Twelve Left on Base – Cubs 5, Reds 6

Game Twenty-Nine – Cubs 5, Reds 6

WP – Mike Leake (2-1) LP – Carlos Villanueva (1-2) Save – J.J. Hoover (1)

The Cubs battled back in the ninth inning on Friday afternoon and scored three runs off Aroldis Chapman that cut the Reds lead to 6-5. Scott Hairston worked a bases loaded walk and Welington Castillo (1-for-4 with two RBI and a HBP) delivered a two-run single. After Chapman walked Cody Ransom to reload the bases, Dusty Baker was forced to lift his closer. J.J. Hoover cleaned up Chapman’s mess by striking out Darwin Barney swinging to end the game.

The Cubs never quit but once again they came up short with a late rally and lost a close game.

The Cubs inability to hit with runners in scoring position this season has gone from bad to worse. The Cubs dropped another one-run game to the Reds simply because they cannot hit or plate a run with runners in scoring position. The Cubs were 5-for-15 with RISP on Friday but only three of those hits drove in runs and not a single run scored from third on a sac fly, much less putting the ball in play to the right side of the infield. The Cubs left 12 men on base in what turned out to be a one run loss.

Anthony Rizzo (3-for-5 with a double and a run scored) had another big game, while Alfonso Soriano (2-for-5 with a double, a RBI and a run scored) drove in his third run of the year in the sixth inning. But Soriano failed to deliver twice with the bases loaded and less than two outs (six left on base for the day). Nate Schierholtz (2-for-4 with a RBI and a stolen base) drove in Soriano with a bloop single in the sixth. Luis Valbuena (3-for-4) reached base three times but did not score a single run. Darwin Barney (0-for-5) had a miserable game at the plate. Barney not only struck out swinging to end the game, but he grounded into two double plays and left eight runners on base.

Carlos Villanueva had a rough outing and for the first time this season he did not complete six innings of work. Villanueva had problems putting hitters away and recording the third out of an inning. Four of the Reds’ six runs came on two out hits. Villanueva settled down in the middle innings before the Reds knocked him out of the game with two outs in the sixth. Villanueva allowed four runs on seven hits with two walks and four strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. Villanueva threw 95 pitches, 59 for strikes.

Michael Bowden and Kameron Loe could not keep the Reds off the scoreboard in the seventh and eighth innings. Bowden really struggled with his command and gave up a run without a hit due to three walks and a HBP in the seventh. Kevin Gregg faced the minimum in the ninth.

With Friday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 11-18 on the season …

Carlos Villanueva struck out Shin-Soo Choo and Zack Cozart to start the game. Joey Votto lined Villanueva’s first pitch into right for a single. Todd Frazier followed and launched a double to center off the head of David DeJesus. Votto scored and just like that the Reds took a 1-0 lead. Villanueva struck out Jay Bruce swinging to end the inning.

The Reds got right back to work in the second after Mike Leake retired three of the four batters he faced in the first inning. Xavier Paul led off the second with a double down the right field line. After Mesoraco grounded out to third, Villanueva walked Cesar Izturis. Mike Leake lined out to right. Villanueva then surrendered a single to left to Choo that plated Paul with the Reds second run. Villanueva retired Cozart on a grounder to third to end the inning. Villanueva needed 37 pitches, 23 for strikes, to complete two innings of work.

The game remained 2-0 Reds until the sixth inning as Villanueva settled in and the Cubs offense went 0-for-4 with RISP and left four on base through the first five innings.

Joey Votto led off the sixth with a single to center on a 3-2 pitch. Frazier flied out to left on a 3-2 pitch. Jay Bruce then pulled a 1-2 pitch from Villanueva into the right field corner. Votto scored the Reds’ third run on Bruce’s double. Paul advanced Bruce to third with a groundout to Barney. Devin Mesoraco made it 4-0 Reds with a double to left on a 1-2 pitch. Villanueva walked Izturis and Dale Sveum decided that was enough and went to his pen for Michael Bowden. Bowden retired Leake on a pop up to shallow right to end the inning.

Anthony Rizzo doubled to left with one out in the sixth. The Cubs finally got on the board when Alfonso Soriano followed with a double down the third baseline. Rizzo scored, 4-1 Reds. Nate Schierholtz blooped a single into left. Soriano got a perfect read on the ball and scored. Castillo struck out. But Luis Valbuena singled to left … and knocked Mike Leake out of the game.

Dusty Baker replaced Leake with Sam LeCure. With the Cubs down by two and runners on first and third with two outs, Darwin Barney popped LeCure’s first pitch to Izturis at second base to end the inning.

The Reds tacked onto their lead in the seventh. Michael Bowden walked Choo to start the inning. Cozart fouled out to Rizzo. With Votto at the plate, Choo broke for second then stopped. Welington Castillo did not see him stop and threw on to second. The ball one-hopped Castro, ended up in center and Choo ended up at second. Bowden hit Votto with a 2-2 pitch and put runners on first and second with one out. Bowden could not find the strike zone. Frazier walked to load the bases. Jay Bruce hit a bullet back up the middle that Bowden did not field cleanly. Bowden knocked the ball down and got the out at first but Choo scored on the play … 5-2 Reds. Bowden intentionally walked Paul to load the bases. Mesoraco popped out to Castillo in foul ground to end the inning.

The Cubs loaded the bases in the seventh after a DeJesus single and a walk by Starlin Castro. Baker went to his pen for lefty Sean Marshall to replace LeCure. Anthony Rizzo stepped in and pulled a 0-2 pitch into right that loaded the bases with one out. Alfonso Soriano struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch for the second out and Schierholtz grounded out to second (0-1 pitch) to end the inning.

