Trade news quiet, so is Cubs offense in loss to Reds
Kris Bryant's last appearance at Wrigley Field in a Cubs uniform might have been playing shortstop.
That happened in the eighth and ninth innings of Wednesday's 8-2 loss to Cincinnati. Nico Hoerner filled in for the injured Javy Baez, then appeared to hurt himself on a swing in the seventh. After the game, manager David Ross called it right-oblique tightness.
Since the Cubs sent Sergio Alcantara to Iowa and released Eric Sogard, there weren't many options left. David Bote would have been the other choice, assuming Ross didn't want to use Baez.
Bryant, who had 1 assist at short in this game, did play shortstop once before in his Cubs career, for one inning in 2016. There is one more game at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon before the MLB trade deadline arrives Friday at 3 p.m. Central.
After the game, Ross confirmed he didn't make the move to shortstop to increase Bryant's trade value.
"I've thought about moving him around the middle of the infield a couple times when Nico was out, especially," he said. "With shifts right now, when he's at third, he moves over to short, I would say at least half the time with all the lefties that we shift. So he's in that spot a lot. Just going to try to make do, and I thought he did a pretty good job."
There was plenty of trade action around MLB on Wednesday, with Milwaukee landing Arizona infielder Eduardo Escobar, the Yankees getting Texas slugger Joey Gallo and Oakland added infielder Starling Marte from Miami.
The Reds used two pitchers against the Cubs, Luis Cessa and Justin Wilson, they acquired from the Yankees on Tuesday. But Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Craig Kimbrel, Zach Davies and everyone else stayed put.
One theory is the Cubs are trying to package players to land at least one high-level prospect, and maybe play teams like the Giants and Dodgers off each other. Trade for Bryant, Kimbrel and Davies or else we could send all three to your top rival, the Cubs might be saying.
Reliever Ryan Tepera to the White Sox was another rumor making the rounds Wednesday. Since the Cubs never led in this game, there was no reason to get Tepera or Kimbrel warming up.
Rizzo to the Red Sox remains a popular rumor, since Boston is getting its worst offensive production from first base. A potential deal for Washington pitcher Max Scherzer could be distracting some of the top teams among the buyers.
If team president Jed Hoyer doesn't get what he's looking for, would the Cubs stand pat with the guys they have left? That seems unlikely with all the trade smoke swirling, but sometimes surprises are the norm on deadline day.
"I think change is inevitable in our game at some point," Cubs manager David Ross said before the game. "This group has been together and done a lot of great things here. The fact that we've had such a core group that's been together for so long and changed the expectations around here; at some point, that changes for every organization. Whether it's good or bad, I guess that remains to be seen, right?"
After coasting through the first inning, Davies needed 104 pitches to get through six. He allowed 4 runs and 7 hits.
Joey Votto tied a Reds record by homering in his fifth straight game. He got the Reds on the board with an opposite-field shot in the second inning, then added another homer in the ninth off Cory Abbott -- Votto's second day in a row with 2 home runs.
The Cubs had plenty of runners on base early. Patrick Wisdom's first-inning double got stuck in the vines, likely preventing a run from scoring. Then Cincinnati right fielder Aristides Aquino made two running catches going toward the wall to save runs -- once against Jason Heyward with the bases loaded in the first and then he robbed Davies in the fourth.
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