A Tip of the Recap – 6/27 (Cubs 11, Reds 8)
Cubs record: 49-26 (1st in NL Central)
W: Jake Arrieta (12-2, 2.10)
L: Dan Straily (4-5, 4.38)
MVP: Kris Bryant
The Cubs wasted little time getting on the scoreboard against in this one. After Ben Zobrist led off the game with a groundout, Jason Heyward singled and came around to score one batter later when Kris Bryant laced a double to left field. Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras walked to load the bases for Miguel Montero, who would eventually hit a sac fly to center, giving the Cubs a 2-0 advantage.
The lead wouldn’t last long, however, as the Reds tied things up in the bottom half of the inning thanks to a couple of walks that came around to score on a two-out double by Adam Duvall.
The Cubs regained the lead in the top of the 3rd when Bryant hit a solo home run to left-center, but once again, Cincinnati would respond in the bottom half, tying things up at 3-all on a Jay Bruce RBI single.
Chicago took the lead once again in the 4th thanks to a two-out run-scoring single by Heyward. Bryant followed that up with a two-run bomb into the upper deck in left field, giving the Cubs a 7-3 lead. Jake Arrieta added on with a solo home run in the 5th, his second of the season, and it appeared as if the Cubs were going to cruise to a victory.
The Reds were having none of that.
After a Joey Votto two-run shot made it an 8-5 game in the bottom of the 5th, Cincinnati tacked on single runs in the 6th and 7th innings to make it a one-run game.
Luckily for the Cubs, they still had Bryant.
With two outs in the 8th, Bryant crushed a solo shot to left-center field, his third home run of the game and 21st of the season, giving the Cubs a 9-7 lead. Not wanting to feel left out of the party, Rizzo crushed a pitch deep to right-center field, his 18th this season.
The Cubs offense tacked on another run in the top of the 9th to make it 11-7 before turning things over to the bullpen with a four-run cushion. Votto hit solo home run off the newly called-up Joel Peralta in the bottom half, but Hector Rondon eventually recorded the final out to seal the victory.
So, that Kris Bryant guy is pretty good, huh?
Final line: 5 for 5, 3 HR, 2 2B, 6 RBI, 4 R.
Bryant finished the night with 16 total bases, a Cubs franchise record.
It was also the first time in modern Major League history that a player has had a three-homer, two-double game.
With the easy accessibility of stats in baseball today, it is easy to find odd or unusual stat lines and point out that someone is the first player to put up that particular line. This was not one of those instances. Bryant had a truly incredible night. I don’t think I can undersell just how impressive it was.
Arrieta went just five innings against the Reds, allowing five runs on four hits and five walks while striking out four. It also marked the sixth time he has lasted just five innings this season after having just two such starts last season. In fact, Arrieta had only three starts in which he failed to make it through at least six innings in 2015.
As Cubs fans, we have no doubt been spoiled by Arrieta’s performance over the past calendar year. Actually, you should probably include his 2014 season as well. Regardless of where you choose to place your starting point, Arrieta has been nothing short of incredible for some time now, which makes his outings of late jarring to say the least.
The biggest concern is his sudden loss of command. In 156 2/3 innings in 2014, Arrieta walked a total of 43 batters. Last season, he was even better, allowing just 50 free passes in 229 innings. Through 103 innings this season, Arrieta has walked 41 batters.
Am I overreacting? Almost assuredly. After all, his peripherals across the board are still very good.
However, given that his eventual downfall in Baltimore was his inability to command his pitches, this lack of control (and the resultant high pitch counts) is a bit worrying.
The Cubs pitching staff walked a total of seven batters. Five came around to score.
The Cubs and Reds are back at it Tuesday night in game two of the series. Jon Lester (9-3, 2.10) will take the mound for Chicago, while Cincinnati will counter with left-hander John Lamb (1-4, 4.78). First pitch is a 6:10 p.m. CST.