CHICAGO -- Anthony DeSclafani had allowed just two runs in his first three August starts. The Cubs scored as many off him in the first inning Thursday night.DeSclafani's recent stretch of dominance was halted in the Reds' 7-1 loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field as the right-hander struggled with
CHICAGO -- Anthony DeSclafani had allowed just two runs in his first three August starts. The Cubs scored as many off him in the first inning Thursday night.
DeSclafani's recent stretch of dominance was halted in the Reds' 7-1 loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field as the right-hander struggled with what's hurt him most this season -- home runs.
The Reds fell behind, 2-1, in the first inning when Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo smacked a two-run homer on the first pitch he saw. IN the third, DeSclafani hung a 3-2 slider to Javier Baez, which was demolished a projected 481 feet, according to Statcast™. The solo shot made it a 3-1 game.
"Just got to make a better pitch," DeSclafani said about Baez's moonshot. "I think if I make a better pitch, at least it stays in the ballpark. It doesn't leave the stadium."
DeSclafani hadn't allowed a home run in any of his three previous starts, and the two he served up Thursday negated what was otherwise a decent outing. He gave up five runs (four earned) on eight hits and struck out five over six-plus innings. The final run charged to DeSclafani came on Benjamin Zobrist's RBI single off Michael Lorenzen in the seventh.
"[DeSclafani] held them in check, somehow," interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "That's not the best we've seen Anthony throw, but he had given up three [earned] runs after six innings."
Before Thursday, DeSclanfani had completed at least seven innings in each of his last three starts, posting a 0.83 ERA in that span.
However, other than the home runs, not much was different from those starts to this performance. "Stuff-wise," DeSclafani said, "I felt pretty good."
Still, DeSclafani didn't echo Riggleman's sentiment.
"I just didn't make quality enough pitches today to keep us in the game," DeSclafani said. "I didn't make my pitches, and they won."
The Reds scored their only run in the first inning off Cole Hamels, who finished with the Cubs' first complete game this season. Billy Hamilton led off the game with a two-strike, bloop double to right field and scored on Phillip Ervin's infield single with two outs.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
DeSclafani was perhaps most ticked off at himself for the way the Cubs scored their fourth run. Baez lined a one-out double into the right-center-field gap and then stole third base on the next pitch. Catcher Curt Casali had specifically warned DeSclafani to keep Baez close at second. Two pitches after the steal, Rizzo drove Baez home with a sac fly.
"It's unacceptable, especially when you've got a catcher telling you to look for the guy on second, to keep him close, and then he steals third first pitch," DeSclafani said. "That can't happen. That's not good."
Of the 40 runs DeSclafani has allowed this season, 22 of them have come via home runs.
HE SAID IT
"It's the big leagues. It's supposed to be very challenging, and it is" -- Riggleman
Matt Harvey is scheduled to start for the Reds on Friday against the Cubs, despite reportedly being claimed off waivers on Wednesday. The Reds have until an hour before the game to trade Harvey or pull him off waivers. He is 1-1 with a 3.63 ERA in three August starts. Alec Mills will make his first career Major League start for the Cubs, with first pitch set for 2:20 p.m. ET at Wrigley Field.
Matthew Martell is a reporter for MLB.com.