How's this for a #WayBackWednesday?
Homer Bailey — the Cincinnati Reds' starting pitcher Wednesday night — has dealt with arm injuries the last few years, meaning the last time he faced the Cubs was July 10, 2014.
The only holdover from that lineup three years ago is Anthony Rizzo:
1. Chris Coghlan - LF
2. Arismendy Alcantara - 2B
3. Anthony Rizzo - 1B
4. Starlin Castro - SS
5. Luis Valbuena - 3B
6. Ryan Sweeney - CF
7. Nate Schierholtz - RF
8. John Baker - C
9. Kyle Hendricks - P
Yep, that was Mr. Hendricks' MLB debut. He gave up four runs in six innings before a bullpen combination of James Russell, Pedro Strop, Neil Ramirez, Hector Rondon and Blake Parker shut down the Reds to give the Cubs a 6-4 victory in 12 innings.
But that's not all.
That was the same day Anthony Rizzo tried to take on the entire Reds roster after Aroldis Chapman struck out Schierholtz with a 103 mph pitch close to his head:
Rizzo emerged as a leader that day, willing to take on an entire team to back his own roster and stick up for his guys. That was the year before the Cubs made the playoffs and to that point, Rizzo had only been a part of losing teams. But he put the Cubs on his back starting that fateful day in Cincinnati, the last time Bailey faced the Cubs.
Alcantara — who is now in the Reds system and was just outrighted to Double-A this week — had four hits and drove in three runs in that game while Valbuena drove in the winning runs with a two-out triple in the top of the 12th. The Cubs finished 73-89 in 2014 under Ricky Renteria, who got a World Series ring from the Cubs last month for all the work he did in 2014.
Since that day, the Cubs have ended their championship drought (obviously) thanks in part to Chapman and Rizzo has become the unquestioned face of the franchise and one of the top players in baseball.