After an amazing comeback in Saturday afternoon’s game, the Chicago Cubs came into Sunday’s game looking to beat the Cincinnati Reds again.
Jon Lester has had an incredible year, no doubt about that. Many assumed that after last season he would slowly decline, but Lester in 2018 has done everything but–in fact, he’s gotten better. Lester has been Theo Epstein’s best free agent signing during his Cubs tenure, in my opinion.
Lester in 2018 has a record of 11-2, an ERA of 2.25, and a 1.15 WHIP. In Lester’s career facing the Reds’ he’s earned an ERA of 4.07, in 14 games started.
Lester started off the game pitch perfect: if you chose to blink you may have missed the first inning, as it took Lester only four pitches to sit down the first three Reds’ hitters.
Luis Castillo was on the mound for the Reds, rocking a 5-8 record and an ERA of 5.53. In Castillo’s last seven games it’s been a struggle for him, as he’s 1-4 with an ERA of 5.84.
The Cubs had something brewing in the bottom half of the second inning. Castillo led off the inning with a walk to Kyle Schwarber. Ian Happ singled to center field, advancing Schwarber to second. Ever since Addison Russell‘s name has been mentioned in trade talks, he’s truly flourished. He doubled to right field, deep enough to score both Schwarber and Happ, giving the Cubs a 2-0 lead. They’d trailed in the past nine games played.
Billy Hamilton, with two outs in the top of the third, double to left field. Next batter, Jose Peraza, singled to center, driving in Hamilton and making it a 2-1 game. A spot on throw from Almora threw Peraza out at second.
The Cubs’ lead would only last another inning as the Reds gained control in the bottom of the 4th. Joey Votto walked with one out. After the mound visit from Cubs’ pitching coach, Jim Hickey, Eugenio Suarez homered to left field, his 19th of the year.
Fortunately for the Cubs, they would tie the ball game up in the bottom half of the 4th. Kyle Schwarber led off the inning with a double off the left field Ivy, just missing a home run. Ian Happ singled to center, Schwarber advanced to third. With a ground ball to the shortstop, Russell picked up his third RBI of the day, and tied the game at 3.
On a weird play, Billy Hamilton scored all the way from first. Hamilton tried to steal second, Contreras threw to Russell, who couldn’t put a glove on it and watched it go into center. Hamilton headed to third and wasn’t stopping there. Almora threw to home to try and get Hamilton but Contreras couldn’t catch the throw, giving the Reds another lead: 4-3 on an unearned run.
There would be no more action until the bottom of the seventh. The Cubs have been labeled as the “comeback team” many times this season, and today they showed why. With two outs against Michael Lorenzen, Albert Almora Jr. singled to center. Jason Heyward followed with a single to right field and Almora advanced to third.
Javier Baez singled to center, easily scoring Almora Jr. The remarkable thing about this play is Heyward also scored, all the way from first base. Heyward hustled through the bags and saw the Reds players being nonchalant, so he decided to go for it. He was called safe and the Cubs were now back on top 5-4.
Jason Heyward has been remarkable this season, and he’s always been a smart player. This play showed it as Wrigley went absolutely nuts.
Morrow blowing the save situation was a tough one for Cubs fans to swallow, considering,’ manager Joe Maddon used most of the club’s bullpen today.
The Cubs’ were forced to win this game in extra innings. They had their chance in the bottom of the 9th, having bases loaded with one out, but could not cash in.
The Cubs would load the bases again in the 10th inning. David Bote drew the walk, and walked it off–final score of 6-5. This was the third time the Cubs have walked it off this season. In this homestand the Cubs were 7-1, and they trailed in every single game.
This game was fun and had fans on the edge of their seats throughout. Many fans have been saying that they’ve seen glimpses of the 2016 team in the current Cubs team, and I have to agree.
The Northsiders will head to San Francisco’s AT&T Park to start a three game series with the Giants. Kyle Hendricks will be on the mound for Chicago. It’s truly been a rough year for Hendricks, and he labels his struggles as a “mechanical rut”. He’s 5-8 with an ERA of 4.27. As for the Giants, they have Andrew Suárez on the mound. He’s rocking a 3-5 record, with an ERA of 3.92.
Follow Tianna on Twitter–Feature Photo Credit: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune