A late comeback sent a jolt of energy throughout the walls of Great American Ball Park, but the Cincinnati Reds would ultimately fall to the Washington Nationals by a final score of 4-2.
The dominant trend since the All-Star break has been for the Reds to rely heavily on their pitching, while hoping to eek across just enough offense to come out on the winning side. (The club is 1-8 since the break)
Through the front four innings, both pitchers were extremely efficient in terms of retiring batters. Mat Latos’ first hit allowed would come off the bat of Danny Espinosa to lead off the fifth inning.
As has happened to Latos on multiple occasions in 2014, the one inning in which runs score, they score in bunches. He would retire the next two batters before Denard Span would battle tooth and nail for a seven-pitch walk that would ultimately change the dynamic of the game. After drilling Anthony Rendon, the bases were loaded for the Nationals’ third spot hitter Jayson Werth.
Latos would jump out ahead of Werth in the count 0-2, on the cusp of retiring the side and averting a crisis, but he would miss with his next four pitches, walking in a run and putting Washington ahead 1-0. As fate would have it, Adam LaRoche would swing the bat and barely make solid contact, flaring the ball into left field allowing another two runners to come across the plate and score.
At the conclusion of the inning, Latos was not all too pleased with home plate umpire Toby Basner’s strike zone, and he let him know about it. Had just one strike call gone his way in the at-bat against Werth, Latos would have ended his day without surrendering a run.
Normally, a three-run deficit in the fifth inning is quite the opposite of insurmountable, but tell that to a club scuffling so historically poorly. Although, the Reds did activate a left-handed bat off the disabled list who stepped in and played first base—Jack Hannahan, that is. He would go 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in his first Major League game of the season.
It took until the ninth inning for the Reds to collect an extra-base hit, but by that point, the mountain was still too high to climb. Normally, the sixth and seventh places in the lineup are occupied by names such as Devin Mesoraco, Ryan Ludwick or Todd Frazier. In the midst of complete roster turnover, the Reds had Jack Hannahan and Donald Lutz as their late-game bats in the heat of a pennant race. Unfortunately, Bryan Price can only manage around injuries to a certain extent.
More than just the bats missing their firepower, Reds fans now are finding out the archaic truth of having to live with a second baseman not named Brandon Phillips. So accustomed to the bare-handed, back-handed, between-the-legs grabs, fans must now watch in dismay as Skip Schumaker (who has played second before, but is by trade an outfielder) made two throwing errors on the day.
The two constants in the batting order all season produced on Sunday (Billy Hamilton has been a bit streaky). Todd Frazier would collect two hits, which should have been three, but he was robbed on a tremendous stop by third baseman Anthony Rendon. All-Star compadre Devin Mesoraco would also have a multi-hit game, including the two-run double that kept the Reds’ rally alive in the ninth inning before the bottom of the order failed to pull through.
Back at .500 with 58 games remaining, the Reds are still six behind the Milwaukee Brewers for first-place in the National League Central. Unfortunately, the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates are hot on the Brewers’ heels and much further up the rungs of the ladder than the Redlegs are.
Beginning on Monday night, the Arizona Diamondbacks, who are 15 games below .500, come into Cincinnati for a three-game series. They will send rookie sensation Chase Anderson to the mound against Homer Bailey for a 7:10 p.m. start down at the ballpark.
Tags: Cincinnati Reds