A strong debut by Vladimir Gutierrez went to waste as the Chicago Cubs shutout the Cincinnati Reds 1-0 in the first game of their 3-game series on a windy day at Wrigley Field.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (22-27)
0 7 0
Chicago Cubs (28-22)
1 3 0
W: Alzolay (3-4) L: Gutierrez (0-1) SV: Kimbrel (12)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

The Offense

Cincinnati threatened early as Nick Castellanos singled and moved to third base on a Tyler Stephenson 2-out double in the top of the 1st, but both runners were stranded. The next inning a Max Schrock walk and Jonathan India single set up the Reds with two runners on and just one out, but Vladimir Gutierrez struck out and Jesse Winker flew out to center to leave the ducks on the pond.

In the 3rd inning the Reds caught some bad luck. After Tyler Stephenson walked Tucker Barnhart doubled into right field and Stephenson appeared to score, but the ball had bounced into the stands and thus Stephenson had to return to third base where he would be stranded after a fly out by Kyle Farmer to end the inning.

The Reds had another 2-out rally brewing in the 6th when Max Schrock doubled and Jonathan India walked to put two more runners on. David Bell sent Shogo Akiyama to the plate as a pinch hitter for Vladimir Gutierrez with the hopes of tying up the game, or potentially taking the lead. The Cubs responded by making a pitching change to bring in a lefty. Bell then countered by sending Eugenio Suárez to the plate in place of Akiyama, but like before the Reds failed to come up with the hit when they needed it as he struck out to end the inning.

Another opportunity showed up in the 7th when Nick Castellanos and Tyler Naquin had 1-out singles, but a grounder to second base led to a tag of Naquin and an easy toss to first base to end the inning on a double play as the number of stranded runners climbed to a number beyond the set of fingers on Antonio Alfonseca’s hands.

After a strong showing from Vladimir Gutierrez in his debut and a quality set of appearances by the bullpen, the Reds had one last chance to scratch at least a run on the board in the top of the 9th to tie the game up. Craig Kimbrel took the mound to face 8-9-1 in the Cincinnati lineup. Jonathan India grounded out, pinch-hitter Mark Payton struck out, and Jesse Winker – the last beacon of hope – hit a dribbler back to the mound to end the game.

The Pitching

You never quite know what you are going to get in a pitchers Major League debut, but on Friday afternoon the Reds certainly had to like what they received from Vladimir Gutierrez. He allowed just two hits in 5.0 innings against the Cubs. A David Bote solo home run in the 5th inning was the only run against him as he walked two and struck out three while throwing just 67 pitches. Unfortunately the Reds offense wasn’t doing much, either, as the wind was blowing in hard off of the lake, leading to Gutierrez being pinch hit for with the hopes the team could cash in on some base runners despite a low pitch count. They didn’t.

Heath Hembree came out to pitch the 6th inning and after allowing a leadoff single to Kris Bryant he got a strike-him-out-throw-him-out double play on Javier Báez to erase the runner. Another strikeout followed to keep the game at 1-0. He came back out to begin the 7th and struck out Willson Contreras before the game was handed over to Sean Doolittle in a lefty vs lefty match up with Rafael Ortega and it worked out well as Doolittle picked up a strikeout and followed up by inducing a pop up from David Bote to end the inning. The lefty returned to begin the 8th with the Cubs still holding onto a 1-0 lead and got two outs before walking Joc Pederson and being replaced by Brad Brach who came in to face Kris Bryant. Brach came out ahead on a looking third strike on the outside corner to give the offense one final chance to do something. They didn’t.

Notes Worth Noting

Joey Votto joined the Reds radio booth and began doing some play-by-play with Chris Welsh and Tommy Thrall. If you missed it, you really did miss it. It was fantastic.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds at Chicago Cubs

Saturday May 29th, 2:20pm ET

Luis Castillo (1-6, 7.71 ERA) vs Zach Davies (2-2, 4.96 ERA)

31 Responses

  1. Melvin

    Wish I would have caught Votto doing radio. Would have been the highlight of the day. 🙂

  2. Dennis Westrick

    Disappointing loss to the division leading Cubs! Encouraged by the pitching of Gutierrez nonetheless! Hope the offense is more productive tomorrow!

  3. Roger Garrett

    No homer and no score is pretty much who we are and until we can shake it we will struggle to put a win streak together.Never have been worried to much about the pitching cause we have got depth as was shown today down in the minors.Game is a 5 or 6 inning game for the most part and we just gave to find ways to score early in the game.Reds season for me will still be defined as can they score.Losing and giving up only 3 hits is tough.Don’t see how Guiterrez could have done any better.

      • RedsMonk65

        We need to start scoring some runs–like during the first week of the season!

