Offense Struggles in 3-2 Loss to Brewers

Bronson Arroyo tossed a complete game, but did not receive the help he needed. Sure, he allowed the tie-breaking pinch-hit solo shot to Milwaukee’s Jim Edmonds in the bottom of the eighth to provide the winning margin. In fact, Arroyo only permitted three hits. Two of those hits left the yard (the other a two-run homer to Rickie Weeks in the bottom of the 3rd that knotted the game at 2-2). He threw only 88 pitches, 66 were strikes.

But do not pin the loss on Arroyo. How about the fact that the Reds offense managed only six hits (three by Jonny Gomes) against lefty Randy Wolf. Wolf’s last outing (against the Pittsburgh Pirates) was an absolute fiasco. Wolf’s line from that outing: 5.2 IP, 13 H, 12 R (all E), 2 HR, 2 BB, 4 K. Yes 12 runs and the “most potent offense in the NL” could only manage 2 with 6 hits. The only other hit Arroyo allowed was to Wolf.

“The pitch to Wolf was the one that was terrible,” Arroyo said. “The other two I could live with. They’re big league hitters that should hit the ball out of the park at times. To have 0-2 on a pitcher and give up a hit and just allow Rickie to come up as hot as he’s been was stupid.”

And the Reds offense had chances, early and late. Reds manager Dusty Baker said the Reds left Wolf off the hook.

“[Wolf] didn’t have his control early, and we let him get away early,” Baker said. “Then he got locked in and started throwing strikes.”

The early chances? After Hanigan drove in two with a single in the top half of the 2nd, Arroyo struck out making it two down. Orlando Cabrera grounded out stranding runners at second and third.

Top of the 3rd. Runners on 1st and 2nd with two outs, Jay Bruce drilled a Wolf pitch to deep center only to be caught by Carlos Gomez. Wolf would go on to retire 12 of the next 13 batters he faced.

The late chances? Top of the 8th and 9th. The 8th saw Brandon Phillips leadoff with a walk with Joey Votto, Scott Rolen and Gomes coming to the plate. Votto struck out on a foul tip. Rolen flied out to center. Gomes struck out swinging, the only time he was retired last night.

The 9th started out with Jay Bruce looking at a call strike three. Laynce Nix was sent to pinch-hit for Drew Stubbs (Stubbs was 0-3 with 2 K for the game). Nix lined a double.  Runner on 2nd with only one out. Ryan Hanigan hit a ball to third. Casey McGehee fielded at hard hit ball to his right…and caught Nix napping for a force. Inexplicable. That took the rest of the air out of the Reds sails for the evening.

Game Notes:
Baker had Rolen back and flopped Cabrera (leadoff) and Phillips in the order. Didn’t do any good. The first four hitters (Cabrera, Phillips, Votto, Rolen) were 0-13…The struggles of Drew Stubbs continue. With his 2 K last night, Stubbs leads the Reds in that category with with 104 (31.3%). The only other Reds starter over 25% is Jay Bruce (25.6%)…Arroyo’s complete game permitted Baker another day to rest the bullpen. All hands are on deck for tonight’s game…Pitching matchup for tonight is Edinson Volquez (1-1, 7.56 ERA) v. Yovani Gallardo (9-4, 2.45 ERA). Game time is 8:10 ET.