Cubs Go on a Walkabout in Rout of Reds

Posted on 14 April 2016 by Bob

With the drama and theatrics of Opening Night behind them, the Chicago Cubs got down to business Wednesday night and ensured in the first inning that this game would not be close. In fact, it was pretty much over from the start as the Cubs sent eleven men to the plate and Cincinnati Reds starter; Alfredo Simon, threw 49 pitches but was still unable to record a third out. The Cubs scored five runs in the inning with a combination of walks, hits, extra-base hits, and a HBP. Everyone got in on the action with exception of Jason Heyward who recorded two K’s in the first but would come through later in the game.

“I’m a pitcher who throws a lot of strikes, but today my balls were away, and that was the trouble,” Simon said.

Trouble, indeed, as Reds pitchers issued ten walks total on the night. That brought the Cubs’ season total to a Major League-leading 48 walks en route to a 7 – 1 start and first place in the division. This plate discipline has been a welcome change from a team that led the league in strikeouts a year ago. It has forced opposing pitchers to pick their poison; either try to get guys to chase with stuff off the plate and run the risk of issuing free passes and driving your pitch count up, or throw strikes over the plate against a team loaded with contact and power hitters. Not a fun position to be in, which is exactly the point.

Chicago Cubs starter John Lackey delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, April 13, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

Chicago Cubs starter John Lackey delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, April 13, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

“This lineup’s deep,” Cubs starter John Lackey said. “Looking from the other side as a pitcher, it’s tough to get through without suffering a little bit of damage.”

Anytime you can knock a starter out of the game early, that’s a good sign for your offense. To be so relentless as to chase a starter before the first inning is over? That’s a sign you’re primed for a big night. The Cubs never looked back after that five run first inning, tacking on a pair of runs in third behind Jason Heyward’s two-out single and then another pair in the fourth courtesy of a Kris Bryant solo home run (his first of the season) to left and a Miggy Montero score off a wild pitch. The Reds showed little resistance from there on, scoring only one more run in the seventh inning on a Ivan De Jesus RBI-ground out. Your final score: Cubs 9, Reds 2.

KB Homer in April

Not only do the Cubs lead the Majors in walks but their run differential currently sits at +36, also good for tops in baseball and a testament to not only the Cubs explosive offense but the excellent pitching they have had thus far. John Lackey, backed by tremendous run support yet again, went 6 and 2/3 innings while allowing two runs on six hits while striking out seven and allowing three free passes.  He even drew a walk himself in the protracted first inning, furthering his own cause while demonstrating just how contagious the team’s plate approach is.

The Cubs are clicking on all cylinders right now, avoiding the slow starts of years past and exhibiting a patience at the plate that has been sorely lacking the last several years. Tonight, they go for the sweep as Jason Hammel is on the mound vs. the Reds Raisel Iglesias. Game time is 7:05PM CST.

Let’s Go Cubs!

 

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