Cincinnati Reds Offense Performs Disappearing Act


Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Splitting the day-night doubleheader, the Cincinnati Reds fell to the San Diego Padres during the nightcap 6-1.

Much in the same way that Johnny Cueto gave the Padres little chance of hope in the day portion of the doubleheader, Tyson Ross stymied Reds’ bats in the night portion.

Despite only going down in order to Ross just once the entire evening, not a single member of the Reds lineup seemed to be comfortable in the box against the tall right-hander—the exact opposite of earlier in the day.

After pounding out 14 hits in the day game, they came back with just three in a miserable offensive performance against Ross and the Padres.

While there were a litany of substitutions made in lieu of the second game, the drastic dip in production with the bats serves as a reminder to the type of roller coaster ride Reds fans have been sent on this season. Just when the team seems to take a step forward, they take two more back.

Getting the ball in an emergency start situation was former Colorado Rockie and current Louisville Bats member, Jeff Francis. The lanky, Canadian left-hander’s career always remains in a cloud of doubt and circumstance, as he is the shining example of what Coors Field can do to a pitcher’s career.

Although he did not let the floodgates open, he did not exactly do a brilliant job on the hill. Going just five innings, even the fifteen outs he recorded were of the nail-biting variety. In the second inning, backup catcher Rene Rivera teed up a fastball and blasted off, giving the Padres an early 2-1 lead that they would never surrender.

Chase Headley drove in a run in the top of the third to push San Diego out ahead 3-1, before Francis retired seven of the last eight batters he would face. Over his five innings of work, he allowed three runs on five hits, while striking out four. Had he not been the beneficiary of some stellar defensive plays, Francis’ evening could have been much worse.

Statistically speaking, the Reds have the second worst bullpen in all of the National League. Whether or not that is true is to be seen, but judging by the eye test, that could not be further from the truth.

However, the trio of Logan Ondrusek, Sean Marshall and Sam LeCure each got an inning in relief, and each allowed a run. Stuck with the job of keeping the offense within striking distance, one man after the other failed. Curiously enough, the only reliever to get through an inning without giving up a run: J.J. Hoover.

In back-to-back innings, Everth Cabrera and Yonder Alonso both hit their first home runs of the season at the expense of Reds’ relief pitching. Not only did they take advantage of the pitching, but also were it not for the ballpark, they would still be round tripper-less. Both Cabrera and Alonso hit balls that would have either fallen lazily into gloves, or hit up against the wall back home in the cavernous Petco Park out in San Diego.

For the third time in the last four games, Billy Hamilton has come around to score after getting on base to leadoff the game for the Redlegs. He stole second and third with relative ease, even beating out a pitchout to swipe second. Even though Hamilton’s run would be the only to cross the plate for the Reds, at the time, it was exhilarating to watch.

Dropping two out of three at home to San Diego may not currently dig in the crawl of the Reds, but as the season progresses, they will look for instances where they could have picked up an extra win or two and look directly at this series at home against a beatable Padres club.

Now, they head out east for a short two-series road trip that begins in Philadelphia on Friday night.

At 7:10 p.m., Alfredo Simon will get the ball in opposition of Phillies’ starter Kyle Kendrick, who is winless thus far in 2014. Looking to keep that trend going for at least another game, the win on Friday looms large as Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee are waiting for the Reds in the remainder of the series.