Reds Avoid Another Bullpen Meltdown

It wasn’t easy. It should have been.

After the top of the 5th inning, the rains poured at GABP and forced a 2 hour and 40 minute rain delay. The game was official, but the umpires decided to resume play instead of calling a shortened affair. The Reds pushed their 5-1 lead to 8-1 after the bottom of the 5th was over. Everything’s good, right?

Far from it actually. Once again the bullpen was a huge culprit in what transpired to be a Reds win, 8-7.

In the top of the 6th, The Washington Nationals sent 10 batters to the plate. Micah Owings, who hadn’t pitched since July 4th, faced 6 batters and 4 reached base. Bill Bray replaced Owings and he faced 4 batters with 3 of those reaching base. By the time the top of the 6th was over, the Nats turned a seven run deficit into a mere run. Ten batters, 3 walks, a hit batsman, a two-run homer by Ryan Zimmerman, a three-run, pinch-hit triple by Michael Morse and an Ian Desmond RBI single. No wonder Dusty Baker appeared to have a few more grey hairs after the game. I did and I was just watching the game on TV.

But just as the bullpen coughed up another huge lead, the usual suspects came through to close the door. Nick Masset (1.1 IP), Arthur Rhodes (0.2 IP) and Francisco Cordero (1 IP) all pitched spotless baseball en route to the win. Nothing. No runs, no hits, no walks, no worries. Cordero froze former Red Adam Dunn on a strike three call to end the game. Dunn may have been frozen because he felt the ball was low and inside.

The Reds bats were alive for the first five innings and pretty much disappeared after that due to the Nats relievers Tyler Clippard and Matt Capps. Over the last three innings, Cincinnati could only muster one hit.

The Reds remain a half game behind the St. Louis Cardinals as the Cards once again trounced the Philadephia Phillies, 7-1.

And do not overlook the long day the rain delay caused. That could be critical as the Reds must prepare today for Nats phenom Steven Strasburg. I’m sure a large crowd will be on hand at GABP to witness the matchup of Strasburg and Bronson Arroyo.

A couple of notes on future Reds games:
If you’re holding tickets for the game on July 31st, the start time has been changed. The game will start at 4:10 PM and not the 7:10 PM printed on your ticket or any schedule. This game against the Atlanta Braves has been moved to accommodate the Fox national broadcast…If you watched the game on Monday night, you may have noticed an “interactive” game where the fans could pose questions (through either Twitter or Facebook) to Thom Brennaman and Chris Welsh. Toward the end of the broadcast, Fox Sports Ohio announced that three more games would be instituted as “interactive” games. Those games will be August 15th (v. Florida), September 1st (v. Milwaukee) and September 15th (v. Arizona). No word on if the Brennaman-Welsh duo will be working all three of those games. Wouldn’t adding Cowboy Jeff Brantley to the mix be entertaining, too?