6/12 Reds 2, Cubs 1
The Cubs have plenty of quality starts, but not enough quality at-bats. Brandon Phillips hit a game-tying RBI single and Todd Frazier belted a tie-breaking home run to lift the Reds to a 2-1 victory Wednesday over the Cubs, who can’t get their offense going.
The Reds now have won 12 straight at Wrigley, the longest consecutive streak by the same opponent in Cubs history. The Cubs, 7-21 against National League Central teams, are batting .210 against teams in their division, and .264 against everyone else. That won’t get it done.
“It’s getting frustrating because it’s the same game, almost,” Dale Sveum said. “We’ve obviously had a few of the games like [Tuesday, a 12-2 loss] but the starting pitcher pitches into the seventh inning and gives us quality starts and we’re not having quality at-bats on an every day basis. We’re not getting enough three, four, five quality at-bats from everybody on a daily basis.”
The focus has been on Starlin Castro’s offensive struggles but he’s not alone. Anthony Rizzo is 2-for-18 in his last six games and hasn’t homered since May 18.
“Rizzo hasn’t done anything in quite a while as well,” Sveum said. “Castro has probably had better at-bats than he has in the last month. We’ve got to get these guys going. They’re our better hitters and we’re not getting any solid contact or slugging percentage out of them at all.”
The Cubs are 2-8 this month, and began the day 16 games back in the Central.
“I think it’s going to test everyone’s character that we are far out of it,” Rizzo said. “We obviously aren’t playing very well right now. The pitchers are pitching their tails off and us hitters aren’t giving them anything to show for it. It’s going to be a grind.
“You’re just going to have to have fun,” Rizzo said. “When you look out there, it doesn’t seem like anyone is having fun. We need to pick each other up.”
Travis Wood did his part. The lefty limited the Reds to four hits over seven innings, and notched his 12th quality start out of 13 outings this season. His only non-quality start came on May 25 in Cincinnati, when Wood was charged with five runs in 5 2/3 innings. But he didn’t get any help.
“It’s a broken record,” Sveum said. “Woody just pitched another great game and has nothing to show for it.”
— Carrie Muskat