June 13, 2013 – Reds @ Cubs – 2:20pm – Reds Gameday – Fox Sports Cincinnati
Reds Record (40 – 26)
Away Record (18 – 15)
Cubs Record (25 – 38)
Home Record (14– 21)
Starters: Latos (6 – 0) vs. Samardzjia (3 – 7)
The Setting: I am watching at work again. The Cubs love them some day games at Wrigley. I’ll finish up at home, just like yesterday.
The Game and Analysis:
•Ugh. The good news is that I got to watch a lot of this baseball game. The bad news is the Reds blew the lead and whimpered through seven plus innings with barely doing anything as they lost to the Cubs 6 – 5 in 14 innings. The game lasted over five hours, and I got to watch more than three hours of it.
•The Reds got three hits in their last eight innings, though there were a couple of other base runners along the way; like, literally a couple. Their biggest opportunity came in the top of the fourteenth inning, as Zack Cozart reached base on an error by Starlin Castro to lead off the inning. Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips then both struck out before Jay Bruce singled to put runners at first and third. Bruce stole second, and I was thinking Derrick Robinson was going to come through with a hit to give the Reds the lead. Alas, he struck out swinging to end the threat.
•The Cubs won the game in the bottom of the inning with a pinch-hit single by Julio Borbon. Starling Castro singled to lead off the inning and stole second base. He went to third on a groundout that gave the Reds two outs in the inning. After an intentional walk, Borbon got his walk off hit that made it past the third baseman.
•Starter Mat Latos got into some trouble early in the game. He threw 23 pitches to the first three batters, getting a strikeout; giving up a single and stolen base to Castro; and walking a batter while also throwing a wild pitch that allowed Castro to go to third. Alfonso Soriano then hit a weak pop up just passed second base that fell in between Cozart and Phillips. Either of them could have made the catch easily, and it appeared the ball was lost in the sun and the two might have had some miscommunication. It was 1 – 0 Cubs before Latos retired the final two batters of the inning. He threw 31 pitches in the first inning, which would later prove to be important as the game went on for as long as it did.
•The Reds got busy with the bats in the second inning as Bruce singled to lead off the inning and went to second on a Todd Frazier single. Xavier Paul followed with a hard shot toward first, but Anthony Rizzo was in the right place and caught the ball and easily doubled off Frazier at first base. Devin Mesoraco singled in Bruce to tie the game at 1 – 1, and then Latos got a single through the right side to put runners on the corners. Shin-Soo Choo singled in Mesoraco to give the Reds the 2 – 1 lead, and then Cozart flew out to end the inning. There were some hard hit balls in that inning, and the hardest was by Paul on the unassisted double play. Had Rizzo not been where he was, that could have been a much bigger inning.
•The Cubs tied the game in the fourth on a Wellington Castillo RBI single. In the fifth inning, the Reds took the lead right back. Choo led off with a walk, and went to second on a Cozart single. Votto singled him home to make the score 3 – 2, and Phillips followed with a single up the middle to score Cozart for a 4 – 3 lead. There were still no outs at that point. Bruce struck out and Frazier walked to load the bases with one out. Paul struck out looking, and then Mesoraco ended the inning with a force out. That could have been a bigger inning as well, but two runs in an inning is always a welcome sight.
•The Cubs and Reds continued to trade runs back and forth, as David DeJesus hit a solo homer in fifth (4 – 3); a run scored for the Reds as Votto hit into a fielder’s choice in the sixth (5 – 3); and then Luis Valbuena knocked in a run with a groundout in the Cubs’ half of the sixth (5 – 4). Both teams were getting men on base and getting runs across, but the big hit was a Nate Schierholtz triple that was very close to being a home run. Valbuena’s RBI groundout came in the next at bat.
•Latos ended up pitching 6.0 innings on 98 pitches, giving up four runs on eight hits and a walk. He did not throw a lot of pitches per inning after the rough start in the first, but batters were getting on and the Cubs were finding ways to get them across the plate. Had Latos been able to escape the first inning on less pitches, he might have gone another inning, saving an extra inning for the bullpen that was much needed as it turned out.
•Without having the foresight of knowing that every reliever would be needed, the Reds used Alfredo Simon for two outs in the seventh, then brought Manny Parra in for the final out of the inning. This would also factor into the bullpen situation later.
•Sam LeCure came on to pitch the eighth inning, and his recent struggles continued. He gave up a leadoff single to Soriano, who was thrown out at second trying for a double. Schierholtz walked next, and then Valbuena hit a single to put runners on first and second with one out. LeCure got Welington Castillo to fly out to center for the second out. Darwin Barney then hit a clutch two-out single to tie the score and eventually send the game to extra innings.
•Of note in the extra frames, rookie Curtis Partch pitched four innings, and did a pretty good job in doing so. The Reds bullpen was shallow at this point, and the announcers had questioned if Jonathan Broxton was unavailable due to some sort of injury or ailment. Broxton did not pitch in his usual slot of the eighth inning, and every other reliever except for Chapman had thrown already. It was looking like a starter or position player might have to come in soon, though the bench was looking quite empty as well.
•Broxton did come in to pitch the fateful 14th inning, and was tagged with the loss. We would find out after the game that the Reds were trying to not use Broxton due to an inflamed elbow, but he had approached manager Dusty Baker and told him he could throw an inning if needed. He did not look to be off or anything out of the ordinary, but you have to wonder if he should not have been used.
What Worked: The Reds battled back and forth for the first half of the game. Curtis Partch came up huge in relief, as he was close to the only option at that point. Bruce had a nice day at the plate, going 4 – 7 in the losing effort.
What Didn’t Work: Both teams played sloppy defense at times, and it was a bit of an ugly game. The Reds’ bats went dead for the second half of the game, and they missed several opportunities to score more and more and runs early in the game when they were hitting well. For the Cubs, Starlin Castro had a couple of errors and seemed disinterested in the field at times. The announcers were dogging his play big time.
Where They Stand: The Reds are 40 -27 and trail the Cardinals by 3.5 games in the NL Central. They remain 0.5 game ahead of the Pirates.
Overall Thoughts: My wife kept groaning about the length of the game, and I was actually right there with her in that thought. At several points, I found myself thinking, “Oh well. If the Cubs win it here, it will save our bullpen and we still took three out of four in the series.” That was actually my final thought, though I can’t help but feel we gave this one away. Every game counts.
Up Next: The Brewers come to town for a weekend series, starting tomorrow night.