The Chicago Cubs got a decent, but not lengthy start from Yu Darvish. But the bullpen gave up the lead in the eighth as the Cubs lost to the Reds in 10 innings.
I know, always the optimist. The Chicago Cubs got a decent start from Yu Darvish as he went 5 1/3 innings allowing just two runs, striking out 11 and walking…zero? Wait, let me check that again. Yep. Zero walks. Unfortunately, for Darvish, the bullpen wasn’t as reliable as it’s been in recent weeks and allowed the Cincinnati Reds to rally late and eventually win in 10 innings, 6-5.
Darvish got back to his old ways–before the walks–and had Reds hitters off-balance at the plate. He struck out 11 but needed 102 pitches in 5 1/3 innings to accomplish it. Know this, Darvish isn’t, and can’t be Kyle Hendricks. He doesn’t pitch to contact. He’s looking to strike out every hitter. Last night, 11 of his 16 outs were accomplished in that fashion. The fact that he walked no one is where the improvement lies. Maybe he’s figured something out. Maybe he got lucky. We’ll find out in his next start.
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The Reds aren’t a bad offensive team. They’ve struggled early, losing mostly one and two-run games. This time, they came out on the right side of a one-run game, winning for just the seventh time in 20 games decided by a run. While Yasiel Puig was the walk-off hero in the tenth, it was Eugenio Suarez and Jose Iglesias that provided most of the offense for the Reds.
Suarez had an RBI double in the first inning, then hit the game-tying home run off recently recalled Carl Edwards Jr. in the eighth for his third RBI of the game. Iglesias doubled in Derek Dietrich in the fourth, then followed that with a solo home run in the seventh for his second RBI.
The Reds showing the ability to come back wasn’t the issue. They have that. The Cubs bullpen was a letdown, something we haven’t seen much in recent weeks.
After Mike Montgomery came in to clean up the rest of the sixth inning, things didn’t go well from there. Kyle Ryan, Brandon Kintzler, Edwards and Brad Brach all gave up runs in three of the last four innings to cost the Cubs the win. Ryan didn’t record an out and has been much less effective than he’s been in recent weeks. Kintzler gave up the solo home run to Iglesias, and of course Edwards the home run to Suarez.
This isn’t eternal damnation on the bullpen. They just didn’t have it tonight. The offense did their best to keep giving a cushion, but they were just unable to hold it.
The Chicago Cubs will play the series finale tonight at 5:40 pm CT. The Cubs will send Jose Quintana (4-2, 3.50) to face the Reds ace, Luis Castillo (4-1, 1.76). A win would tie the MLB record for consecutive series wins. The 2018 Diamondbacks, 2001 Seattle Mariners, and the 1907 Cubs currently share it at nine.