Reds Can’t Complete Comeback, Fall 10-9 in Slugfest With Nationals

Jun 5, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Washington Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy (20) scores a run ahead of the tag from Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Daniel Wright (41) during the fifth inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 5, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Washington Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy (20) scores a run ahead of the tag from Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Daniel Wright (41) during the fifth inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports /
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Pitching meltdowns and defensive gaffes means a Reds sweep of the Nationals wasn’t meant to be.

Based on the scoring the Reds did early in Sunday’s game, including a bases-clearing double from Ivan De Jesus Jr. in the second inning, it looked like they were on their way to a sweep of the NL-East leading Washington Nationals. But alas, the same problems that have plagued the Reds all season reared their ugly heads again. The Nationals absolved that early lead in the fourth, scoring five runs to tie the game and adding to that with three in the fifth and two in the sixth.

The Reds tried to come back in the ninth against Jonathan Papelbon. Tyler Holt led off with a single, Joey Votto walked and Brandon Phillips had an RBI double. Jay Bruce was intentionally walked to load the bases with none out, but the next three hitters of Adam Duvall, pinch-hitter Zack Cozart and De Jesus Jr. popped out, struck out and flied out, respectively, to end the game with a 10-9 loss.

Moscot Likely Seals Fate

Jon Moscot started off well, allowing only one baserunner through the first three innings. Then the fourth inning happened. After allowing a one-out hit to Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy obliterated a ball that went three-fourths of the way up the Sun Deck in right field. The Nationals would go on to tie the game with three more runs on four hits and an intentional walk.

Moscot did not make it out of the fourth, giving up five hits and five runs, with three strikeouts. His only walk was an intentional free pass to Danny Espinosa. In four starts now this season, his ERA is above seven, with a WHIP of 1.70. Moscot needed a good start Sunday to stay in the rotation, but it looks like he could be the odd man out when Anthony DeSclafani returns this week.

Shaky Defense

Part of the Reds problem Sunday was the shaky defense that allowed the Nationals to take the lead. Duvall could have made a sliding catch in left field off the bat of Harper to lead off the fifth, but it hit his glove and bounced away. Later in the inning, the Nationals had bases loaded and on a ground ball to Eugenio Suarez, he threw home for the force out. Tucker Barnhart missed the ball and it allowed two runs to score. Suarez could have made a better throw home, but it was definitely a catchable ball, and thus the reason Barnhart was given the two-run error.

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Bruce Hits Another One

Bruce hit a three-run bomb to the sun deck off Felipe Rivero in the eighth, drawing the Reds to within two. It was about waist-high and inside, exactly where Bruce likes it, and he crushed it. It’s Bruce’s second home run in the past two games and his fourth in the last seven. He has 13 home runs and 40 RBI, with a .280 average and an OPS of .904. He’s on pace for 36 home runs and 113 RBI.

Per Jamie Ramsey of the Reds’ media relations department, Bruce’s home run was his 57th against left-handed pitching since 2010. It’s the second highest total in the major leagues, behind only Albert Pujols.

Notes:

  • Every position player in the starting eight had a hit except for Votto. However, Votto did reach base twice via two walks late in the game.
  • If you’re looking for good defensive plays, Bruce threw Harper out at third base in the fifth. His throwing arm is one of the more underrated arms in baseball.
  • J.C. Ramirez left the game in the fifth after being hit in the leg by a line drive. The Reds announced later that he has a bruised right quad. Do we see another roster move tomorrow because of it?