The Chicago Cubs offense has been as unpredictable as the spring temperatures the last few weeks, switching on and off with little notice.
They continued the trend Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field, getting no-hit until the eighth inning of a 9-0 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.
Hunter Greene pitched six no-hit innings for the Reds and struck out 11 of the 20 batters he faced, and the Cubs continued to look lifeless before Christopher Morel’s leadoff single off reliever Eduardo Salazar in the eighth spoiled the combined no-hit bid.
“If he doesn’t make too many mistakes, he’s going to be tough,” Cubs designated hitter Trey Mancini said of Greene. “He’s got electric stuff and he showed it today. Got to tip your cap. Some days you get beat and beat pretty badly, and that’s what happened.”
It could’ve been worse. The Reds knocked out 19 hits — including eight doubles — against Justin Steele and three relievers on a chilly afternoon with the wind blowing in from left field. They stranded 12 runners.
With the Cubs falling 10-1 to the New York Mets on Thursday, they’ve been outscored 19-1 over the last two games, negating any momentum from back-to-back wins over the Mets.
Greene, the hardest-throwing starter in the game — his average fastball velocity of 98.9 mph led all pitchers with 100 or more innings last year — had been winless since beating the Cubs on Oct. 3 in his last start of the 2022 season. He combined with reliever Art Warren for a no-hitter as a rookie against the Pittsburgh Pirates, throwing 7⅓ innings on May 5, 2022, in a game the Reds wound up losing 1-0.
The Cubs didn’t come close to solving Greene, who struck out 10 of 13 batters from the second through the fifth. It was as uneventful a no-hit bid as one could imagine, with no sparkling defensive plays and little buzz from the crowd of 31,946, many of whom seemed clueless about the no-hitter as it unfolded.
The Cubs didn’t even hit a ball to the outfield until the sixth, when Nico Hoerner and Dansby Swanson flied out to left. Reds manager David Bell lifted Greene after 110 pitches, even though Greene looked like he could continue dominating.
Salazar induced three ground-ball outs in the seventh to keep the no-hit bid intact before Morel stroked a single to center to end the suspense. The Cubs wound up with two hits while being shut out for the first time this season.
Cubs manager David Ross said he was OK with the overall at-bats and didn’t take any solace in avoiding a no-hitter.
“You don’t want to get no-hit,” he said. “But an ‘L’ is an ‘L.’ It doesn’t feel good.”
And the L’s have been piling up for the Cubs, who have no timeline for the return of injured center fielder Cody Bellinger.
Ross sat Seiya Suzuki on Friday to give the hot-hitting right fielder a day off, using Morel in right and Mancini at DH. Morel had a tough time dealing with …read more
Source:: The Denver Post – Sports