Cubs Can’t Finish What Wood Started – Cubs 2, Reds 4

Game One Hundred Twelve – Cubs 2, Reds 4
WP – Bronson Arroyo (8-7) LP – James Russell (5-1, BS 2) Save – Aroldis Chapman (27)

The Cubs took a 2-1 lead into the eighth inning after a tremendous outing from Travis Wood and a two-out, two-run single off the bat of David DeJesus. But James Russell could not put the Reds away. The Reds scored three runs on five hits (all on two-strike pitches) off James Russell and the offense could not do anything against Bronson Arroyo in the eighth or Aroldis Chapman in the ninth.

Travis Wood saved his best start in well over a month for his former team but walked away with a no decision after James Russell gave up the lead and the game in the eighth. Wood equaled a career-high with eight strikeouts (last time – September 14, 2010) and kept the Reds off-balance over seven strong innings. Wood pounded the strike zone (99 pitches, 69 for strikes) and allowed one run on five hits with a walk and eight strikeouts.

James Russell could not hold the lead in the eighth and 31 pitches later (22 strikes), the Reds took a 4-2 lead. Russell could not put the hitters away. Russell allowed three runs on five hits and all five hits came on two-strike pitches. Russell’s workload might be catching up to him. Russell has not been as sharp of late (10 runs on 20 hits in last 11 innings, 13 games) and it showed again on Saturday afternoon.

The Cubs offense could not put anything together against Bronson Arroyo. The Cubs allowed Arroyo to settle in and he retired 18 of the last 19 batters he faced. The Cubs managed only a Starlin Castro single in the sixth after David DeJesus’ two-out, two run single in the second inning. David DeJesus (1-for-4 with two RBI), Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4), Starlin Castro (1-for-4), Luis Valbuena (1-for-4 with a double and a run scored) and Steve Clevenger (1-for-3) recorded the Cubs’ five hits. Bryan LaHair (0-for-2 with a walk and a run scored) walked and scored the Cubs second run of the game.

The Cubs managed five hits and a walk and finished the game 2-for-4 with runners in scoring position and left four on base.

With Saturday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 24 games under .500 with a 44-68 record on the season …

Travis Wood made quick work of the Reds in the first … 1-2-3 on 11 pitches, seven for strikes.

David DeJesus worked the count against Arroyo in the first. DeJesus saw six of Arroyo’s 13 pitches but flied out to deep center for the first out. Darwin Barney grounded out to third ahead of an Anthony Rizzo single. Alfonso Soriano popped out to Stubbs for the third out.

The Reds aggressive offense allowed Travis Wood to record three outs on five pitches in the second inning. Four of the five batters Wood faced swung at the first pitch. Todd Frazier reached on a one-out single to center but that was all in the second … 16 pitches, 12 for strikes, for Wood after two.

Starlin Castro led off the second by flying out to Chris Heisey in right. Luis Valbuena drove a 2-2 pitch down the left field line. The ball landed just fair and bounced off the sidewall. Valbuena ended up at second with a one-out double. Bryan LaHair worked a walk and Steve Clevenger lined a 0-2 pitch into left. Ryan Ludwick was playing Clevenger in shallow left and Valbuena had to hold at third … and the bases were loaded for Travis Wood.

Travis Wood struck out swinging (1-2 pitch) for the second out. David DeJesus delivered a single to center on a 0-2 pitch that plated Valbuena and LaHair with the first runs of the game. Darwin Barney popped up Arroyo’s first pitch to Frazier at first to end the inning. After an efficient first inning, Arroyo needed 23 pitches to get through the second (36 for the game, 23 strikes).

Wood struck out two of the three batters he faced in third. Wood hit his spots and needed only 15 pitches (31, 21 strikes) to record three outs … and eight first pitch strikes to the first 10 batters he faced on Saturday afternoon.

The Cubs did nothing in the third.

Drew Stubbs struck out swinging for the first out in the fourth. Brandon Phillips pulled a 1-1 pitch into the left field corner. Phillips was thinking three out of the box but settled for a double. Wood got ahead of Ludwick (1-2 count) before plunking him with a 2-2 pitch. Todd Frazier stepped in with runners on first and second with one down.

