July 2, 2006

Game 81: Indians 12, Reds 7

The Reds spared the bullpen the focus of a loss for a change by hanging the starter out to the dry on Saturday in a 12-7 loss to the Indians.

Joe “Stopgap” Mays allowed eight runs (earned) on eleven hits and four walks through his five innings of work. Four of those runs came on a grand slam to Travis Hafner in the fifth inning.

Still, you can understand why manager Jerry Narron wasn't quicker with the hook on Mays. Though Jason Standridge put up a scoreless inning on one hit in the sixth, the next two pitchers were not so effective. Brian Shackelford allowed two runs (earned) on two hits in the seventh and Matt Belisle allowed two runs on three hits in the eighth. David Weathers worked a hitless ninth.

If the bullpen had pitched scoreless innings, the Reds would have won this game. Not because their four runs allowed were the difference, but because if we had a bullpen that could do such a thing, the starter never would have been allowed to get himself into so much trouble.

Ryan Freel had a good night, going 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored. Rich Aurilia went 2-for-5 with two runs scored. But the story of the evening was the stand-out defense. Juan Castro had one particularly phenomenal play where he made an impossibly quick flip to Freel at third for the out, though a bad call found the runner safe at third. Brandon Phillips also contributed to some excellent infield defense.

So that was nice for a change. If only they could pitch.

The loss brought the Reds' record to 44-37. They would go for the series win on Sunday when Eric Milton faced off against CC Sabathia.

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