Chicago Cubs look lost, listless in another brutal road loss

(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /
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Heading into the series, you had hoped the Chicago Cubs could carry their Wrigley Field magic with them on the road. But that has hardly been the case.

I mean, when you see a lineup card a few hours before the game with Albert Almora penciled in the leadoff spot, it’s hard to be optimistic. Unfortunately, that sense of foreboding played out without fail as the Chicago Cubs got absolutely shelled in a 10-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.

Almora went 0-for-5 with a pair of strikeouts, setting the tone for an offense that went 1-for-11 with men in scoring position. That came on the heels of Friday’s embarrassing 1-for-10 performance – giving the team a woeful .047 average since their series-opening victory.

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Before we get into Kyle Hendricks‘ start, we’ll keep talking offense. Tony Kemp, David Bote and Kyle Schwarber all tallied a pair of hits – with the latter’s solo shot in the ninth accounting for the entirety of the team’s offense on the night. But the top of the order was a very different story.

Almora and Nicholas Castellanos combined to go 0-for-10 with five strikeouts. After the Reds blew things open early, Joe Maddon pulled most of his regulars with a matinee finale on the books for Sunday.

"“I can’t give you a solid answer,” Maddon told MLB.com after the game when asked about his team’s disappointing play on the road. “They’re the same guys. We’ve been through this before. We’ve played well on the road. I don’t know. I don’t know. The other teams have gotten better.”"

Clearly, this team is inconsistent offensively. That much is abundantly clear. At this point, I’m not sure how you fix it – but it’s become a glaring issue. The bigger problem? Chicago’s pitching staff is also hitting some bumps in the road of late. And that’s putting it mildly.

Where to start when it comes to the pitching?

Prior to the game, the Cubs lost yet another reliever to injury, placing right-hander Steve Cishek on the IL with a hip issue. They added Dillon Maples from Triple-A Iowa, but the loss of the veteran leaves yet another hole in the bullpen.

Naturally, with the bullpen shorthanded, Kyle Hendricks turned in one of his worst starts in a Cubs uniform, allowing seven runs in just 2 2/3 innings of work. Maddon then turned to Maples, who allowed two more runs. Alec Mills finished things off as the team’s lone bright spot, holding the Reds to just one run over four frames.

"“It’s just what’s happening,” Hendricks said. “Obviously, we’re comfortable at home. I think that goes for the group, and myself included. I’m very comfortable at home. I’ve just had a couple blowups on the road that have inflated that, I think. I’ve had some good games on the road, too. I just need to be more consistent overall.”"

You have to tip your cap to Cincinnati rookie Aristides Aquino, who blasted three homers on Saturday, continuing his torrid start to his career. But you know what might also work? Not pitching to him after he’s taken you deep this many times.

Next. Cubs have been all over against Cincinnati this weekend. dark

What’s next?

Chicago will look to salvage a split of the four-game set on Sunday afternoon behind Jon Lester. The veteran southpaw is coming off a pair of clunkers, but if they’ve ever needed him to be the ‘stopper’ – this is it.

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