What You Need To Know: For the second night in a row, the Cubs treated a Reds starter like a…. well, Reds starter. This time it was Scott Feldman (or if you prefer the Professor Frink pronunciation: Scott FELDMANHOOOYEGLEYBANWITHTHEBADBREAKINGSTUFFTHATGOESHOYVEN!) whom the Cubs treated like a whoopee cushion and put a touchdown on in just eight outs. They didn’t need the big flies like they got last night, preferring the Chinese water torture method of walks and singles. In fact, they only had one-extra base hit all night. Sometimes you par out with a seven-iron, folks.
Next Level: On a night where things could have gotten silly in a hurry, Kyle Hendricks continued his revival that’s probably gone on long enough to not be a revival anymore. After dodging a Coors-ing last start, Hendricks was able to keep the ball down and keep the Reds from riding that crescent wave of air of destruction blowing from the south. Half the outs he got were grounders. On a night like this that’s just about the only way forward.
Special mention should go to the Reds bullpen, who are the biggest reason this became a game. Austin Brice, Drew Storen, Wendy Peralta gave up one hit over 4.1 innings, and Raisel Iglesias was able to duck and weave out of three walks with three strikeouts. Holding the dam allowed the Reds to get to Mike Montgomery and make it competitive, the first time Monty has been touched up in a long while. Pedro Strop wasn’t able to put out the fire, as Eugenio Suarez was able to get to a not-that-bad slider with two strikes to drive in two.
-The main weapon for Hendricks was his change-up, getting 25 percent whiffs on the ones he threw. It’s been a touch varied from The Cerebral Assassin of late, which is certainly not a problem for anyone as he gets back to his best.
-Ben Zobrist returned to the lineup tonight after a few days off, and managed two hits including the only extra-base hit of the night for the Northside Nine. Certainly Zobrist can claim his old job back full time with Baez struggling as much as he has.
-The long awaited Schwarber Recovery Plan didn’t pause but didn’t pick up steam either, with only one hit but it drove in two. There was also one ugly-looking swing against Iglesias, though at least he was trying to go for the downs on his pull-side which pretty much everyone has pointed out he needs to, including this very handsome observer.
-I’m sure Maddon had a plan of having Montgomery get the old school save tonight, going the full three or at least taking a decent run at it. He almost certainly didn’t want to use Edwards and Davis in a game where the Cubs put up seven runs in the first three innings. But the best laid plans of man aft go agley….
Top WPA Play: Schwarber’s single in the bottom of the second that drove in Montero and Jay and gave the Cubs a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. So hey, that’s something to build on from last night (+.176).
Bottom WPA Play: The aforementioned Suarez double in the seventh, when Strop didn’t quite bury the slider with two strikes and scored two to make the game 7-5. (-.099)
Lead photo courtesy Matt Marton—USA Today Sports