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Rapid Reaction: Reds 8, Cubs 2

4/20/2014



CHICAGO -- Here's a quick look at the Chicago Cubs' 8-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday:

How it happened: Cincinnati scored multiple runs in three innings to take the weekend series. They put up three on Cubs starter Carlos Villanueva in the fourth inning as two-out doubles by Devin Mesoraco and Zack Cozart along with an RBI single by pitcher Homer Bailey got the job done. The Reds scored two more in the fifth on a Todd Frazier RBI double and Ryan Ludwick single. Villanueva was pulled after 4 2/3 innings as he gave up nine hits and five runs. Three more runs crossed the plate in the seventh as Jose Veras still couldn't find success. He gave up two walks and two home runs -- to Jay Bruce and Cozart. Bailey kept the Cubs in check, throwing six shutout innings, before Ryan Sweeney and Nate Schierholtz had RBI singles off the bullpen in the seventh.

What it means: Villanueva isn't long for the starting staff as Jake Arrieta is due back soon. He looked good for a couple of innings, but as his pitch count rises, his stuff starts to falter. His ERA is now 10.93, which is another indication he can't be starting games in the major leagues. He's still valuable out of the pen but not for more than a three-inning stint. Until the final days of spring, Chris Rusin was the better starter, but the Cubs chose Villanueva to replace Arrieta. It may have been as wrong a choice as having Veras close games. He can't even get anyone out in nonsave situations. His curveball looked all right, but he gave up two home runs on two sinkers in one inning of work.

Series loss: The Cubs still haven't won a series this month as the Reds took two of three over the weekend. The last time they went the whole month of April without winning a series was 1997 when they started 0-14.

What's next: The Cubs continue their homestand with a visit from the Arizona Diamondbacks starting Monday night. Travis Wood faces Bronson Arroyo.