Like all season, Cubs follow strong offensive performance with loss to Reds Tuesday

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 15: Kris Bryant #17 of the Chicago Cubs is called out at first base as Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds gloves the ball in the 6th inning at Wrigley Field on August 15, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

CHICAGO – In two days, the story of an entire season can be told.

On Monday, the Cubs looked like the world-beaters they were a year ago in pounding out 17 hits and 15 runs in an entertaining ten-run win over the Reds for the gallery at Wrigley Field.

The next night it was the opposite.

While Cubs pitching was more than up to the task, the offense wasn’t in stranding ten runners on base over nine innings. They failed to score until the final frame but even then left the tying run at third in a 2-1 defeat to the last-place Reds that keeps a year-long roller coaster going.

Off again, on again, then again and again. It’s been the theme of a Cubs team that’s not bad but rather frustrating, teasing fans to think they’re ready to break out one night and then raise concerns the next. Fortunately, a loss by the Cardinals to the Red Sox on the road keeps their lead in the division to a game-and-a-half, but still it was another frustrating night for Cubs fans.

Wasted was a strong effort by Kyle Hendricks who was a bit high with the walks again (4) but had six strikeouts and shutout the Reds in his time in the game. Carl Edwards Jr, who is beginning to find his form, got Hendricks out of a mess in the seventh by stranding a pair of runners that got to the bases with nobody out.

But the Cubs left runners on third in the final three innings, which Cincinnati made them pay for with a run in each the eighth along with the ninth with runs off Pedro Strop and Justin Wilson, respectively.

Finally the Cubs scratched across a run in the ninth when back-to-back singles by Kyle Schwarber and Jason Heyward were followed by another by Ben Zobrist. It plated a run while leaving Heyward at third, but that’s where he would stay as Raisel Inglesias fanned Jon Jay and pinch hitter Alex Avila to finish off the game.

A day after scoring 15 runs, the Cubs couldn’t even get two. It’s a great win followed by a forgettable loss yet the standings still don’t look that bad. Forty-eight hours tell the story of a team that can be inspiring and baffling at the same time.