CINCINNATI — When it rains, it pours and that’s how most of the Cubs’ 10-game road trip has gone. The Cubs have little success going on an eight-game skid and falling out of first place in the NL Central and tumbling to third place in less than two weeks.
And on the final day of the road trip, the Cubs weren’t able to stop the bleeding as their skid continued with a deflating 3-2 loss to the Reds, who completed the three-game sweep.
Nothing has been able to get the Cubs out of what is now the worst losing streak in baseball. It’s like they’ve been playing in quicksand with no branch in sight to get them out of it.
“It’s almost like we have to play a perfect game to get a win right now,” starter Kyle Hendricks said. “Things just aren’t going our way.”
Everything that can go wrong has gone wrong for the Cubs during their recent stretch and not even their stopper on the mound could turn the tide. Hendricks did all he could against the Reds and on a hot and humid day in Cincinnati and gave the Cubs a chance to win, allowing just one run over six innings.
But of the Cubs’ losses during their skid, five of them have come by one run, making little things like walks turn into big things over the course of a game, becoming the difference between a win and a loss.
“You’re gonna have ups-and-downs,” Hendricks said. “This is obviously a big down for us, but all we can do is focus pitch-to-pitch. It’ll turn eventually.”
“We’re too talented to let this go too far,” manager David Ross said after the game.
The game slipped in the seventh inning as right-hander Dan Winkler came on to replace Hendricks. Winkler did not have his command on Sunday and after loading the bases, plunked Jonathan India to tie the game at 2. Jesse Winker’s RBI-fielder’s choice would give the Reds a 3-2 lead and was the game winner.
“We’ve played some tight games. We haven’t played bad baseball. Just not the best execution on the back end.”
While the offense “broke out” with 11 hits in the game, they were still unable to come up with more than two runs – something that has become a common theme.
“We couldn’t come up with a couple big hits here or there,” center fielder Jake Marisnick said. “It’s kind of felt like that over the last couple of weeks. It’s been a grind for us, but you’re not gonna see a lot of guys hanging their heads.”
The Cubs look like a team that could use the All-Star break to reset, but that’s not coming for another week as they will play seven straight games without an off-day entering the break. They finished the brutal road trip with a 1-9 record, dropping nine straight games after the team’s no-hitter against the Dodgers on June 24.
“It’s pretty crazy what this game will dish out in terms of wins, losses, slumps, highs, lows,” third baseman Kris Bryant said. “I think it’s important to realize, yeah this sucks right now, but keep your head up. As quick as it went south, it can go the other way again. You just gotta believe in that and keep going.”