The Cubs must change their approach with Todd Frazier. Frazier has lit up Cubs’ pitching (.333/.412/.733/1.145 with four doubles, a triple and two home runs in 12 games) over his short career. Frazier pulled a 1-0 into left center. Phillips scored, Ludwick advanced to third but Soriano was able to cut the ball off and hold Frazier to a long single.

Chris Heisey did not take the bat off his shoulder and looked at strike three (0-2 pitch) for the second out. With runners on first and third with two down, Wilson Valdez grounded out to Castro (1-2 pitch, 6-4 fielder’s choice) to end the inning. Wood threw 55 pitches, 38 for strikes, over the first four innings.

Bronson Arroyo started settling in and retired the side in order in the fourth … 60 pitches for Arroyo after four, 40 for strikes.

After four complete, the Cubs led 2-1.

Ryan Hanigan led off the fifth with a single to right (2-1 pitch). Arroyo bunted back to Wood and advanced Hanigan into scoring position with one out. Zack Cozart struck out swinging on three pitches and Stubbs looked at a 2-2 pitch to end the inning.

Travis Wood struck out seven batters over the first five innings … 70 pitches for Wood after five, 49 for strikes.

The Cubs did nothing in the fifth.

Travis Wood fell behind Brandon Phillips 3-1 to begin the sixth. Phillips ended up grounding out to Castro for the first out. Ryan Ludwick flied out to center (first pitch). Wood jumped ahead Frazier 0-2. Wood tried to go inside with the last three pitches of the at bat, could not and issued his first walk of the game. Chris Heisey flied out to center (0-1 pitch) for the third out. Wood threw 88 pitches, 60 for strikes, in six innings.

Arroyo retired Rizzo (flyout to deep right center) and Soriano (pop out to second) quickly to start the sixth. Starlin Castro ripped a 0-1 past a diving Cozart into left center … the Cubs’ fifth hit of the game. But Luis Valbuena flied out to left (1-2 pitch) for the third out. Arroyo needed only 80 pitches, 57 for strikes, to get through six innings.

After six, the Cubs led 2-1.

Wilson Valdez hit a soft liner to Castro for the first out in the seventh. Ryan Hanigan singled to center (0-1 pitch) but was thrown out at second when Bronson Arroyo bunted back to Travis Wood. Cozart struck out swinging (0-2 pitch) for the third out.

The bottom of the Cubs’ lineup did nothing in the seventh.

James Russell took over in the eighth and Joe Mather replaced Bryan LaHair in right. Russell jumped ahead of Drew Stubbs 1-2 but could not put the free-swinging Stubbs away. Stubbs worked a full count then pulled Russell’s next pitch into left. Stubbs made it to second easily with a leadoff double. Russell got ahead of Brandon Phillips 1-2 before the Reds’ second baseman poked a single into left. Stubbs held at third with no outs.

Ryan Ludwick stepped in with runners on first and third and looked at two straight out of the zone. Russell worked the count back to even before Ludwick ripped a double into left. Stubbs and Phillips scored and just like that the Reds took a 3-2 lead. Todd Frazier lined a 0-2 pitch into left center. Soriano made a nice running catch and threw to second to double off Ludwick. Russell jumped ahead of Chris Heisey 0-2. Heisey popped Russell’s next pitch into shallow right. The ball fell in between Barney and Mather and Heisey ended up at second with a double. Russell forgot about Heisey and he swiped third with two outs. Wilson Valdez blooped a 1-2 pitch into right. Heisey scored and the Reds took a 4-2 lead. Ryan Hanigan grounded out to second to end the long eighth inning.

The Cubs did nothing against Bronson Arroyo in the bottom of the eighth.

Alberto Cabrera pitched a scoreless ninth after surrendering a one-out infield single to Zack Cozart and a two-out bloop single to Brandon Phillips. Cabrera retired Ludwick on a pop out to center to end the inning.

The Cubs went to the ninth trailing 4-2.

Aroldis Chapman overpowered the Cubs in the ninth … 1-2-3 on 13 pitches with two strikeouts and Josh Vitters struck out swinging for the second day in a row against Chapman to end the game.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Brooks Raley is scheduled to face Johnny Cueto in the series finale on Sunday afternoon.

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