No Brotherly Love in Sight for Cincinnati Reds


Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

After jumping out to an early lead, the Cincinnati Reds were clobbered by the Philadelphia Phillies who broke out of a weeklong slump with a 12-1 drubbing on Saturday night.

For half an inning, the Reds were ahead. Now the fifth time in the last six games the Reds have gotten on the board in their first crack at-bat, they added just a single run. In order to keep up with Phillies batters, they needed to add a whole lot more.

Ahead of his insertion back to the second spot in the batting order, Zack Cozart had been hitting over .300 the past two weeks down in the number eight spot. His double with an out in the first that eventually became the Reds only run on the night may not cement him in that spot, but he saved the club from being shutout.

Pitcher’s duels have become the norm in 2014, an occurrence once of the rare breed with rotations of Cincinnati Reds past. It seemed Homer Bailey was on his way to a duel with Cole Hamels entering the bottom of the fourth with the Reds ahead 1-0. Then, it was as if someone cut out Bailey’s breaks while he was going 100 MPH down the freeway.

A walk to Ryan Howard to open the inning seemed innocuous enough. Howard has drawn over 600 walks throughout his career; another one to lead off an inning would be a blip on the radar. The only problem for Bailey was the next four hitters not only getting base hits, but straight up scorching the ball.

To pinpoint one pitch that spelled the doom of Bailey’s night would be his 0-2 fastball to Cody Asche. Bailey missed on the inside corner and Asche fouled it straight back—Bailey had gotten lucky. As to why he threw the exact same pitch again (and missed his spot), no one has the answer to, but it gave the Phillies a 2-1 lead they would only increase.

Falling behind fastball masher Dominic Brown 3-0, seemed like the occasion to throw anything but a fastball down the chute. As you can tell by the ball that nearly crash-landed in your living room, Bailey threw one down the chute.

Bailey would not escape the inning. Going for just 3.2 innings of work, it seems to be back to the drawing board for the newly christened $105 million man.

Much was made about the lack of punch the batting order possessed at the onset of the game. With Cole Hamels on the mound for the Phillies, it is quite possible not even the Big Red Machine would have had much success.

Getting his first win in 2014, Hamels breezed through the Reds lineup following the first inning, allowing just a walk to Homer Bailey in the second and a base hit to Neftali Soto in the fourth. Had the Phillies not piled on more runs following the seventh, Hamels may have even had an inclination to finish the contest himself.

Not counting the first frame, the Reds compiled a whopping two walks and a single base hit all evening. While it did not much matter how many runs were scored, the continued offensive slump is becoming a concern. With no Joey Votto and Jay Bruce in the middle of the order for at least the next few weeks, the onus is placed on the shoulders of the other offensive thumpers to find a way to get some runs to cross the plate in innings other than the first.

Working in their now designated mop-up roles, Logan Ondrusek and J.J. Hoover kept the Phillies scoreless over their 2.1 innings of work.

Falling as flat as his slider, was Sean Marshall. Although he claims to have recovered from his shoulder injury, it has become glaringly apparent that this is not the same Sean Marshall the Reds are accustomed to summoning out of the bullpen. With flat sliders and fastballs straight as arrows, Marshall is being hit—and hit hard.

The victim of a five-run outburst by Philadelphia in the seventh, Marshall watched his ERA skyrocket up over 12 as the Phillies mushroom clouded their lead up to 11-1. Not even escaping his own inning, Marshall turned it over to Sam LeCure.

A moment that will be unequivocally be lost in Reds’ fans memory is the shot Cesar Hernandez had off LeCure in the bottom of the eighth to tack on yet another run to the 12-1 total, but for Hernandez, it will be a moment he never forgets. The first Major League home run for the utility infielder from Venezuela served as a thorn in the side of the man known affectionately as, Mr. LeCure.

There is not a whole lot to take away from the Reds pounding at the hands of the Phillies tonight, except the bright side that it was not 22-1, a la July 6, 2009. (The pitchers for the Reds that night: Johnny Cueto, Daniel Ray Herrera, Nick Masset, Carlos Fisher, Josh Roenicke and Paul Janish. For the Phillies? Cole Hamels.)

With the ol’ rubber match taking place on Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m., Tony Cingrani makes his much anticipated return to the hill in opposition of Philadelphia ace, Cliff Lee. The two southpaws should provide a much more even, competitive matchup.