The Chicago Cubs offense has been as unpredictable because the spring temperatures the previous few weeks, switching on and off with little discover.
They continued the pattern Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field, getting no-hit till the eighth inning of a 9-0 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.
Hunter Greene pitched six no-hit innings for the Reds and struck out 11 of the 20 batters he confronted, and the Cubs continued to look lifeless earlier than Christopher Morel’s leadoff single off reliever Eduardo Salazar within the eighth spoiled the mixed no-hit bid.
“If he doesn’t make too many mistakes, he’s going to be tough,” Cubs designated hitter Trey Mancini mentioned of Greene. “He’s got electric stuff and he showed it today. Got to tip your cap. Some days you get beat and beat pretty badly, and that’s what happened.”
It might’ve been worse. The Reds knocked out 19 hits — together with eight doubles — in opposition to Justin Steele and three relievers on a cold afternoon with the wind blowing in from left area. They stranded 12 runners.
With the Cubs falling 10-1 to the New York Mets on Thursday, they’ve been outscored 19-1 over the past two video games, negating any momentum from back-to-back wins over the Mets.
Greene, the hardest-throwing starter within the sport — his common fastball velocity of 98.9 mph led all pitchers with 100 or extra innings final yr — had been winless since beating the Cubs on Oct. 3 in his final begin of the 2022 season. He mixed with reliever Art Warren for a no-hitter as a rookie in opposition to the Pittsburgh Pirates, throwing 7⅓ innings on May 5, 2022, in a sport the Reds wound up dropping 1-0.
The Cubs didn’t come near fixing Greene, who struck out 10 of 13 batters from the second by means of the fifth. It was as uneventful a no-hit bid as one might think about, with no glowing defensive performs and little buzz from the gang of 31,946, a lot of whom appeared clueless concerning the no-hitter because it unfolded.
The Cubs didn’t even hit a ball to the outfield till the sixth, when Nico Hoerner and Dansby Swanson flied out to left. Reds supervisor David Bell lifted Greene after 110 pitches, despite the fact that Greene appeared like he might proceed dominating.
Salazar induced three ground-ball outs within the seventh to maintain the no-hit bid intact earlier than Morel stroked a single to heart to finish the suspense. The Cubs wound up with two hits whereas being shut out for the primary time this season.
Cubs supervisor David Ross mentioned he was OK with the general at-bats and didn’t take any solace in avoiding a no-hitter.
“You don’t want to get no-hit,” he mentioned. “But an ‘L’ is an ‘L.’ It doesn’t feel good.”
And the L’s have been piling up for the Cubs, who don’t have any timeline for the return of injured heart fielder Cody Bellinger.
Ross sat Seiya Suzuki on Friday to provide the hot-hitting proper fielder a break day, utilizing Morel in proper and Mancini at DH. Morel had a tricky time coping with the solar and the dearth of foul territory down the road, although he wasn’t charged with an error and contributed to a double play with a powerful throw to the plate within the sixth.
It didn’t matter. The Cubs trailed three batters into the sport on Spencer Steer’s RBI double and by no means appeared able to making it shut.
But a minimum of they didn’t make historical past. The Cubs have been no-hit solely seven instances in franchise historical past and solely as soon as since Sandy Koufax’s excellent sport in 1965. That was on July 25, 2015, when Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels no-hit the Cubs in a 5-0 win at Wrigley Field. Hamels threw 129 pitches, a complete few managers would let their starters attain within the present period, even with a no-hitter within the stability.
Steele (6-2) didn’t have a lot going for him in his second subpar outing in three begins. When pitching coach Tommy Hottovy strolled out to the mound 4 batters into Steele’s begin, it was an early omen it wouldn’t be the left-hander’s day.
Steele has been the Cubs’ most constant starter by means of the primary two months, permitting two or fewer earned runs in eight of 11 begins and compiling a 2.77 ERA. But the Reds knocked him out within the fourth en path to dealing the Cubs their second straight lopsided loss. Steele allowed 5 earned runs on 10 hits in 3⅔ innings.
“I’m very in the moment,” he mentioned. “It’s already in the past. Any outing, whether it’s good or bad, you have to take something from it, learn from it and continue to get better each outing.”
The Reds could be in rebuilding mode and a yr or so from contending, however they’ve outplayed the remainder of the National League Central over the past 5 weeks, going 15-14 since April 24. Believe it or not, that’s one of the best report within the division in that stretch, displaying the NL Central’s weak point.
The Cubs, in the meantime, have gone 10-21 since their 12-7 begin and are looking for consistency earlier than the 2023 season slips away. Jameson Taillon, who has struggled since signing with the Cubs in December, will get the beginning Saturday night time in hopes of turning his season round.
Somewhat help from the Cubs bats can be useful. Mancini mentioned the ups and downs of the offense can’t be attributed to something particularly.
In essence, he mentioned, it’s simply baseball.
“It’s going to happen so much over the course of a long season,” Mancini mentioned. “Today was one of those days that was unfortunately not in our favor. All you can do is wash it, come back (Saturday) evening and hope to have a game like we did the first couple games in the New York series.”