Cordero Walks Reds to Defeat in Extras

As of late Reds closer Francisco Cordero has pitched pretty well. Not a lot of issues. He’s even been using both sides of the plate.

Wait. There has been one issue. Base runners. Walks and hits. Too many of them. I know they’re part of the game, but walks almost always bite you. Hits bring the instant result. Since it’s “inception”, the one stat I’ve always paid attention to with pitchers, (especially late inning pitchers) is WHIP (walks plus hits/innings pitched). You’d like to see that number under or around 1.000. But you don’t want your closer to have a WHIP like Cordero’s. For the season his is 1.489. For every time Cordero steps on the mound, almost 1.5 batters reach base. It’s ugly for a closer to have a WHIP that high because that adds even more pressure.

Cordero pitched 1.1 innings, allowed 2 BB and 1 hit. That hit was painful. Jason Heyward, the Braves rookie, drove home two runs on a 3-2 fastball. Reds left fielder Jonny Gomes, not known for his glove, made a valiant attempt, but kicked the ball. That hit provided the Braves with the 6-4 win. Martin Prado, All-Star second baseman, was injured on his slide. But the real damage was done by the rook.

What makes last night even more painful is that the Reds had their shots to win it late themselves.

Coming to the plate in the bottom of the 8th, down 4-3 and the NL MVP (at this point of the season, this cannot be argued) Joey Votto homers off Braves lefty Jonny Venters. Scott Rolen follows with a double. Gomes flies out to right and Rolen advances to third. 90 feet away with only one out. Jay Bruce strikes out swinging and Drew Stubbs “hit into” a ground out (2-3 if you were scoring) to end the 8th.

The Braves were retired 1-2-3 in the top of the 9th, but not without heroics from “defensive” replacement Chris Heisey. Heisey robbed Brooks Conrad (he of the famous walk off grand slam against Cordero off of Nix’s glove…) of a homer that would have given Atlanta a 5-4 lead.

And Heisey gave the Reds a chance to win in the bottom of the 9th. After Ramon Hernandez scorched at ball at Martin Prado (one out), Heisey singled. He advanced to second on a Brandon Phillips ground out. Orlando Cabrera had a chance. That went by when Cabrera, who had questioned a couple of strike calls from home pate umpire Bob Davidson, tipped strike three in the glove of Brian McCann. Cabrera gave a piece of his mind to Davidson and was tossed. He was replaced in the field by Paul Janish.

Bottom of the 10th with Billy Wagner in the game. After striking out Votto, Wagner allowed a double to Scott Rolen. It was Rolen’s third hit of the night. Wagner then hit Gomes to put runners on first and second. Reds manager Dusty Baker took down Janish for Miguel Cairo. Cairo has been the rock for the Reds. He would come up a bit short on this night as Cairo hit a ball hard, but right at Melky Cabrera. That put the game in the hands of Drew Stubbs.

I’ve been a bit rough on Stubbs for displaying an increasing ability to strike out. Three guesses what hapened. Yessir, Stubbs struck out. Ball game.

There was one glaring pitching star last night. Logan Ondrusek. Ondrusek was sent down in late April after the Dodgers blasted him for 4 runs. Since his return, you couldn’t ask for any better. In 24 appearances, here’s what Ondrusek has accomplished: 24 IP, 12 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 6 BB, 17 K. That covers the months of June and July. That’s an ERA of 0.75 for the last two months and he has lowered his ERA for the season from 11.88 to 3.38. His WHIP was 2.125 upon his demotion. For the June-July timeframe, 0.750. That 2.125 WHIP is now down to 1.094. Ondrusek is making awfully difficult to justify being sent down if and when Russ Springer and/or Jason Isringhausen are ready for big league play.

The Reds will try to bounce back with a nationally televised affair today. Start time is 4:10 PM ET. The scheduled pitching matchup is Jair Jurrjens (3-3, 4.37 ERA) v. Bronson Arroyo (10-6, 4.21 ERA). Hopefully, Arroyo will fare better than in his last two outings (0-2, 6.59 ERA). Upon checking on, single seats are still available. Good ones, too. Standing Room Only tix aren’t available through the site. And the first 30,000 receive a Homer Bailey bobblehead. Just make sure to put a band-aid on his shoulder…

Game Notes:
Stubbs was 0-for-5 on the night. Despite being the most productive #7 hitter in the NL (HR and RBI), Stubbs watched his batting average tumble to .232 on the season…The combo of Votto and Rolen accounted for 6 of the Reds 11 hits. Votto added 4 points to his NL leading .326 average and with his homer, he now has 27. That, too, leads the NL…The same combination had 3 of the 4 RBI for the night…Johnny Cueto was not sharp last night. Of the 104 pitches he threw, only 64 were for strikes. It was like watching a carbon copy of Edinson Volquez in his last outing…Take away Cordero’s performance and the bullpen was once again fantastic. 3.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K. With Coco’s line added in: 4.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K.