Just one day after being completely outplayed, the Chicago Cubs answered back with a 9-0 shutout over the Cincinnati Reds at the Great American Ballpark.
The Cubs sent pitcher Jason Hammel to the mound to square off against Reds right hander Alfredo Simon. Hammel lasted six innings striking out seven, giving up three hits and two walks. The win for Hammel makes him 3-0 on the year with a 0.75 ERA; the 0.75 is the fourth lowest in all of Major League Baseball.
Throughout the seven games between the Reds this season, Chicago’s offense has been clicking. Five out of the seven games have been complete blowouts for the Cubs, the latest coming here in the series finale. The Cubs have outscored the Reds so far in the season series by 40 runs; using a 60-20 advantage.
Rizzo's bat stays hot
Anthony Rizzo was in charge for most of the Cubs scoring in Sundays 9-0 rout of the Reds. The all-star first baseman belted a two run shot to right center field in the first inning, and added another two run shot to straight away center in the third inning; both off of Reds starter Alfredo Simon. Rizzo’s second home run of the game came on the first pitch. Rizzo has now gone 6-9 with five home runs on the first pitch this season. Only four left-handed hitters have more home runs than Rizzo in Cubs history: Billy Williams (392), Bill Nicholson (205), Mark Grace (148) and Leon Durham (138).
Heyward starting to come alive
Newly signed Cub, Jason Heyward, started Chicago’s road trip hitting .205 as he went 0-9 in the first two games against St. Louis. However, he closed out the four game series with the Reds on Sunday going 4-4 (7th time in his career) while driving in three. The stellar performance on Sunday brought the Cubs right fielder to a .260 batting average.
Pitching woes continue for Simon
Cincinnati’s starter Alfredo Simon struggled yet again against the Chicago Cubs, allowing eight earned runs and nine hits over his 2 2/3 inning pitched. Last time out against the Cubs, the 34 year old native of the Dominican Republic, had a 49 pitch first inning where he allowed 5 runs as the Reds lost 9-2.
Lineup changes prove to be successful for Chicago
Cub’s manager Joe Maddon decided to rest up centerfielder Dexter Fowler and second baseman Ben Zobrist for Sunday’s game, giving playing time to infielder Tommy La Stella and outfielder Matt Szczur. Before the game Maddon talked to reporters about the decision of sitting the red hot Dexter Fowler, saying, “Dexter’s doing so great early on this season that I don’t want to run him into the ground by constantly playing him, therefore I gave him the day off.” La Stella made the most of his start by leading off the sixth inning with a solo shot which extended the Chicago lead to 9-0.
The Cubs will get the day off on Monday as they prepare for a six game home stand starting Tuesday night against the Milwaukee Brewers. Kyle Hendricks will get the start on Tuesday as he looks to rebound from his loss to the Cardinals his last time out. Cubs - Brewers, Tuesday night in Chicago at 7:05 CT.