included in a trade.
You don’t trade your former number 1 prospect and a guy who had an OPS of 700 last year for a reliever
I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of moving Winker to 1st base. If FO is really willing to move forward they shall not expect an improvement in Votto’s offense, and actually it’ll continue to decrease. Having said so, they should figure out what to do with the remaining $107MM in Votto’s contract after this season. Hence, a line-up of Senzel CF, Winker 1B, Suarez 3B, Puig RF, Gennett 2B, Ervin LF, Iglesias SS and C would look marvelous. GO REDS!!!
Anyone know? Can Ervin play Center
I suppose in David Bell’s world anyone can play center. I like that about him. That would give the reds a chance to make a run at signing Puig or bring up Aquino/Van Meter if they can’t sign Puig. Senzel can then slide back to second with MAXIMUM Derek filling in.
If my memory serves me right Ervin also suffered a hand or wrist injury early on in his MILB career. Before the injury he was hitting the ball well then that sort of sucked all the power out of his bat, he was always a good OBP guy though and showed good plate discipline, he just had a hard time with the BA and the power.
As Jim notes, it is a good problem to have. But the bigger answer is that except for spelling Puig and Senzel and getting a few at bats against lefties for Winker, Ervin should not be in the starting lineup. He is certainly hot and has earned more chances to play, but barring injury, he is not the best option most days. And an important note: his BABIP is .550. Ervin’s highest full season BABIP has been .315; if the hits were only falling in at that clip, he would be hitting right about .200. Regression is coming. And Senzel is developing into a better center fielder than he, so a rather poor outfield defense gets even worse if you put him into center regularly. For 2020 – if Puig is gone, Ervin has earned a shot at starting in right field.