Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Curse of Busch Stadium Strikes Again as Cincinnati Reds Fall

The Reds house of horrors continues to engulf them like a quenchless fire, always grasping victory right from the jaws of defeat.

Maybe it’s the demonic-looking Mr. Redlegs.  Or, it could be some pseudo-reverse psychology being played by both Walt Jocketty and Ryan Ludwick.  More than likely, it’s the fact that the St. Louis Cardinals are really freakin’ good…the sooner we all accept and acknowledge that, the better off we’ll be.

It may be sad to think about it in such a fashion, but every time the Reds head to Busch Stadium, they have to be praying to just win one.  At least if they win one, they can save a moderate amount of face – you’re supposed to lose in St. Louis. 

Tonight, by a final of 7-5, the Reds dropped their record to 2-6 on the season.  A whole lot of somebodies somewhere are cramming down on an imaginary panic button, not that anyone within the Reds organization cares.  This is their club and regardless of how this year goes down, it’s the group they’re riding with.  There are no Yasiel Puig’s or Jose Fernandez’s hiding down in Louisville, we have Corky Miller and Jeff Francis. 

In a perfect world, every inning could be drawn up like the one the Reds had in the first.  Brandon Phillips does an excellent job of turning on an inside fastball and grabs a double down the line.  After Joey Votto “The Mountie” reached on a hit by pitch, Jay Bruce picked up the pieces and cranked a two-run triple to stake the Reds to an early lead.  Ryan Ludwick got himself a “ribeye” with everyone’s favorite play, the sacrifice fly.  First inning, three Reds runs.  An eerie replay of what occurred the last time these two hurlers took to the hill.

Staking Homer Bailey to a 4-0 lead against the Cardinals is like giving a young child just a small piece of birthday cake, they’re going to need a whole lot more.  Let’s not sit back on our high horse and say what Bailey should and shouldn’t have done.  Anytime you face arguably the most balanced offensive team in baseball twice in the span of a week, things aren’t always going to go your way.  Combine that with the fact that he did not bring an effective secondary pitch with him to the mound tonight and you get what happened in the second inning. 

Ultimately, Homer Bailey was in line for the win.  After more of these sacrifice shenanigans from Ludwick, the Reds took a 5-4 lead into the sixth inning, qualifying the new $105 million man for his first win.

When things aren’t going your way, they never seem to at a critical time.  Somewhere out in his garden in Northern California, Dusty Baker probably is muttering these same words.  The Cardinals rally in the sixth inning was predicated on two balls that became positive outcomes for the Redbirds by just a matter of inches. 

Leading off the frame was Peter Bourjos, who has been mired in a major slump to begin the season.  With the Reds luck, it’s fitting he went 3-for-4 with two runs scored on the evening.  He pulled off his best Todd Frazier impression by throwing his bat at the ball and watched as it literally crawled over the first base bag.  Bourjos has speed second to maybe only Billy Hamilton in all of baseball, so a double was a foregone conclusion.

After finally getting Kolten Wong to make an out, Logan Ondrusek seemed poised to escape the jam and the hex I put on him via Twitter, by mentioning he still has potential to one day close out games.  Anybody who loves baseball watched Game 6 of the 2011 World Series and knew it was an instant classic.  Not exactly the same vibe tonight, but Jay Bruce did his best Nelson Cruz impression by going back on a fly ball that really should have been caught and whiffing at the Midwestern sky.  The old baseball rule of no error where there is no contact was awarded, giving Holliday the game-winning, go-ahead, two-run double.

While the jokes on social media made me giggle, I was completely serious about my belief in the “Big O.”  I had brought up that Jared Burton and Matt Belisle both grew once leaving the organization, and I feel the same way about Ondrusek.  Sometimes, a change of scenery and a new team is best for a player’s career. 

At the 2012 Trade Deadline, there was great fervor about who the Reds could acquire to replace a flailing Drew Stubbs in centerfield.  Shane Victorino was still a member of the Philadelphia Phillies, and with his contract set to expire at season’s end, the Phillies made a pitch to the Redlegs, seeing if they could make a swap.  It would be Shane Victorino in exchange for Logan Ondrusek, straight up.  The Reds turned down the trade.  Clearly, I’m not alone in thinking that Ondrusek has a big time arm.

You know who else has a big time arm?  Everyone in a Cardinals jersey.  No matter how many times the Reds get a look at Kevin Siegrist, Carlos Martinez or Trevor Rosenthal, they will never not be deceiving.  The club teased a ninth inning comeback once again, but the powerful right arm of Rosenthal slammed the door shut.

Echoing Homer Bailey’s post-game comments, nobody wants to be 2-6.  It’s really not a good situation, to be quite honest.  It is what it is though.  Things do not get any easier coming up, so it’s either the team can improve, or they can be double digits out of first place come May.

Thankfully, tomorrow is the last time the Reds have to duel with Mike Matheny’s bunch until Memorial Day weekend.  Mike Leake gets the ball in opposition of Shelby Miller for the 1:45 P.M. start.  As things typically have gone for the Reds in recent history in Busch Stadium, they’re just looking to escape with their pride.

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