W: Villarreal (3-1)
L: Chapman (4-2)
S: Valverde (12)
It looked so good for the Reds at first. They chased the starter after the third (with the help of a blister), they were enjoying a solid bounce-back performance from Homer Bailey, and they were rocking a 4-run lead. If only we could just remember this game as it was in the sixth inning.
Bailey took the mound for the Reds, having just come off that unfortunate performance against the Pirates last week. But he put together a respectable start last night. In 6.2 innings pitched he allowed 3 runs (earned) on 6 hits and 2 walks. He had two outs in the seventh but when he let Berry get a single, Dusty Baker couldn’t keep his dirty little fingers out of the pie any longer and yanked him for Jose Arredondo.
Arredondo promptly walked Miguel Cabrera and got the hook himself. Sean Marshall was the next mismanaged pitcher, who gave up a hit to Prince Fielder and was unceremoniously yanked. Logan Ondrusek then came in to get the last out of the inning.
Now, to me, walking Cabrera isn’t exactly a crime. Nor is giving up a hit to Fielder. These are things that happen basically every day when teams are playing the Tigers. For a guy who’s supposed to be a players’ manager, sticking two guys with a line that says “couldn’t get an out” seems like kind of a jerk thing to do.
Myself, I would have given Bailey one more guy. Even if he gave up the home run the Reds still would have had the lead and the whole situation wouldn’t have reeked of overmanagement.
Of course, the pitching situation didn’t get blown-save ugly until the eighth inning. Ondrusek came back out to face two batters and gave up another run. So what do you do when you can’t leave the pitchers alone for a minute in the eighth inning in a save situation? Say your save word, of course: Chapman.
Aroldis Chapman, however, was not his usual self for his second outing in a row. He allowed 2 runs (earned) on 2 hits and a walk. This put Baker in a tough situation. He’d already played his ace and lost.
But the reliever everyone forgot about, Alfredo Simon, valiantly took the mound. He threw a one-hit ninth and even struck a guy out. And it’s hard to imagine that the Tigers were going easy on him, with just a one-run lead. So, good for Simon.
For the offense, Todd Frazier was all ready to take his turn as hero. He went 2-for-4 with 4 RBI and a 2-run home run in the sixth that extended the lead to 6-2.
Zack Cozart and Devin Mesoraco also contributed solo shots to the scoring total. Jay Bruce walked twice. Joey Votto, on the other hand, when 0-for-4, breaking his 15 game hitting streak.
The loss brings the Reds’ record to 32-27 and opened the door just enough for the Pirates to swashbuckle their way into a share of first place. The Reds have an off day today to think about what they’ve done before hosting the Cleveland Indians tomorrow. Johnny Cueto (6-3, 2.63 ERA) goes against Jeanmar Gomes (4-4, 4.97 ERA) at 7:10 p.m.