Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Great American Bash Swallows Cincinnati Reds in Undertow

Beaten to a pulp in front of their home fans, the Cincinnati Reds suffered an 11-2 defeat that resembled a mugging at the hands of the Colorado Rockies.
The proverbial writing was on the wall from the get-go. Leading off the game with back-to-back smashes, Charlie Blackmon and Corey Dickerson established guidelines for Alfredo Simon’s short-lived stint: this would not be pretty.
It seemed nearly every ball that the Rockies made contact with was launched somewhere. Although Simon was rushing his fastball up in excess of 95+ MPH with movement, it must have looked like a beach ball to the carnivorous Rockies bunch. The best way to describe the hitting style was to compare it to a pack of wolves hungry for meat.
For just a brief half-inning, Reds fans in attendance sensed some hope.
After homering on the final pitch of the game last evening, Joey Votto slammed the first pitch he saw on Saturday into the front row of seats down the left field line. The move to the clean-up spot has apparently brought the power game out of the left-handed sluggers’ repertoire.
Then, the wheels fell off for Simon once again.
Seemingly escaping the inning with just a single run scoring thanks to the aid of a double play, Simon gave up a double and then a two-run smash to former MVP, Justin Morneau. He had recorded nine outs in three innings, but even the opposing pitcher, Jordan Lyles, nearly took his arm off with a lined smash back up the middle.
Done after just three innings, Simon’s start may have taxed the bullpen, but it could have become detrimental to his health to remain on the mound. His contributions to the team thus far in 2014 have been nothing shy of brilliant, so even with one start all but guaranteeing his team a loss, it is tough to imagine where the Reds would be without the man nicknamed the “Big Pasta.”
With the game still salvageable, Nick Christiani was summoned out of the Reds bullpen to begin the fourth. He too, was introduced to the most menacing offense inhibiting the earth at this current time. Back-to-back RBI doubles from the unheralded Blackmon and Dickerson (who went a combined 7-for-10 with three home runs and six runs driven in) staked Colorado to a 7-1 lead, nearly icing the game halfway to the seventh inning stretch.
By just checking the final line, a fan would be inclined to believe that Jordan Lyles pitched a whale of a ballgame. While he did the ultimate job of a pitcher—not allow the opponent to score—he also left the gate open for the Redlegs on multiple occasions. Only twice did the Cincinnati Reds go in order against Lyles while he walked four batters over his six innings, throwing 49 balls to just 54 strikes.
The next victim to emerge from the Reds bullpen was the much maligned J.J. Hoover.
A fan favorite (coming into the season at least), the majority of the fan base roots for and supports the man that went over 27 consecutive innings last year without allowing a run. Clearly, he has the ability to get Major League hitters out.
Saturday night was no different for Hoover, sadly. After Dickerson hit a ball more than halfway up the moon deck, Troy Tulowitzki responded with another skyscraper that reached the seats. The lumber was brought to the yard, although the Reds seemed to miss the memo.
Like Christiani, Hoover retired the last four batters he would face…as if that is any consolation prize. His ERA skyrocketed (again) up over 10. For a pitcher that has not been used in a sparing role and has been around all season, that is quite the disturbing number.
The final threat of offense came from a double by Brandon Phillips, who then scored on an RBI single off the bat of Ryan Ludwick. Cutting the deficit down to 10-2, it would be difficult to say the Reds had them right where they ‘em.
In front of a packed house of nearly 38,000 on Saturday, the Redlegs were annihilated. Never did the game seem close, a true disappointment for those of whom that spent their hard-earned money to attend the game. Alas, these types of games are going to occur, no matter who the team.
With a Sunday afternoon matinee, the Reds have a chance to win the series, despite the horrific drubbing the night before. Homer Bailey will look to twirl his first truly magnificent gem of 2014 as he faces off with Juan Nicasio of Colorado.
The action gets underway at 1:10 p.m. as both Billy Hamilton and Aroldis Chapman look to return to action.

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