Dropping yet another series on the road, the Cincinnati Reds fell 8-3 to the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday afternoon.
It was more of the same from both the offensive and pitching perspective with runs coming in early for the bats and runs crossing the plate late for the pitchers.
Now the fifth time in the last seven games, Billy Hamilton has led off the Reds first inning by reaching base, and ultimately, scoring. Although his line drive base hits serve the same outcome, watching Hamilton drop down infield bunt singles is as an exhilarating play as there is.
After an uncharacteristic four-pitch walk from Cliff Lee, the Reds had the opportunity to blow the doors in with the first two men reaching base. Especially after both Billy Hamilton and Chris Heisey stole bases with still nobody out.
A groundout from Brandon Phillips produced a run, and that was followed by a rocket-shot double off the bat of Devin Mesoraco to bring the Reds lead up to 2-0. The runs also meant the Reds would score for the seventh time in the last nine games in the first inning.
While the Reds offense would stagnate, Mesoraco’s bat sure would not. Finishing the game 4-for-4, he raised his average to an almost impossible .500 mid-way through May. Although he has spent half the season on the disabled list, Mesoraco is the hottest hitter on any continent at the moment.
More runs would not be on the horizon for the Reds offense.
Rather, the Phillies bats picked up right where they left off on Saturday night.
Welcoming Tony Cingrani back off the disabled list, Jimmy Rollins and Wil Nieves (just his ninth career home run in 11 big league season) led off the game with back-to-back home runs to knot the score back at two after the Reds scratched and clawed just to produce those two runs. Cingrani would ratchet up the fastball from there, but his outing would not be up to his usual stellar standards.
Not often can the downfall of the game be summed up in one at-bat by the opposing pitcher, but when Cliff Lee laced a single to left field to begin the bottom of the fifth, it awoke something deep within the Phillies.
They would tack on a run in each of the next two innings, running Cingrani’s earned run total up to four. At the same time, Lee continued to walk the tightrope of letting men on base, but keeping them from scoring.
One of the constants in the Reds’ bullpen this season has been Manny Parra, who has been the lone left-hander for the majority of the season. Due for a rough outing, Parra was beaten to a pulp by the Phillies’ bats, ending with a three-run smash off the bat of Cody Asche that made it 8-2 Philadelphia.
As poor as the offensive performance was from a driving-in-runs perspective, the pitching allowed a hit every single inning, barring the final one. Just as the offense is entitled to some slow days, as is the pitching staff.
The Reds would add on a run in the eighth, their first not in the first inning in 32 innings. Neftali Soto, the man that grounded it out to second, would not get credit for the RBI, as it burrowed under the glove of Phillies All-Star second baseman, Chase Utley. The scoring would cease there, with the Reds falling listlessly, 8-3.
Still series winless in the city of brotherly love since 2006, the Reds limp out of Philadelphia pleased with their one Friday night victory. Next up on the docket, they head down to the nation’s capital, Washington D.C.
Although his numbers do not indicate he has been terrorizing the league, facing Stephen Strasburg is never an envious position to be in. Still possessing triple-digit speed on his fastball and a hellacious hook to his curveball, the once-savior of pitching is still a nightmare to encounter.
On Monday night, the Reds will counter with Mike Leake at 7:05 p.m. Not only would winning the series put a smile on the faces of the Reds, but it would mean at least a .500 road trip as they head back home for their collision with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Tags: Cincinnati Reds