Defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory for the Reds on multiple occasions Sunday afternoon in Milwaukee.
After another quality start from Reds starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo, the usually air-tight bullpen capsized as news of both the Pirates and Cardinals winning came through. For the first time in a long time, fans are desperately missing the bullpen that could have been with Sean Marshall and Jonathan Broxton as the 8th inning set-up men.
With the Reds leading 5-2 in the bottom half of the 8th, Sam LeCure lost Norichika Aoki after being ahead in the count, allowing the leadoff man on base for the seventh consecutive inning for Milwaukee. That was preceded by Manny Parra being brought in to face Scooter Gennett, who was pulled down for the dangerous Khris Davis, who was promptly plunked and left runners at first and second with nobody out as J.J. Hoover came on.
Depending on how the Reds 2013 season finishes, what happened next could have been the straw that snapped the camel’s back. J.J. Hoover missed badly with a fastball out over the plate to Jean Segura who ripped it into the right centerfield gap with both Choo and Jay Bruce converging. As Bruce reached out to make the grab, he unquestionably heard footsteps coming from Choo as the ball grazed off his glove and ricocheted towards the wall, with Jean Segura motoring into third with a 2-run triple. Jonathan Lucroy drove Segura in with a sacrifice fly and the game that once seemed to be in complete Reds control; had become tied.
If it wasn’t painful enough for fans of the club from the Queen City on this Sunday, the enigma that is Carlos Gomez snatched away what hope could have been left for the quest for the 2013 Central division championship. With Jay Bruce up and a chance at redemption wavering in front of him, Bruce cranked a fastball to deep centerfield that off the bat looked to be way out, yet watching Gomez track the ball, it was to the horror of Reds fans everywhere when he leapt up and over the wall and snared Jay’s smash into the webbing of his mitt.
In the grander scheme of things, it seems that Todd Frazier has finally awoken out of what has seemed to have been a season-long drought. Zack Cozart over the past three weeks has kicked the habit and it seems that his hot corner counterpart has joined him. After multi-hit efforts the last two days, plus a mammoth homerun this afternoon to couple with his pair of RBI’s, the “Toddfather” is heating up at the right time.
On the front of hitters turning it around, both Joey Votto and Jay Bruce have shrugged off recent slumps. The four balls that Votto put into play today were all stung, regardless of the fact that only two got through for hits. Going into his final three at-bats, Jay Bruce had been 1-for-18 before singling twice and subsequently being robbed of a three-run homerun by the aforementioned Carlos Gomez.
To make matters worse, the Cardinals and Pirates both kept pace with one another as the Reds slip behind both the division lead and the home-field Wild Card slot by three and a half games with only 12 to play. The Reds have a legitimate chance of catching Pittsburgh as the schedule has the two meeting six more times in the 2013 campaign.
The Reds will jump on a flight down to Houston, having lost two out of three to a mediocre, Ryan Braun-less Milwaukee club. Johnny Cueto makes his long anticipated return to the Reds rotation Monday night against Houston, who will counter with Erik Bedard, who himself was almost once a Red. It has reached that point in the season where simply taking two out of three will not do, as the Reds are desperately in search of a sweep. First pitch is scheduled for 8:10 ET in the Lone Star state as the Redlegs look to get back to their winning ways.