CHICAGO – The Cubs struggled on offense again and dropped the opener of a three-game series 3-1 to the Cincinnati Reds.
HOW IT HAPPENED: Cubs starter Justin Germano held tough against the first-place Reds until he walked the bases loaded in the sixth inning and was removed from the game. Reliever Manny Corpas then gave up a three-run double to Ryan Hanigan. After being held scoreless over 16 consecutive innings, Bryan LaHair broke the drought with a pinch-hit RBI double in the eighth inning.
WHAT IT MEANS: After exploding for 13 runs on 15 hits in a victory over the Pirates on Sunday, the Cubs have been handcuffed offensively. If Monday’s excuse was a late-night start, Tuesday’s could have been the after effects of playing until nearly 1:30 in the morning. But the Cubs obviously aren’t the same team that scored 26 runs in its previous three games against the Pirates before Monday.
OUTSIDE THE BOX: The Cubs' offense had been rolling long before returning to Wrigley Field on Friday. The Cubs were batting .278 with a .357 on-base percentage over the team’s last 10 games. The Cubs had also averaged 5.5 runs per game in those previous 10 games. Over the past two nights, though, they managed just six hits.
OFF BEAT: With Gold Glove challenger Brandon Phillips in town, the Cubs’ Darwin Barney should feel pride in his 133-consecutive-game errorless streak. But since he’s not known for his offense, his Cubs season-high 13-game hitting streak has to be a source of pride as well. Going back to Sept. 5 Barney has gone 51 consecutive plate appearances without striking out, the longest current run in the major leagues.
UP NEXT: The Cubs will send left-hander Chris Rusin (1-2, 5.06 ERA) to the mound Wednesday against Cincinnati in the middle game of the three-game series. The Reds will counter with right-hander Mike Leake (8-9, 4.69) in the 7:05 p.m. start from Wrigley Field.