As fans brace for potential trades leading up to 3 p.m. Friday, the Cubs got a head start by dealing key reliever Ryan Tepera to the White Sox early in Thursday's game.
The Cubs will enter Friday's trade deadline on a three-game losing streak after dropping Thursday's series finale against the Reds, 7-4.
Here are 10 observations from the game.
1. It’s possible Wednesday could turn out to be the last time fans saw Anthony Rizzo and/or Kris Bryant in action with the Cubs. Both had Thursday off as trade rumors continue to swirl around their names. Although they were available off the bench, they did not play.
A "We want Rizzo" chant broke out in the ninth inning.
2. Joey Votto is a one-man wrecking crew set on crushing Cubs pitching. The longtime Cubs killer hit his sixth home run of this series — also the sixth straight game he’s gone deep — with a first-inning blast off Alec Mills.
3. David Bote robbed Votto of a hit with an impressive diving stop in shallow right field in the seventh, and Votto struck out in the ninth. Both came much to the delight of Cubs fans, who let out large cheers.
4. Mills pitched a season-high six innings but took the loss after a tough-luck final frame. Cincinnati scored twice on four softly hit singles, a rally also aided by a Wisdom error. Wisdom corralled a ground ball at first base, missed the bag with his foot, and dropped the ball before stepping on the base.
5. Mills allowed four runs (three earned) on nine hits. Since joining the rotation June 15, he’s given up three or fewer earned runs in all eight of his outings.
6. Bryzzo didn’t play, but Javy Báez returned to the starting lineup for the first time since Monday after sitting out with a bruised left heel. Báez went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles. He’s 23-for-71 (.324) this month with four home runs and 16 RBIs.
7. Ian Happ hit his first home run in over a month with a solo blast in the ninth inning. Happ's last home run came June 28 against the Brewers.
8. The Cubs traded Tepera, after shipping Andrew Chafin to the A’s on Monday. With the Reds up 4-3, Trevor Megill came on in relief in the seventh, typically Tepera’s inning in close games, and allowed three runs on three hits without getting an out.
9. Wisdom is keeping himself in the conversation for NL Rookie of the Year. He hit his 16th home run of the season, extending his NL lead and reaching a tie for third among all rookies.
10. Jake Jewell had a strong Cubs debut, striking out three in 1 1/3 scoreless innings. They called him up the 28-year-old from Triple-A pregame.
On deck: The Cubs and Nationals open a three-game series Friday in the nation’s capital. First pitch is 6:05 p.m. CT. Trevor Williams (4-2, 5.06 ERA) is the Cubs’ probable starter, and Washington’s is TBD.