The Same Old Song and Dance

Last evening’s 4-3 loss to the Houston Astros was the 2011 season in a nutshell. Surrendering early inning runs (this time in the 2nd inning) and a failure to provide that clutch hit. For the game, Reds batters were 3-for-17 in that now evil RISP stat. And yes, the Reds have ample opportunities to score far more than 3 measly runs.

If you look at the game log and not the boxscore, you will have noticed the ever-annoying trend of llack of clutch hitting. For the ten innings that were played, the Reds had a runner on second base with either no outs or only one out seven times. I repeat, seven. I am in no way making a reference to the flick, but it’s just as scary.

Look for yourself…

1st inning: Drew Stubbs leads off the game with a single and is sacrificed over to second by the #2 hitter Miguel Cairo. Stubbs moves to third after Joey Votto ground out to the right side of the infield. Brandon Phillips grounds out to end the inning.

2nd inning: Again, a Red opens the inning with a base hit as Jay Bruce doubles to deep center. He moves to third on another deep fly (an out)by Yonder Alonso. Ryan Hanigan whiffs, Paul Janish is intentionally walked and Bronson Arroyo tried to bunt his way on base, but is thrown out for out #3.

3rd inning: Stubbs begins a inning once again with a single and then steals second. Cairo fails to move him to third as he grounds out third to first. Votto picks him up with a double. First run on the game for the good guys. Phillips follows with a single, driving in Votto and cutting the Astros lead to 3-2. Bruce swings at a third strike (on a full count) and BP out thrown out trying to steal. Inning over. Right play, bad result.

4th inning: With one out, Hanigan is walked and Janish delivers a double. Runners at second and third. Arroyo grounds out to pitcher Bud Norris and Stubbs pops out to the second baseman.

5th inning: The Reds have bases loaded (singles by Cairo, Votto, and BP)and NO outs here. Bruce promptly hits into a double play as the Astros allow Cairo to score and Votto moves to third. Alonso is walked, but Hanigan pops out. Bases loaded, only one run. Ugh!

6th inning (sense a pattern yet?): Janish strokes his second double of the game to start it all off. Arroyo lays down a sacrifice bunt to move Janish to third. Stubbs whiffs and Cairo flies out.

the 7th and 8th innings were 1-2-3 innings, but the 9th started with promise…

9th inning: Chris Heisey in a pinch-hitting role bunts for a single. He is moved to second on a sacrifice by Stubbs. Cairo pops out once again, Votto is walked, and BP strikes out.

I’m all for moving runners over and playing a little small ball, but to have as many bunts as the Reds did last night is on the verge of irritating. Sure, Houston had an unproven guy (Jimmy Paredes) playing at third and Carlos Lee at first (no Gold Glover there), but the Reds gave the Astros four outs on three sacrifices and Arroyo’s attempt to get on with a bunt hit. All the sacrifices were successful, and I understand Arroyo’s sacrifice. But you gave them, in essence, four freakin’ outs!

And now, the Reds sit 7.5 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers. And the Brew Crew is streaking…