More Rain, More Losing; Cincinnati Reds Fall 4-3


Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Another day, another one-run loss. 

Falling by a score of 4-3 at the hands of the New York Mets, giving them their first victory of the season, certainly does not sit well in the present, but the important fact is that nothing seemed awry. 

Outside of Billy Hamilton being thrown out by backup catcher Anthony Recker (on an incredibly wet infield, may I add) on what was a perfect throw (the only thing that can nab Hamilton), Reds fans don’t have much to complain about.  With runners at first and second and only one out in the ninth, everyone would have liked to see Joey Votto drive in at least the tying run, but alas, he cannot get a hit every time he comes to the plate.  Those clamoring for him to “drive in more runs” because that’s what he’s “paid to do,” saw Votto extend his zone, and watched as he popped out to left field on a pitch that was clearly a ball. 

As a side note for those who were not in attendance tonight, it was frigid at Citi Field this evening.  Everything from sideways rain to temperatures that had me hiding inside my sweatshirt for warmth, it was the furthest thing from a nice night for baseball.  Every player besides Joey Votto loaded up with long sleeves for the Reds, and that’s more than likely only because they’re permitted from wearing ski jackets on the field.  Hitting the ball off anything but the sweet spot of the bat must have felt like hitting a weighted medicine ball with a wiffleball bat.

What in the world is so wrong about letting Jay Bruce just drive everyone in?  Doesn’t everyone want to yell “BRUUUUUCE” as he knocks in over a 100 runs this season?  When batting behind Joey Votto, he’s going to have an amply amount of opportunities to do exactly what he did tonight; drive in every run for the team. 

In the top of the third, Bruce laced in Roger Bernadina after a Joey Votto walk extended the inning.  Later on in the contest, Bruce added to his lead for most home runs off left-handed pitching when he crushed a John Lannan offering over the fence in right center to cut the lead to 4-3, where it would end up.  Of course, help from his teammates would be encouraged, but watching Bruce be the masher who brings everyone around is not necessarily a bad way to spend a summer. 

For the second night in a row, the Reds starting pitcher that took the hill went out with less than their full arsenal.  Mike Leake could not locate his fastball for the life of him tonight, relying heavily on his changeup.  His stat line does not reflect a particularly rough evening, but much like his counterpart Jenrry Mejia, things could have been much, much worse. 

Outside of his two bad pitches to Lucas Duda that were deposited in various locations beyond the right field wall, Leake danced around trouble all night.  Finishing just an out shy of a seven-inning effort, Leake was unquestionably shaken by the freezing temperatures.  A California kid who pitched at Arizona State is not built for the misery of a New York winter that’s having trouble transitioning into spring. 

I was thinking of leaving alone the fact that Curtis Granderson hit a three-hop infield double in the bottom of the fourth inning, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  For the now fifth time in just four games, the Reds have been burned by the left-handed batters shift, which sees only Todd Frazier west of the second base bag.  On a ball that would be been easily gloved and flipped over to first before Granderson would have gotten into a slow jog, it rolled down the left-field line so slowly it was Frazier who got to it first, just to watch the newest Met slide into second with an infield double.  Say what you will about percentages, but if there is a shift designed because a batter is a pull hitter, you have to continue to pitch them there.  It is completely illogical and nonsensical to put on a shift that protects your defense against the pull, and then proceed to pepper the outside corner, where even the most inexperienced hitter can slap a ball to where there are no fielders.  The Reds, and baseball in general, will not disperse of this idea any time soon, and they shouldn’t, because it does work; there just needs to be a more realistic approach to what teams expect.

Good news, bad news situation: The good, the weather is supposed to be pristine the next few days.  Heck, I may even sun tan in the stands with one of my “bad” Reds hats on (really though, check out the picture on Twitter I posted from this afternoon, are they that ugly?).  The bad, Jenrry Mejia was the most beatable pitcher the Reds are going to see the next two days.  Both Dillon Gee and Jon Niese are serviceable pitchers, but I wouldn’t take either over any of the five starters the Reds have. 

With a 1:10 P.M. start tomorrow, you can rise and shine early on Saturday to watch Billy Hamilton make his return to the lineup.  Even when he’s 0-for-12, he becomes can’t miss TV because you’re hanging on his every move.  I would expect Chris Heisey to be in left field (we may be seeing the same thing we saw with Scott Rolen and Todd Frazier towards the end of Rolen’s career—no day games after night games) for Ryan Ludwick, and maybe even Tucker Barnhart catching one of the next two days.

The one certainty is Johnny Cueto taking the bump.  Cueto’s 2-1 with a 4.24 ERA in 17 innings pitched at Citi Field, but he did look outstanding on Opening Day. He’ll be looking to bring his “A” game tomorrow to help the Reds avoid a mini-three game slide that would send Reds Country into a tailspin.