CHICAGO – Their inconsistency in 2019 is no secret, and a perfect example is their record against one of the teams well out of playoff consideration.
The Cincinnati Reds, who’ve been out of legitimate postseason contention since August, have played some of their best baseball against the Cubs. Entering this week’s series at Wrigley Field, the final one between the two NL Central foes, the Reds had won three series against Joe Maddon’s team out of the five they’d played.
Surely that would change with the Cubs having so much to play for in the penultimate week of the 2019 regular season? Not so much.
Despite taking the first game of the season, the hosts weren’t able to get another from Cincinnati over the next two days. Wednesday saw the Cubs rally twice to tie the game, only to watch the game slip away in extra innings in a 3-2 loss to the Reds that continued the trend for the 2019 season.
Cincinnati finished the season with an 11-8 record against the Cubs, defeating them in 4-of-6 series with the teams splitting a four-game set in August at Great American Ballpark. This defeat to the Reds, however, could end up being the most costly, as the Cubs lost ground in the NL Central race to the Cardinals, who beat the Nationals earlier in the day.
The defeat puts them three games behind St. Louis with ten games to play in the division race while keeping them tied with the Brewers for the second and final Wild Card spot.
In the end, it was Jose Iglesias’ 10th inning RBI double that dealt one more blow to the Cubs on a night where there was ground to be gained in the playoffs. Victor Caratini doubled to left with an out in the bottom half of the inning but nothing came of it, sending the Cubs to their 11th and final defeat to the Reds this season.
This is the first season since 2014 that the Cubs have had a losing record against the Reds, experiencing a healthy amount of success against their division rivals. But the Reds did narrow the gap between the teams to just three games (11-8) in 2018, which had an impact on the Cubs, who ended up falling short of a division title.
Now Cincinnati has done more damage to a potential playoff run for the Cubs, especially as their opponent fights for their playoff life into the final week of the season.