Reds third baseman Todd Frazier begins every game by knocking elbows with every teammate he can find in the dugout.
No one’s more eager than Frazier to play every day. He waits on the top dugout step and takes the field as soon as he can. He’s almost always the first one out of the dugout. Every day is a new day. You can see it in his eyes.
The final game of this series against the Cubs this afternoon will test even Frazier’s optimism. A Reds team that was peaking three days ago is slumping now.
The revenge of the Cubs, who walloped the Reds 9-1 on Tuesday, has not been pretty. By the time this game ended after almost four hours, so few fans remained, every fan with a strong enough voice could address the entire stadium. One guy took his frustration out on the winners.
“How’s last place feel Cubs fans?” he yelled.
Chicago hadn’t beaten the Reds twice in a row since Aug. 5-6, 2011, a span of 44 games. The Reds led the season series 13-3 when this series began.
As Reds manager Dusty Baker likes to say, “Water seeks its own level.” One way of interpreting that is the Cubs were due to beat the Reds.
Things got so bad for the Reds that Cubs pitcher Edwin Jackson, a .065 hitter, homered in the seventh to make it 9-0.
Jackson, who was 0-4 in his last six starts, did the job on the mound, too. The Reds didn’t score until the seventh when pinch hitter Corky Miller doubled in Zack Cozart. Later in the inning, fans were treated to Billy Hamilton’s first big-league at-bat. He lined out to short.
Meanwhile, the Cubs’ hitting barrage started in the second inning when Tony Cingrani gave up a two-run home run to Wellington Castillo.
Cingrani faced one more batter, but he was then pulled because of back spasms. Cingrani looked uncomfortable from the start.
Several times Cingrani appeared to stretch out the back. He never exhibited major signs of pain, but the Reds had to be wary of his status. This was his second start back since he went on the disabled list with a lower back strain on Aug. 25.
Greg Reynolds replaced Cingrani and gave up three earned runs in 1 2/3 innings. The rout was on.