    • RojoB

      A lot of the time what you say about the HR and the score is the case, but I’d like to point out that the ball of Tucker’s that bounced out of play would have otherwise scored Tyler. That’s a bad break.

      What I would have liked to have seen was Akiyama stay in to face the lefty. Five to eight he at least makes contact, unlike the outcome that actually transpired.

      • RedsMonk65

        I’d like to see more of Shogo as well. He seems to be underused.

  4. RedsMonk65

    To echo Doug’s observation: For those who missed it, if you have access to the archived audio feed of this game, listening to Joey Votto call the plays and interact with Tommy Thrall and Chris Welsh for nearly half the game is definitely worth your time despite the Reds’ loss.

    • RedsMonk65

      Not absolutely sure, but if you have mlb.tv subscription (I only have audio subscription), you should be able to listen to the archived feed.

      Again, it’s a treat, and Votto gets better as the game goes on….

      • TR

        Time goes on. Is this the beginning of the transition from first base to the broadcast booth?

  5. LDS

    Lose the next 2 and the season will be about over (by Memorial Day). Inexcusable performance against a less than outstanding pitcher, certainly no Scherzer or Strasburg.

  6. Old-school

    Disappointing loss but young pitching is a reason to be optimistic. The Reds were forever that franchise that could not draft and develop young starting pitching. Mahle is good. Antone is good. Gutierrez and Santillan look to be on the cusp and Greene and Lodolo might be better prospects than Cueto and Bailey were.
    Sonny Gray is a gem. Gray struggled with the Yankees and Bauer struggled in 2019 so hopefully Castillo is just in that rut.

    I did listen to Votto. He was insightful, articulate, funny, and very good. He would even queue Chris Welsh with questions after pitches. What did you see there Chris?

    • Klugo

      Hoffman shouldn’t make another start.

      • Optimist

        Not this year in MLB. But, also not ready to give up on him. Let’s see what he’s got in AAA.

      • Steven Ross

        I agree unless emergency start. “Pen” him for long relief now.

    • RedsMonk65

      Yes, the organization’s pitching outlook overall, compared with 10 years ago, say, looks much more promising!

  7. Hotto4Votto

    Encouraged by Vlad’s start. Gotta figure out how to drive in runs without the long ball.

  8. ClevelandRedsFan

    Vlad was fun to watch today. I was extremely impressed by his ability to thro strikes. Solo HRs will happen in MLB.

    It’s crazy to think Vlad is the reds 4th best minor league starter behind Greene, Lodolo, Santillan. Future rotation looks formidable. Gray, Mahle and Castillo are all free agents in 2024.


  9. Rednat

    i would argue we have had good enough pitching to compete most years since being at gabp. this year has been no exception. yet again, we find ourselves battling with the pirates for last place in the division. we have to start developing players that can hit AND field the position. (oh and wouldn’t it be nice if they can run the bases a little bit as well! I am not sure why this club has struggled with this the last couple of decades but we really have.

    also when you get players that can,hit, run and field you have to try your best to hold on to them. Jose Iglesias and Yasiel Puig were two recent examples.

    • jon vera

      trade those 3 in the next 2 years and bring up the young guns.

  10. Mark

    We need offense through the draft this year. Draft the best offensive player, college player, with best hitting tool and I would draft offense every pick in the first 5-6 rounds. We have enough pitching coming up for years we desperately need run production. Also, I’m tired of Farmer and Blandino time for Arod and Garcia to join the team.

    • TR

      Will ARod and Garcia provide the needed offense?

  11. Old-school

    Votto made some interesting comments in the booth yesterday:

    1) It’s getting late early and we cant wait for a hot streak at the end of the year like last year.
    2.) We’ve underachieved
    3.) Paraphrasing, sometimes you cant make excuses and have to find a way to make a play to win.

    Reds are falling behind the Cards and Cubs and have 6 games in the next 8 days against those 2. It’s indeed getting late early.

    • RojoB

      Wonder what the reason is for having underachieved…

      Underachieving implies the talent is there. Not all of the fans think that’s so, and blame the lack of talent more than the management of the talent that exists.

      But Joey Votto says they’ve underachieved…

      • RojoB

        That being said, there have been two players who have woefully underperformed so far in Suárez and Castillo

  12. Steven Ross

    2nd best thing I saw yesterday, besides Vlad’s start, was Winker dropping a bunt down the 3rd base line which just went foul. If it’s fair, he probably walks in for a double. Need to see more of that. An easy hit is there for the taking with the crass shift.

  13. Marty

    I’m personally in favor of digging Bob Howsam up out of his grave to run the team although I don’t think too many players these days would care for his ideas about spit and polish, being clean shaved, etc.
    The pitching does look promising, but as usual the Reds can find a way to lose a 3 hitter..