Cincinnati Reds: Bats Wake Up, Lead Reds to Victory

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

Cincinnati Reds snap 4-game losing streak.

It wasn’t an easy win, but the Cincinnati Reds bats took advantage of a still-recovering Adam Wainwright in defeating the Cardinals 9-8 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Saturday. Zack Cozart led the way, going 3-4 with two RBI and two doubles. Brandon Phillips also contributed going 2-4 with two RBI and also two doubles. But the big blast of the game was a ninth inning home run by Jay Bruce, giving the shaky-at-best Reds bullpen an insurance run it would need.

Brandon Finnegan wasn’t as sharp as he has been the past couple of games, going five innings and giving up four runs, all unearned, and four walks. Still, it wasn’t a bad day for Finnegan, who as most young pitchers do, continues to run high pitch counts.

Here are some other takeaways from today’s game:

The Bullpen Continues Its Woes

Once again, the bullpen continues to be bad. After the Reds scored four runs in the top of the sixth to take an 8-4 lead, it was still a challenge for the Reds bullpen to hold the lead. Blake Wood, who overall has pitched well, gave up one run in the bottom of the sixth. Caleb Cotham also gave up a run in the seventh, but it was unearned after Randal Grichuk reached second when Cotham threw the ball away on a pickoff attempt and was driven in by Jedd Gyorko.

Then in the bottom of the ninth the rough season continued for J.J. Hoover. Matt Holiday led off with a double. After striking out Grichuk and Yadier Molina grounding out for two outs in the inning, Hoover then gave up a home run to Brandon Moss to bring the Cards within one. The trouble didn’t end there as he then walked the next batter. Finally, he was able to get Aledmys Diaz to pop out to Devin Mesoraco for the final out. Diaz would have been out anyway as he interfered with Mesoraco. The Reds held on for the 9-8 win and Hoover got his first save for the season.

Despite the save, it is quickly looking like Bryan Price should move towards a closer by committee versus having a dedicated closer.  Hoover has pitched well most of his career except in years where he was put in the closer role. In theory, it shouldn’t make a difference, but it is looking like Hoover can’t handle the pressure of that role. J.J. is an awesome person so it is very tough not to root for him. However it is time to evaluate his future role in this bullpen.

Much-Improved Reds Bench Gives Price Options

This year’s bench for the Reds has given Bryan Price much better options for both resting regulars and in game substitutions. Today, he was able to rest Billy Hamilton, who not only is having a rough start at the plate, but also is 0-for-7 against Wainwright in his career. Also, Jordan Pacheco gave a timely hit in the sixth, which helped lead the Reds to a four-run inning.

Other Notes:

  • Cozart continues to swing a hot bat.  After today’s game, he is hitting .480/.464/.640 in 25 at-bats.
  • Brandon Phillips is performing well at the plate but has missed some defensive plays we are used to being routine for him. Today, he was unable to turn what should have been a fairly easy double play.
  • Mesoraco returned to the lineup today and had a double. He is still struggling at the plate, going 1-for-4, but raising his average for the season to .125.
  • After today’s win the Reds move to 6-5 and are now tied for second place with the Cardinals but three games back from the first-place Cubs.
  • Jon Moscot will make his debut tomorrow against Michael Wacha of the Cards. First pitch is at 2:15 p.m. ET.