Arrieta doesn't have it, Contreras hurt as Cubs lose
Sometimes the Cubs get shut out and lose, sometimes they score runs and still lose.
Whatever the vehicle, the Cubs have now dropped six of seven games after losing 8-6 in Cincinnati on Friday. The game featured a poor start by Jake Arrieta and a frantic comeback in the top of the ninth.
There's also cause for concern with catcher Willson Contreras leaving the game in the fifth inning after notching a single. As soon as he reached first base, Contreras signaled to the dugout the need to depart. The Cubs later said the issue was mild right thigh tightness.
"Felt a little tightness coming out of the box there," manager David Ross said. "We'll have to see how it presents tomorrow. As of right now, just a precautionary tightness."
The Cubs got off to a decent start. Kris Bryant hit his seventh home run in the first inning, then the Cubs put runners on second and third with nobody out in the second, but scored just once on a Nico Hoerner RBI ground out.
It didn't last, since Arrieta had his worst start of the season, allowing 7 earned runs on 7 hits in 3⅓ innings. He talked about being bothered slightly by a cut on his right thumb.
"Coming out, I knew from the get-go when I started warming up that I was off," Arrieta said. "Timing, body didn't feel good, dealing with a little cut on my right thumb. It's not a huge issue, but couldn't throw the cutter very well at all and I tried to force it throughout the game, gave up a couple homers on it.
"That's my fault. I should have opted to go for something else and I didn't. One of those nights where I knew I was going to need some good fortune and was just going to have to compete my way through it."
The top of the ninth inning was an adventure. Trailing 8-4, the Cubs got an infield single by Eric Sogard and two walks to load the bases with nobody out and bring the tying run to the plate. Anthony Rizzo flied out to medium depth left field, then Javy Baez hit it a little further, but his fly ball held up for a sacrifice fly and the second out.
But walks to Jason Heyward and Jake Marisnick forced in a run and made it 8-6, with the bases still loaded. The Reds brought in Tejay Antone and he coaxed a game-ending ground out from David Bote.
"That's the type of stuff to me that can win you a series," Ross said. "To get into the bullpen a little bit deeper on a night where they've got a little bit of a cushion and to get the back end of their bullpen cranking and to expend some energy, that's the stuff that can affect a series moving forward. I'm super proud of the offense. Great at-bats, staying within their approach, just couldn't get that last hit."
Before the game, the Cubs sent reliever Trevor Megill to the 10-day injured list with a right forearm strain and activated left-hander Kyle Ryan, who was part of the taxi squad already in Cincinnati.
Megill made his major league debut on Monday in Atlanta, then pitched an inning Thursday.