Sunday, April 22, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Reds 4, Cubs 3
By Doug Padilla
CHICAGO -- The offense rallied to tie it in the middle innings Saturday, but the Chicago Cubs bullpen let it get away in a 4-3 defeat to the Cincinnati Reds.
How it happened: Making his first start of the season, Randy Wells worked his way in and out of trouble, managing to give up just two runs over five innings. The offense couldn’t build on its momentum from Saturday, though, and scored just twice, with one of the runs coming after an errant wild pickoff throw. Alfonso Soriano twice made outs with the bases loaded. Starlin Castro was hit in the elbow by a pitch but remained in the game after a visit from the medical staff and later hit a triple in the ninth inning.
What it means: Wells’ five innings means the bullpen worked another four innings on Sunday as it awaits some reinforcement. The fact that Scott Maine pitched 1 2/3 innings Sunday, two days after throwing an inning makes it likely that he is guy on his way back to Iowa as right-hander Michael Bowden gets ready to join the roster Monday. When it comes to innings pitched, though, the Cubs entered Sunday with 42 2/3 innings from its relievers, still in the bottom third among teams in all of baseball.
Outside the box: Manager Dale Sveum made a curious double-switch to start the sixth inning. Joe Mather remained in the game after batting for Wells. But instead of taking the spot of Soriano, who made the last out in the bottom of the fifth, Sveum had Mather replace Bryan LaHair at first base. Mather can play both positions. LaHair had just driven a run in the fifth with a single and improved his batting average to .361. Soriano, who is barely batting over .200, struck out with one out and the bases loaded in the seventh inning.
Off beat: Speed can be a menace on the baseball field and Tony Campana proved to be a particular issue for Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto. After an infield single in the first inning, Campana coaxed Cueto into a balk. In the third inning Cueto rushed on Campana’s sacrifice bunt back up the box, fumbled the ball and couldn’t get the throw to first base in time. Campana nearly reached base a third consecutive time when Cueto bobbled a comebacker, but his throw to first base was just in time. The call still drew an argument from Sveum with first-base umpire Jerry Meals.
Up next: Cubs right-hander Matt Garza (1-1, 3.66 ERA) will take the mound Monday in the opener of a three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals. St. Louis will counter with left-hander Jamie Garcia in the 7 p.m. start from Wrigley Field.