In 2017, Major League Baseball wanted to get the fans, specifically the younger audience, into the game. One idea that they acted on was players’ weekend. A weekend where every player can choose the name on their jersey while wearing unique jerseys they will not wear again throughout the season.
Although the Reds played in a four-game series, only three of the games are considered players’ weekend. It has now come and gone and fans in Cincinnati cannot be more thankful that it is behind the team.
The first of a four-game set, also the only game that was not a part of players weekend, set the tone for the series. Anthony DeSclafani took the hill to face-off against the newest Cub in Cole Hamels.
Phillip Ervin opened the scoring early with an RBI single in the first inning. Ervin continues to bounce up and down from Louisville to Cincinnati but has been impressive in his latest stint in his attempt to prove himself as a true major leaguer. Unfortunately for the Reds, this would be the end of their offensive output.
The lead did not last long either, as DeSclafani surrendered two runs in the bottom half of the inning. Anthony Rizzo clubbed a two-run shot to center field to take the lead that would hold for the remainder of the game.
The Reds were never able to threaten the Cubs following Rizzo’s home run. Cole Hamels effectively shut down the Reds lineup, going the distance allowing eight hits along with two walks and seven strikeouts. The Reds only real threat came in the ninth after they already trailed six runs when Tucker Barnhart grounded into a game-ending double play with the bases loaded.
Game one of the series was sadly just a taste of what was to come during players weekend.
Players’ weekend was upon us, a weekend where every player dons whatever name they desire on their jersey. It was also the only game that brought any bit of excitement to fans of the visiting Reds.
Harv (Matt Harvey) got the call Friday afternoon, a game that most people assumed he would no longer be a Red for. Throwing five 1/3 innings while allowing just five hits and one run and striking out six, Harv did all he could to show why the Reds did not deal him after the Brewers claimed him off waivers over the weekend.
The Reds were on the board early, scoring in the second inning to take a 1-0 lead. Mase (Mason Williams) thought he cleared the yard until the umpires reviewed it, bringing it back for a double. Magic (Philip Ervin) did not wait long, driving Mase in with a run-scoring double in the following at-bat. The bats would fall silent after Magic’s double.
Four of the five hits allowed by Harv came in the sixth inning, leading to the Cubs tying run before Harv hit the showers. Robot (Jared Hughes), took the mound in the eighth inning, the inning when the Cubs would eventually take the lead off of a Daniel Murphy solo home run.
The lead did not last long, as Nicolle (Eugenio Suarez) collected the first hit for the Reds since the second inning to start off the ninth. Nicolle’s hit left the yard, giving the Reds a sign of life. However, that life was short lived.
After a perfect ninth from D Hern (David Hernandez), El Ciclon (Raisel Iglesias) tried to match him in extra innings. El Ciclon only lasted 1/3 of an inning before allowing a walk-off home run to the Cubs’ David Bote. The Reds dropped the first two games, hoping to bounce back over the weekend with La Piedra (Luis Castillo) on the bump.
La Piedra has had a month full of ups and downs. Coming off of a gem against the San Francisco Giants, he had hopes of repeating his near seven innings with just one earned run. That was not the case Saturday.
The Cubs tagged La Piedra for five runs in a mere 3 1/3 innings, allowing five hits and one walk, with just two strikeouts. The Reds showed a sign of hope in the fourth inning when Cas (Curt Casali) hit a sacrifice fly to score Nicolle, followed by La Piedra helping himself out with an RBI single to score Magic. The hope was dashed instantly when Kyle Schwarber hit a two-run home run to give the Cubs a three-run lead that they would never look back on.
The scoring did not stop for Chicago. Down 7-2, La Grasa (Wandy Peralta) walked two batters after striking out Wilson Conteras for the first out. The defense collapsed following the walks, with errors from Sheb (Scott Schebler) and El Llanero (Jose Peraza). The two errors proved costly leading to three runs for the Cubs.
The Reds were only able to muster up six runs total and would still have trailed the Cubs seven, but the momentum might have changed the way the Reds approached the later innings. The final four runs came in the eighth from a three-run shot from Cas, followed immediately by a solo shot from Tuck (Preston Tucker).
Jorge De La Rosa was tasked to close the game for Chicago after the Reds attempted to crawl back into the game. De La Rosa recorded the last five outs through the air for a perfect 1 2/3 innings to take game three from Cincinnati. The Reds had one last chance to salvage a win during players weekend Sunday afternoon.
The Reds were hoping to come back to Cincinnati with at least one win. Game four was over before it even started. With Homer (Homer Bailey) on the hill, the Reds dropped the finale 9-0. From the first inning, the Reds found themselves playing catch up. Homer allowed three hits in the first and was victim to an El Llanero error, his second in as many games to give the Cubs a three-run lead. Bote continued to be a Reds killer during players weekend, slugging a two-run shot extending the Cubs lead to five.
Homer was able to power through five innings, but not before allowing the Cubs to put six on the board. Zen Master (Michael Lorenzen) produced a scoreless inning in relief before Bob (Robert Stephenson) replaced him in the seventh. Bob has been fighting for a spot on the major league club, but Sunday’s outing did more harm than good for his chances at staying up. Bob allowed three hits and three runs, pushing the Cubs lead to nine.
Goggles (Cody Reed) relieved Bob in the eighth inning. Another player fighting for a roster spot, Goggles’ luck fared much better than Bob’s. Facing just four batters in the eighth, Goggles sent three of them back to the bench on strikes, allowing just one hit to Javier Baez. With no offense though, the Reds dropped game four for their fifth consecutive loss.
The Reds will have Monday off to try and figure out how to solve their recent skid. With one of the better records in the National League since their miserable start, it is tough to watch them play so poorly, especially against a division rival. The Reds play host to Milwaukee for the midweek series where they will look to play like the team they have been over the last few months. DeSclafani will hope to right the ship in Cincinnati when he takes the bump for game one facing off against Junior Guerra.
“From Our Haus to Yours”