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Behind a relentless lineup, Cubs emphatically state their case to first-place Reds

12 months agoTony Andracki

Earlier this week, the Cubs declared to the baseball world that they are going for it this season.

And with the trade deadline in the rearview mirror, they drove that point home against the first-place Reds on back-to-back nights behind a relentless lineup.

First it was a 20-9 thrashing Tuesday evening at Wrigley Field.

Then it was a 16-6 drubbing Wednesday night that set some Cubs records in the process.

The Cubs are the first team in Major League Baseball history to have 5 homers and 10 extra-base hits in consecutive games:

It was the first time since at least 1901 that the Cubs scored 16 runs in back-to-back games.

The 36 runs between Tuesday and Wednesday marks the highest total for a Cubs offense in a 2-game span since June 29-30, 1897 when they scored 43 in back-to-back games.

The 12 homers between Tuesday and Wednesday is the most in a 2-game span in franchise history (since at least 1901).

After the Reds jumped out to an early 3-0 lead with a pair of homers off Drew Smyly, the Cubs offense took control of the game.

They scored in 6 straight frames from the 3rd inning on and did a bit of everything.

The Cubs showed off power (5 homers, 6 doubles), took advantage of mistakes (scoring 4 runs on 3 errors by Reds third baseman Nick Senzel) and saw production up-and-down the lineup (8 different players scored a run).

“I think the more impressive part is getting down early and fighting back,” Ian Happ said. “I think the consistent at-bats. It’s not just the homers. It’s guys going out there, getting on base, the singles that lead to getting pitchers deep in pitch counts and being able to take advantage. That part of it is the more impressive part.”

The big deadline acquisition — Jeimer Candelario — has fit in seamlessly, going 8-for-9 with a walk and 6 runs scored in his first two games back with the Cubs (that included a 4-for-4 performance and 4 runs in Wednesday’s game).

“Even in the 1st, we made the guy throw 24 pitches,” David Ross said. “We’re not going down 1-2-3. It’s hard to get everybody out. Nobody’s chasing. Nobody’s going outside of what they’re trying to do and sticking to their plan so they have to work. And then get to the underbelly of the bullpen and guys having to work and you just get to your rhythm and your zones where you’re trying to do damage and your approach and these guys are just staying within themselves.

“Balls are going all over the place. Really big walks, too. If you’re not gonna pitch to a guy or give him something to handle, the guys are willing to take their walk. That pass-the-baton type of mentality has really been impressive. And guys come up and get really big hits. … Just everybody’s contributing. Candy — jeez louise. My goodness. It’s been fun to watch.”

The Cubs offense has been so locked in, they’ve scored over 40 more runs than any other MLB team since the All-Star Break:

Things got so bleak for the Reds pitching staff that they had to trot out backup catcher Luke Maile on the mound in back-to-back nights. 

There has been a lot for the home crowd to cheer for the last two nights, but the energy and buzz around Wrigley Field this week has been different.

“Man, this place is special,” Ross said. “It got loud tonight. That was fun. These fans are phenomenal. … It was really noticeable tonight.”

The Cubs are now 3 games behind the Reds in the NL Central and the two teams will square off Thursday night for the series finale.

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