For the second consecutive day, the Reds were significantly delayed by Mother Nature’s greater plans. Unfortunately, for the Reds, they were unable to win the game in the ninth for the second day in a row.
Falling by a score of 7-6, the Reds conceded the home series to the Cardinals yet again, losing four of the last five series overall to their bitter division rivals.
Initially scheduled for a 12:35 start, it became glaringly obvious to anyone near Cincinnati that there would be no conceivable way the game would be starting on time. Nearly four hours later, about 20 minutes past four o’clock, the game was underway.
At the start, Homer Bailey looked to be his usual sharp self; while it was Lance Lynn who looked uncomfortable from the get-go. The Reds connected with their first and second home runs of the season in back-to-back fashion in the bottom of the first, after Jay Bruce went halfway up the moon deck for a two-run shot, then was followed up by Todd Frazier who unleashed a mammoth 474-foot shot into the left field bleachers.
Jumping out to a 3-0 lead, those that stuck around through the miserable weather must have felt confident about the Reds odds with new $100 million man Homer Bailey on the hill.
As the game dredged on, it became glaringly apparent that it was not Homer’s day. His usually pinpoint control of his fastball was nonexistent and neither his splitter, nor his slider was snapping as it normally would. This has been the case of Homer Bailey the past few seasons; he has pitched stellar on occasions, and then gone out and looked extremely ordinary on others. Consistency is not exactly the name to his game, but with his new contract, the Reds have no choice but to live with the vicissitudes.
The Reds lead dwindled away as the game went on, capsizing in the top of the seventh inning when Trevor Bell, of all people, was brought in. Sure, hindsight is 20-20 and it’s easy to armchair manage, but to bring in a career minor leaguer in a high leverage situation (one pitching in the bigs for the first time since 2011) against your main rivals is a head scratcher. Sam LeCure continued to remain dormant out in the Reds ‘pen while Bell walked the first two batters he faced, then came within literal inches of giving up a three-run homerun to Matt Holliday.
Baseball is a merciless game. You never know which run is going to be the one either to put your team over the top, or to hold them under. Even with Logan Ondrusek taking over midway through the inning, the Cardinals tacked on three more runs to go ahead 7-3, a lead that would not be broken.
Even after Todd Frazier slugged a three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh to pull the Reds within one, the lead felt insurmountable. Blame it on the rain, or the high velocity of everyone outside of Randy Choate and Pat Neshek in the Cardinals bullpen, but a last gasp attempt at a comeback failed in both the eighth and the ninth.
In case you were unaware, Joey Votto is one fierce hitter. His first three at-bats saw him lace balls to every part of the field, all for hits. The fourth time up, even Kevin Siegrist, who he had never gotten a hit off, didn’t feel like pitching to him. While he did fly out in the ninth against Trevor Rosenthal, had Votto not reached as many times as he did earlier in the game, there would have been no one run deficit.
Without anyone sending up flare guns warnings for Billy Hamilton, it seems important to reiterate perspective. No one expected him to come out of the gate hits a blazing. He faced three extremely talented pitchers in Wainwright, Wacha and Lynn, who all forced him to bat from the left side, his less learned side. This weekend as he makes the trip to New York, Hamilton will be facing three pitchers that would not even make the Reds rotation. Should he continue to go hitless through this weekend, then maybe noise can be made, but until then, let’s see what he can do–there really is no better option.
Just what the Reds don’t need is more rain. But in what has continued to be dreadful Reds luck thus far this season, that’s just what is on the forecast for tomorrow. With another early game on Saturday, don’t expect the clubs to wait around three hours for the contest tomorrow night; it would simply become a doubleheader on Saturday.
In the meantime, the current pitching matchup sees Mike Leake matching up against Jenrry Mejia. For his career, Leake has only allowed one run in 13 innings of work at Citi Field against the Mets, a stat that bodes well for the right-hander who is looking to build off a career year last season. Tune in at 7:10 P.M. for the matchup as the Reds try to get back to their winning ways at the expense of the New York Mets.
For what it’s worth, I’ll be in attendance at all three games this weekend. By chance, if any other Reds fans are attending, come say hello and I’ll give you a fist bump. Heck, I’ll even sign your scorebook.