Kameron Loe started the eighth and recorded two quick outs before Choo doubled to left and scored on a single by Zack Cozart. After Votto walked, Frazier grounded out to third to end the inning.

The game went to the bottom of the ninth with the Cubs down 6-2.

Aroldis Chapman started the ninth and gave up a single to Dioner Navarro, who was pinch-hitting for Kevin Gregg. Dave Sappelt hit for DeJesus and singled to right. Starlin Castro loaded the bases with a single to right on a 2-2 pitch.

Anthony Rizzo stepped in with the bags juiced and no outs. Rizzo struck out swinging (1-2 pitch) and Alfonso Soriano popped out to right. Scott Hairston hit for Schierholtz and worked a walk that forced in Navarro with the Cubs’ third run.

Welington Castillo singled to center on a 0-1 pitch. Sappelt and Castro scored and cut the Reds lead to 6-5. Sveum emptied his bench and sent up Cody Ransom to hit for Valbuena. Ransom walked to reload the bases. Dusty Baker made the slow walk and replaced Chapman with J.J. Hoover.

Darwin Barney struck out swinging on a 1-2 pitch to end the game.

Jeff Samardzija faces lefty Tony Cingrani on Saturday afternoon.

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Quote of the Day

"The riches of the game are in the thrills, not in the money." – Ernie Banks

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  • Ray Ray

    Appel is pitching now on ESPNU. Got his nasty stuff working tonight! Just struck out side.

    • John_CC

      I don’t see the Cubs passing this kid up. All the rumors and talk are just that. He’s ready. He was ready last year. If they draft him it’s because they can get the deal done.

      On a side note, Soriano’s 3rd RBI of the year. Wow. It’s May, Fonzie, time to start doing what you do. May is Soriano’s best month over his career – more HR and RBI of any month of the year. Interestingly enough, it’s also the month that he has played the most games of any over his career. Last year he hit 7 HR and 17 RBI in May and 8 and 18 in June. Let’s hope he can do something close to that and the Cubs can find a suitor in July. We have to give him the benefit of doubt right now. It’s been a cold spring, but how long do they wait before reshuffling the OF? DeJesus, Borbon, Schierholtz left to right might be better. A clean-up hitter with 1 HR, 3 RBI and .690 OPS isn’t too intimidating.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Yes, a cleanup hitter with 1 HR, 3 RBI and .690 isn’t too intimidating.

        But of course, Soriano is more intimidating than DeJesus. He’s more intimidating than Bourbon. He’s more intimidating than Schierholtz. And he’s more intimidating that DeJesus, Bourbon and Schierholtz put together.

        Here’s the proof:
        2012 Soriano….32 HR…105 RBI

        2012 DeJesus….9 HR…50 RBI

        2012 Bourbon…..0 HR….0 RBI

        2012 Schierholtz…6 HR…21 RBI

        • Tony_Hall

          I would pitch to Soriano versus walking him to get to Schierholtz.

          Proof isn’t always in last years stats. Soriano struck out yesterday on a curveball from Marshall that was never in the strike zone and almost hit his feet. He is back to swinging at ridiculous pitches. He struck out early this week from a righty in which the slider started almost in the LH batters box and would have been behind the LH batter as it crossed the plate. He is just not seeing the ball very well. Hopefully he finds a lighter bat again, but until then he needs to move down in the order.

        • John_CC

          Of course I never suggested any of those three for cleanup spot. But since you mention it a lineup of dejesus, bourbon, Castro, rizzo, schierholtz would provide some protection for each hitter. Have checked the current stats or just last year’s?

      • Tony_Hall

        No chance they pass on Appel this year.

        I don’t see the Astros taking him and see them doing something similar to last year, looking for the 5th-10th best player and offering them more money then they can get in those slots to sign and save them money for later picks.

        Appel should be MLB ready very quick.

        • SuzyS

          Saw a tweet from another site that said Hoyer and 2 Cubs scouts were at Appel’s start last night….Astros had 4 scouts there.
          We have to expect that there will be some “smoke and mirrors” games going on as the draft approaches.
          Although the Astro’s are saying they are going to play it like last year…who really knows?
          In any case, Cubs should do well in this draft…AND…the draft may prove to be the most interesting highlight of the year.

          • Neil

            Suzy, I hope you saw the tweet from Keith Law here, we passed on the information as well.

        • paulcatanese

          I don’t know Tony, are you sure you can trust someone from
          Brainiac University?:)
          If the Cubs can get by the Agent it would be a great pickup.

  • SuzyS

    Here’s a question for all….If Boras/Appel don’t like the slot money offered at the top few picks…what leverage do they have? Where else could Appel play and make mlb money?

    • Tony_Hall

      He would get a pretty good contract in Japan. I think his main leverage is asking for major league contract, 40 man roster addition, September call-up, etc Things that can help speed up his clock to get him to FA faster.

      I have contended if I am the team that drafts him, I would tell him max contract for the slot without penalty, September call-up (40 man roster spot) and an extension will be offered as soon as is allowed (not sure when that is) to cover through his arbitration years.

      • paulcatanese

        That would be a pretty sweet deal if it can be done. It keeps Boras involved for Apple’s future for a while. Think it won’t be passed up, then again who knows with Boras, and Apple seems to follow Boras on every suggestion.
        Don’t think Apple would consider Japan at this point, but Boras may use it as leverage, and if he is as good as advertised he will get everything he wants, it will be a good deal for him and the Cubs.

  • overseacubsfan

    good morning. let’s get them out this time