Never West Coast road warriors, the Cincinnati Reds have now dropped their first two on this road trip, falling 6-3 to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night.
Even the slightest chink in the armor of Alfredo Simon proved to be overwhelming. Unable to finish the fourth inning, the “Big Pasta” was sent back into the pot for some more cooking.
Slamming his third home run of the season in the second inning, Andre Ethier’s solo home run seemed as if it would hold up the length of the game. It is not as if Dodgers starter Zack Greinke yields very many runs.
Going 7.2 innings of strong, at times dominating, work, Greinke feasted off Reds batting once again. He struck out 11 over the course of the game and did not walk a single batter.
The Reds finally got on the board in the fifth inning when Donald Lutz cranked a double to right-center field, his first hit at the Major League level this season, to start a mini-rally. Two batters later, Roger Bernadina, who laced a base hit single up the middle to give the Reds something other than a goose egg on the scoreboard, brought him in.
As a last gasp of offensive effort, Devin Mesoraco annihilated the final pitch Greinke would throw on the evening. A booming two-run shot deep into the Los Angeles night, Mesoraco cut the Dodger lead down to 6-3, where it would ultimately wind up.
Even with his masterful performance, Greinke will have to share player of the night honors with his centerfielder, Andre Ethier.
After his solo shot in the second, Ethier opened the scoring brigade when he lined a bases-clearing, three-run triple down the right field line in the fourth. Thought to be the odd-man out as far as the superstar outfielder conversation goes for the Dodgers, Simon certainly wishes he was not in the lineup last evening.
Through the first three innings, Ethier’s home run was the only hit Simon allowed. Then, in the fourth alone, he allowed four hits, three walks, and one of his two outs came via a sacrifice bunt. For just the second time all season, Simon looked like a replacement starter.
There were stellar efforts out of the Reds bullpen. Logan Ondrusek saved the arms of many of the Reds bigger guns by going 2.1 innings, without yielding a run. While he could use a few more appearances like the one on Tuesday to get his ERA going in the right direction, Ondrusek saved the Reds bullpen for the near future.
Also pitching an inning of scoreless work, J.J. Hoover struck out the side in the bottom of the eighth. Similarly to Ondrusek, Hoover could use a few more scoreless outings to get his ERA back under control.
A man who is seemingly allergic to scoreless outings is Sean Marshall. Getting himself in trouble through obscure matters once again, a walk and hit by pitch set the table for Hanley Ramirez to drive in an insurance run late in the game for Los Angeles.
The Sean Marshall predicament is an extremely sticky one; one not even Bryan Price may be equipped to handle.
Hopefully, the jetlag has worn off. In order to avoid being swept, the Reds will have to combat the consensus best pitcher in baseball in Clayton Kershaw.
While no one is unhittable, Kershaw comes about as close as can be to fitting that mold. Not to mention, the Reds have struggled with top of the line pitchers thus far in 2014.
At 10:10 p.m., two of the game’s highest paid pitchers square off with Homer Bailey looking to get the Reds off their four-game losing streak.