Cubs throttle Reds in HR derby style game
David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
CINCINNATI – A Cubs offense led by several walks supported Jake Arrieta’s shaky start as they downed the Reds 12-8 on Saturday afternoon. Cubs hitters drew seven walks in the first three innings of the game which helped give opportunities to their sluggers. Willson Contreras was the biggest benefactor of these as he hit his first career grand slam in the third inning.
The middle part of the Cubs lineup did the most damage. Anthony Rizzo’s first at-bat was a three-run home run, Contreras had three hits driving in four and Jason Heyward homered and singled driving in two. Jake Arrieta added an RBI-triple in the fifth inning after Heyward walked to add an extra insurance run.
Arrieta started off rough in the first inning when he gave up four runs on home runs by Joey Votto and Eugenio Suarez. He settled in after the second inning, retiring 15 of the next 16 batters. Despite today’s rough outing, Arrieta still has impressive stuff and looks just as normal as last year when he can get into a healthy rhythm. An interesting statistic is that this game was the 72nd game in a row that Arrieta has pitched at least five innings.
Other interesting tidbits include the fact that the Cubs lineup leads the National League in runs scored per game at 5.5 while the Washington Nationals are in second place with 5.3. Kyle Schwarber has now reached nine times in his last sixteen leadoff appearances which puts him at second in all of baseball. Although he is not a prototypical leadoff hitter (.234 BA), his OBP is 146 points higher at .380. Heyward has now homered in consecutive games, his first time doing so as a Cub.
Sunday’s pitching matchup will be John Lackey (1-2, 4.00 ERA) against Bronson Arroyo (1-2, 8.40 ERA). Start time is scheduled for 1:10 PM EDT.