Cubs

Observations: Davies makes last showcase start in Cubs loss

Cubs

As trade watch continues on the North Side, the Cubs lost 8-2 to the Reds on Wednesday night, dropping to 50-53 this season.

Here are 10 observations from the game, with less than 48 hours to go until the trade deadline.

1. Trade candidate Zach Davies allowed four runs in six innings in his final start before Friday’s deadline. It snapped Davies’ six-start streak of allowing two or fewer earned runs. 

2. Whether this turns out to be Davies’ final start with the Cubs, it was his first time tossing six innings since June 24 — when the Cubs threw a combined no-hitter against the Dodgers. He's gone at least six innings in six of 22 starts this season.

3. Joey Votto has been a menace vs. Cubs pitching this series and wasted no time continuing his reign of terror, hitting a solo home run off Davies in the second. Votto added another home run in the ninth, giving him five in three games this week. He's gone deep in five straight games — tied for a Reds franchise record.

"Miserable," said Cubs manager David Ross of what it's like going up against Votto right now. "He's good. He's locked in.

"Right now, he's as locked in and hitting for power as I've seen him, and I've been watching him for a long time. He's in a pretty good place."

4. Kris Bryant is one of the top bats on the market, but he showed off his fielding with an impressive play in left field in the fifth. Bryant corralled Tyler Stephenson’s one-hopper off the wall barehanded, turned and threw a strike to retire Stephenson at second base.

 

5. Despite just one combined hit Wednesday, Bryant and Anthony Rizzo’s trade stock might have gone up based on supply and demand. Starling Marte (A’s) and Joey Gallo (Yankees) each were traded earlier in the day.

6. Nico Hoerner exited the game with right oblique tightness, according to Ross, after striking out in the seventh inning. The 24-year-old appeared in discomfort after a check swing, grabbing his side, and headed down the tunnel upon returning to the dugout.

7. At this point, the question might be which position Bryant can’t play. He took over for Hoerner at shortstop, his second career appearance there and first since May 31, 2016. It’s the sixth position he’s played this season, along with third and first base, and all three outfield spots.

"I've thought about moving him around the middle of the infield a couple of times, actually — when Nico was [on the injured list], especially," Ross said.

"With shifts right now, when he's at third, he moves over to short I would say at least half the time, with all the lefties that we shift. He's in that spot a lot."

8. Patrick Wisdom hit one of the stranger ground rule doubles you may ever see. His drive to right-center field in the first didn't carom high off the wall, but rather disappeared into the ivy. It robbed Wisdom, who went 2-for-4, of a sure RBI.

9. Craig Kimbrel is as big a name as any on the trade market, but as of Wednesday, he’s still with the Cubs. Kimbrel was seen walking out to the bullpen in the middle of the fifth.

10. Javy Báez was out of the starting lineup for the third straight game due to a bruised left heel. He was available to pinch hit but didn't make an appearance in the blowout.

On deck: First pitch Thursday is 1:20 p.m. as the Cubs go for the series split. Alec Mills (4-3, 4.55 ERA) and Luis Castillo (4-10, 4.20 ERA) are the probable starters.

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