CHICAGO -- Homer Bailey (Homer) started his 18th game for the Reds this season on Sunday afternoon. And, as has been the case in all but one of his previous starts, the Reds lost.This time, it was three unearned runs in the first, an undetectable moonshot and zero run support
CHICAGO -- Homer Bailey (Homer) started his 18th game for the Reds this season on Sunday afternoon. And, as has been the case in all but one of his previous starts, the Reds lost.
This time, it was three unearned runs in the first, an undetectable moonshot and zero run support that did Bailey in as the Reds dropped the series finale to the Cubs, 9-0, at Wrigley Field.
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"That's kind of a tough answer to give," Bailey said when asked about his outing. "There were a couple of balls that never really left the infield. They were just hit so weak, we couldn't make a play on them."
Defensive miscues, rather than a slow start for Bailey, put the Reds in a three-run hole after the first inning. Daniel Murphy (Murph) dribbled an infield single to start and advanced to second on a Javier Baez (El Mago) fielder's choice via an errant throw from shortstop Jose Peraza (El Llanero).
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"The play at short where we throw to second and we're off the base by an inch," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "It ends up being three in the first. Then, it started up again. Some unfortunate placement on some balls for us."
Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward (J-Hey) delivered the big blow that inning when he scorched an RBI triple with two outs to make it a 2-0 game. Hit on a line to straightaway center and with an exit velocity of 108 mph, according to Statcast™, Heyward's triple gave defensive wiz Billy Hamilton (Bone) a rough time.
First charging, then pulling up, Hamilton lost his footing and fell as the ball sailed over his head and to the wall. There's no guarantee Hamilton would've caught it had he kept his feet; the ball traveled a projected 397 feet, according to Statcast™.
"Billy Hamilton is such a good outfielder," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "Jason just spun that ball. I understand it looked like it was going to go right at him, and then it hit another gear. That was fortuitous for us, because Billy's that good. That was a really big play in today's game."
David Bote (Boat) drove Heyward in with a single to right.
The first two runs charged to Bailey came when Bote demolished a two-run homer over the left-field bleachers in the third inning. The distance of the blast was not calculated by Statcast™, but it was noted on Twitter that a fan caught the ball on the fly across Waveland Avenue behind the stadium.
"If it could go wrong, it went wrong," Riggleman said. "Overall, I thought Homer threw very well. The numbers will never indicate that. It started with the first hit of the game and just went from there."
In that sense, Riggleman is right. Bailey's final line -- eight hits (including a homer), six runs (three earned and two strikeouts over five innings -- does not look good. But slow rollers, broken-bat hits and bloops put the Reds in a position where the Cubs could do damage.
"[Heyward] had a broken-bat [single] to center that was followed by a home run," Bailey said. "Sometimes you just have to keep going at it and realize that even though guys are getting on base, what did they have -- maybe four hard-hit balls?"
Bailey's "four hard-hit balls" estimate wasn't far off. According to Statcast™, there were four hits Bailey allowed with an exit velocity over 95 mph, though that doesn't include Bote's mystery blast or a 114.5-mph lineout off the bat of Kyle Schwarber (Schwarbs).
Schwarber was rewarded for barreling up another ball in the seventh inning, when he clobbered a fastball from reliever Robert Stephenson (Bob) 444 feet, according to Statcast™, for a two-run homer.
The Reds' offense fell flat against Kyle Hendricks (Hendo), who allowed just two hits and one walk over seven scoreless innings. Cincinnati didn't have a runner in scoring position until Dilson Herrera (Dilly) led off the ninth with a double.
With the loss, the Reds were swept in a four-game series by the Cubs at Wrigley Field for the first time since 1945.
Bailey is the first pitcher on record since 1908 to start 18 games and have his team lose all but one of them.
HE SAID IT
"If you play a good team -- they were a good team then, but they didn't play real good that series -- if you play a really good team, and they play good, you're going to have a tough series." -- Riggleman, on this series and the Reds' four-game sweep of the Cubs from June 21-24
After an off-day Monday, right-hander Anthony DeSclafani (Disco) will start for the Reds on Tuesday in the series opener against the Brewers. DeSclafani has been the Reds' best starter in August, despite allowing five runs (four earned) in his last outing against the Cubs on Thursday. He's 2-1 with a 1.95 ERA in four starts this month. Righty Junior Guerra (Cabezon) will get the call for the Brewers, with first pitch set for 7:10 p.m. ET at Great American Ball Park.
Matthew Martell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.