The Cubs started a six-game road trip Tuesday night with a series against the Reds in Cincinnati. Thanks to a Brewers loss last night, the Cubs’ division lead stood at 2.5 games even before they started.
Tanner Roark looked to be rolling through the Cubs lineup until Daniel Descalso laid down a two-out bunt for a single in the 2nd. After an Albert Almora Jr. single, the Cubs took a 2-0 lead when Kyle Hendricks, renowned slugger, roped a double to center field for the first of his three hits on the night.
Joey Votto put the Reds on the board in the 4th inning with an absolute bomb to right field. The Cubs quickly responded in the bottom half of the inning, with Willson Contreras scoring Kris Bryant on a sacrifice fly.
The game had all the makings of a pitchers’ duel after Hendricks and Roark each got through the first inning with 11 pitches. This was true for Hendricks, as he went 8 innings with just three hits allowed, striking out seven with just one walk. That free pass came on his last batter of the game and was the first he’d issued in 26 innings. Hendricks is on an absolute tear in May and looks locked in to be NL Pitcher of the Month. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
The Professor did it all tonight. From pitching to weak contact and racking up strikeouts to driving in two runs, this game had Hendricks’ fingerprints all over it. He did have some nice defense behind him, as both Almora and Descalso had a couple gems in the bottom of the 5th.
There weren’t many extra-base hits from the offense, but there was timely hitting. The team went 2-for-6 with RISP and had 11 total hits.
Hendricks escaping a jam in the 5th inning was huge. With men on first and third, it looked as if the Reds were in striking distance. Descalso stepped up big by making a diving play to rob Tucker Barnhart and end the inning. Hendricks was unfazed after that inning, mowing down Reds hitters until he was pulled in the 9th.
Stats that Matter
- Jason Heyward went 0-for-4 in the leadoff spot. His batting average has now dropping to .250 on the season.
- Bryant continued his torrid May, going 3-for-5. His OPS is now up to .945 for the season and looks to have put the April slump behind him.
- Hendricks had a career-high three hits tonight!
- Hendricks has dropped his ERA from 5.33 to 2.86 over his last three starts.
This was an all-around team effort from the Cubs and very reminiscent of the 2016 season. There was timely offense, strong defense, and great pitching. Even though the offense wasn’t pounding big hits, they still delivered when it mattered.
The Cubs take on the Reds again Wednesday evening for the second of the three-game series. Yu Darvish will take the mound opposite of Sonny Gray, with first pitch scheduled for 5:40pm CT. The broadcast can be seen on WGN with 670 The Score on the radio call.