Tagged in: Cincinnati Reds

Brewers look to wrap up playoff berth vs. Reds

The Milwaukee Brewers aim to punch their ticket to the postseason for the second straight year on Wednesday when they play the second contest of a three-game series against the host Cincinnati Reds.

Milwaukee (87-70) posted its fifth straight win and 16th in 18 outings with a 4-2 victory over Cincinnati (73-84) on Tuesday. The Brewers moved five games ahead of the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets for the final wild-card spot in the National League.

A Milwaukee win on Wednesday or losses by Chicago (versus Pittsburgh) and New York (against Miami) would clinch a playoff berth for the Brewers, although manager Craig Counsell admitted he has an eye on the NL Central title as well. The Brewers reside 2 1/2 games behind the first-place St. Louis Cardinals, who fell 3-2 in a 19-inning marathon at Arizona on Tuesday.

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“I think we’re scoreboard-watching now, and we’re seeing what goes on in those other games,” Counsell said. “We’ll see what goes on in Pittsburgh and see what goes on in Arizona, too.”

Another stellar September has paved the way for Milwaukee, which rode a sizzling final month of the season in 2018 all the way to within one win of a World Series appearance.

“They’ve recognized what’s at stake,” Counsell said. “I think the common theme in both cases is we were chasing something, and that’s lent some urgency to everything we’ve done. And I think our players have responded really well to that sense of urgency.”

The Reds are dealing with a number of illnesses, with infielder Freddy Galvis, utility man Josh VanMeter and right-handers Michael Lorenzen, Robert Stephenson and Keury Mella under the weather. “I think mine was just like a cold,” Cincinnati manager David Bell said after he fell ill last month. “I don’t think I had it as bad as those guys.”

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Cincinnati Reds at Chicago Cubs

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(espn.go.com)- The Chicago Cubs lost 13-6 to the Cincinnati Reds on Monday. Here’s a quick look at the game. Justin Grimm gave up a pair of two-run home runs in the sixth inning, not long after the Cubs scored four in the bottom of the fifth to take a 5-3 lead. Addison Russell’s two-run double tied the game 3-3, then Kyle Schwarber and Kris Bryant hit infield singles to drive in two more. The Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the third inning when Dexter Fowler hit a ball into the basket in left field for his 15th home run. But the Reds tied it and then went ahead 3-1 in the fifth. Joe Maddon walked Joey Votto intentionally with men on first and second. This strategy backfired, as Brandon Phillips singled home two runs. It looked like the Cubs took command the next inning, but Eugenio Suarez andAdam Duvall took Grimm deep in the sixth, and the Reds never looked back. The winning hit was Duvall’s first home run of the season. The Cubs blew up in the ninth, as Starlin Castro made two errors and James Russell got hit hard, which allowed the Reds to score six runs. Addison Russell homered in the bottom of the inning to finish the scoring. 

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The Cubs played like they partied all night and took a red-eye home from Los Angeles. It got worse as the game progressed. You have to chalk it up to remnants of the previous 24 hours, as there isn’t a better explanation right now.

It’s easier to come down on starter Kyle Hendricks than on Grimm, considering the latter has been good more often than not. Hendricks is a different story. He looked OK for several innings Monday before starting to get hit hard. He simply needs to last longer; five innings is about his max these days. His ERA is 4.15 as we head into the final full month of the season. That’s not good enough in a National League pennant race. James Russell is becoming a question mark, though he didn’t give up any earned runs. Still, the hard hit balls count, and he has had several appearances with similar outcomes.

Maddon made a few decisions worth second-guessing. His walk of Votto with first and second base occupied was unorthodox, but Votto has been the best hitter in the league in the second half. More puzzling was a double steal attempt with two outs and the tying run on base in the eighth. Bryant was thrown out at second base, which ended the threat before Castro had a chance at the plate.

The Cubs will have some new faces come Tuesday, when rosters can expand to up to 40 players for the rest of the season. Expect Javier Baez to join the team along with newcomer Austin Jackson. David Ross is expected back from family medical leave, and the Cubs should call up some arms as well. CJ Edwards will probably be one of them, but he has been on paternity leave.

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