The Cubs offense, for how up and down it has been lately, has shown its tantalizing potential in back-to-back games this week, making late rallies that have come up just short.
A three-run ninth on Wednesday put the Cubs within one of the Tigers before ultimately losing 7-6. They matched that effort exactly on Friday, again coming up short after a three-run final inning in a 6-5 loss to the Reds.
Some quick takes from the game:
Something about Cincinnati
Kyle Hendricks has allowed more than three earned runs twice this season. Both have come in Cincinnati against the Reds.
Hendricks allowed five earned runs on 10 hits in six innings Friday, including two home runs. In the fifth, with the Cubs trailing 3-2, Hendricks got two quick outs before allowing three straight hits to stretch the deficit to 5-2.
"Over the last few games, everything has felt pretty good. I’m just making some bad pitches," Hendricks said. "Same with today. Some balls found holes on a couple good pitches, but just too many hits in general. Too many bad pitches, hard contact."
Entering Friday, Hendricks held a 6.57 ERA in nine starts at Great American Ballpark. Earlier this season, he was charged for six earned runs in 4 1/3 innings.
Three true outcomes
It took just two pitches for the Cubs to put their first run on the board.
After Ian Happ led off with a fly out on the first pitch, Anthony Rizzo sent the first pitch he saw over the right field wall. But the Cubs weren’t done there. Two batters later, Kyle Schwarber hit his own solo homer to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
The Cubs bats cooled off, going hitless until an Ian Happ single in the eighth inning. They added a single and homers from Willson Contreras and Jason Heyward in the ninth, but besides that walked twice and struck out 14 times.
"These guys, you know the offense is in there and we swung the bats pretty decent, I thought, in Detroit," David Ross said. "Hit some balls hard even if we didn't have a lot to show for it at times.
"You want results and that's the bottom line. We're not where we want to be totality wise but we've still got a long way to go and some things we can continue to improve on. I think that's the overall message, is keep working."
The Reds hit three homers of their own, off the bats of Eugenio Suarez, Jesse Winker and Freddy Galvis.
Don't mention it
Cubs shortstop Javier Báez, who entered Friday hitting .308 in his last seven games, went 0-for-4 on Friday with four strikeouts.
“Everything seemed to be trending in the right direction.” –David Ross on the rehabs of Kris Bryant and Steven Souza Jr.
The Cubs and Reds will play a doubleheader on Saturday, starting at 3:10 p.m. CT. Yu Darvish will start for the Cubs in Game 1, with Alec Mills taking the ball in the nightcap.