What You Need to Know: The Cubs finally snapped their five-game losing streak against the dreaded Reds, but it wasn’t easy. Trailing 5-0 and 7-2 at different points of the game (and as late as the seventh inning), the offense and bullpen picked up Tyler Chatwood, scoring one in the sixth, one in the seventh, and four in the eighth to come from behind a league-leading 27th time this season.
Next Level: Speaking of Chatwood… well, he was very bad. Again. He unloaded two wild pitches in the first inning that both plated Reds runners, immediately putting his team in the hole against a team who has been playing very well of late. He walked four and allowed nine hits while scraping through 5 2/3 innings, mostly because Joe Maddon was content to let his pariah starter wear it.
Chatwood threw 120 pitches, and that was probably by design. I would expect to see the righty placed on the DL with a phantom injury soon, resulting in a series of rehab starts when Yu Darvish returns. Duane Underwood would be the most likely replacement in the interim, but the Cubs might look for a more creative solution.
In short, running Chatwood our every fifth day to take a pounding while issuing a record number of walks is untenable, and I don’t expect the front office to continue to let Chatwood get his ass kicked. Some time in Iowa might help Chatwood regain his mechanical form and find some control, and he could compete for the fifth starter spot next spring with Mike Montgomery and Drew Smyly.
Top Play (WPA): With nobody out and the bases juiced in the pivotal eighth, Ben Zobrist proved once again that his 2017 season was a fluke, doubling home two runs and bringing the Cubs within one (+.328). Javier Báez, who is always at the middle of the Cubs’ comebacks these days, promptly singled on a hard grounder to pitcher Jared Hughes, who couldn’t field the ball and fell to the ground as the tying run scored. An Anthony Rizzo groundout would score Zobrist, the deciding run.
Bottom Play (WPA): With two outs and two on in the third, Chatwood managed to get ahead of Eugenio Suárez 0-2 before Suárez worked the count to full. Suárez then deposited a fat Chatwood pitch into the left-field bleachers, giving the Reds a five-run lead (-.187).
Up Next: Tomorrow’s rubber march features a much more fun pitching matchup than today’s Chatwood-Matt Harvey tilt. Jon Lester squares off against Luis Castillo, as the Cubs attempt to gain on the Brewers once again.
Lead photo courtesy Patrick Gorski—USA Today Sports