Jul 9, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tony Cingrani (52) throws a pitch during the second inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Tony Cingrani Shines as Reds are Shutout by Brewers


Are the Pittsburgh Pirates starting their second-half swoon a couple weeks early this year? Are the St. Louis Cardinals determined to prove they are the best team in baseball? Can the Reds turn around the nose dive they are in before the All-star break?

These and many other questions need answers in the hotly contested National League Central Division.

The Reds, in dropping their third straight game, were shutout again (lost count); this time by Wily Mo Peralta last night. For a man with an ERA just below 5, he made it look easy by dominating the Reds on just three hits.

The lack of offense eclipsed the best game (my opinion) of Tony Cingrani’s young career. His final line was 7 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 10 K.

There is nothing good that can come from a size 3 losing streak. Nothing I tell you. They have just lost their second straight series and are now only 10 games above water. A team with the second best record much of the season has now slid down to 8th on that list.

The offense is not thriving. That right there is what you call an understatement. The only places where any of the Reds position players hold a high ranking is OBP and BB. Joey Votto and Shin Soo Choo rank first and second in the National League in OBP. They are also one and two in walks. After that, it’s rough. Votto is sixth in BA with .318, while three of the Cardinals show up in the top four.

Brandon Phillips is tied for third in RBI, after leading and being runner-up in most of the first half. But hey, we are the champions, am I right? Well, defending champs anyway.

It doesn’t look much better in the immediate future. After today’s afternoon game with the Brewers, the Reds fly to Hotlanta for a four-game series with the Braves.

Nobody will give us a status report on Ryan Ludwick, so should we just pencil him out for the rest of the year? I think I will call Mr. Peabody and Sherman and have them fire-up the Wayback machine to just before the start of the opening game. Then I will tell Ludwick of the impending dangers of head-first slides. If he stayed healthy we don’t know what could have happened.

The DL is a cruel bitch. How about Sean Marshall, Jonathan Broxton and don’t forget Nick Masset? The bullpen has been in an ebb and flow rhythm all season. I’m not sure but I believe we are on the top part of the wheel right now.

On a more positive note, let us talk trades. Do you think the Reds need to trade for help, or just keep pecking away? I think Cingrani is doing a stand-up job in replacing Johnny Cueto, so I think the rotation is still strong.

Should we keep playing Red Rover with the left-field slot or trade for a top drawer player? Between the four players who have attempted to replace Ludwick, they have 10 long balls thus far. That is not enough.

Both catchers are banged up, guess it’s about time to call Corky Miller back up.

A big silver lining here friends. They will have four days off starting on Monday, hopefully they will come back refreshed and ready to defend their crown.

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