Cubs offense starts hot, ends hot, but fall to Reds in series opener
It was a roller coaster ride on Friday night for the Cubs offense in its 6-5 loss in Cincinnati.
Anthony Rizzo hit a home run on the 2nd pitch of the game and two batters later, Kyle Schwarber added a home run of his own.
Then, for 7 innings, the offense went stagnant, mustering just a hit and a pair of Jason Heyward walks.
The offense awoke in the 9th off Tyler Stephenson. Willson Contreras hit a 2-run home run and Jason Heyward lined a solo shot. The Reds brought in closer Raisel Iglesias, who induced a pop out from David Bote and a grounder from Victor Caratini to stop the Cubs’ rally.
“Yeah, obviously got off to a good start here,” Schwarber said. “It gets a little frustrating just because we know that we do have the guys in here. Then you see us in the 9th inning there just with a huge push trying to keep battling, scratching, clawing to get this thing back to all square and possibly take the lead.
“These are all learning lessons for us as keep going throughout the season. I think, obviously with a 60-game season, there’s a sense of urgency, but you also want to be able to take it game by game and not look at the big picture and focus on one game at a time.”
The Cubs offense has scored 10 runs in the 9th inning in the first four games of the road trip but are just 1-3 in those games.
“[Try] to keep it close,” David Ross said. “You know the offense is in there. Guys continue to fight.”
The Cubs were stymied by Reds starter Tyler Mahle. After the two 1st inning home runs, Mahle recovered, striking out 11 in 6.2 and stumping the Cubs offense.
“I thought he pitched us well,” Ross said. “He did settle in after we jumped him early for two.”
The Reds hitters were able to find success on Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks, collecting 10 hits off him, scoring 5 runs. Eugenio Suárez clubbed a 2nd inning home run to open the scoring for the Reds and Jesse Winker added a solo shot in the 4th to tie the game.
“Physically, I felt fine, just disappointing,” Hendricks said. “Honestly, just not in a good spot right now. Just not making enough good pitches. I really just need to be better in general for my guys.
“Over the last few games, everything has felt pretty good, I’m just making some bad pitches. Same with today.”
Suárez had a big night offensively, going 3-for-3 with 3 RBIs, a walk and finishing a triple shy of the cycle.