The weekend series between the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds was already heavy on intrigue and intensity, and then Sunday's finale happened. The Reds wound up taking the rubber match of the three-game set by a score -- and herein lies much of the story -- 13-12 (box score).
As that score implies, this was a to-and-fro affair with plenty of power on display. To get a sense of that to-and-fro part, here's where the score stood at the end of each inning:
- End of 1st: CIN 2, CHC 1
- End of 2nd: CIN 2, CHC 2
- End of 3rd: CIN 6, CHC 4
- End of 4th: CIN 6, CHC 4
- End of 5th: CIN 6, CHC 5
- End of 6th: CIN 9, CHC 6
- End of 7th: CIN 12, CHC 8
- End of 8th: CIN 12, CHC 12
- End of 9th: CIN 12, CHC 12
- Final: CIN 13, CHC 12
And now for the win probability chart via FanGraphs, which tracks each team's chances of winning at various points throughout a game:
The Cubs' chances peaked at better than 70 percent in the late innings, while the Reds were at 98 percent not long before Chicago tied it up with a four-run top of the eighth:
The two teams combined for 30 hits, exactly half of which were for extra-bases. The two NL Central rivals also teamed up for 10 home runs, two of which were from Kris Bryant and two of which were from Nick Castellanos. Those 10 homers tie the single-game record at Great American Ball Park. Overall, it's just the 17th time in MLB history that two teams have combined for 10 or more home runs in the same game.
Castellanos wound up notching the walk-off single in the 10th. Should we watch it in stunning technicolor? Yes, we should:
Castellanos was 5-for-6 on the day, and he's now batting .330/.366/.660 with nine home runs. He's now tied with Bryant, J.D. Martinez, and Ronald Acuña Jr. for the major league lead in that latter category. As for Bryant, he's enjoying a nifty bounce-back campaign so far in 2021. Coming off a disappointing 2020 in which he hit .206/.293/.351 in 34 games, Bryant's now batting .323/.405/.708 after 26 games this season. In addition to getting off to a tremendous start in his walk year, Bryant may also be positioning himself as a name to watch as we get closer to the trade deadline. While walk-year "rentals" don't command much these days, the Cubs if they continue back-sliding -- they've now lost seven of nine and are four games below .500 -- may be looking to flip anything they can, especially given ownership's plain lack of commitment to sustaining a winning roster.
As for general weirdness from this one, here's something for your consideration:
With the wild victory, the Reds get back to within a game of the .500 mark. They're now in third place and 3 1/2 games back of the first-place Milwaukee Brewers.