Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….
San Diego 3
W: T. Ross (3-5)
L: T. Cingrani (5-2)
S: H. Street (22)
–This Reds team is just sloppy. Night after night, they make mistakes you wouldn’t expect out of a good Little League team. I don’t know who to blame for that, but it is a fact.
–Jack Hannahan, starting at 3B tonight, committed three errors and had no hits in three ABs, but did hit into a double play. As ugly a game as you’ll see anyone have in the major leagues.
–Xavier Paul couldn’t outdo Hannahan, but he tried. Paul committed an error and had an awful TOOTBLAN, a terrific baserunning blunder that cost the Reds an out when they had a chance to score some runs. With runners on first and third, Paul (at first) inexplicably took off running for second on a short fly to right field. It was an easy out for a double play that essentially ran the Reds right out of the inning.
–Manny Parra gave up two hits and a run in two-thirds of an inning. He’s been so good lately, we’ll give him a break on this one.
–A completely winnable game, and the Reds just gave it away. You just can’t do that at this point in the season, if you expect to be a contender.
–Do the Reds really make more mistakes on the basepaths than any other Reds team of recent vintage, or is that just my memory playing tricks on me?
–Tony Cingrani wasn’t bad: five innings, no earned runs allowed on two hits and two walks. The only reason Cingrani got the loss was that Hannahan and Paul combined to allow two unearned runs to score in the first. He could have pitched longer if two innings weren’t extended by the errors committed behind him, causing Cingrani’s pitch count to rise as he had to collect four or five outs in an inning.
–There was some frustration with Dusty Baker over his decision to start Hannahan at third base instead of Todd Frazier. As much as I hate to defend Dusty, any such criticism seems to me to be overblown. First, Dusty generally does a pretty good job of making sure the bench guys play — and they have to play sometimes — as a strategy for keeping the starters fresh. Dusty also had his reasons, something to do with San Diego starter Tyson Ross’s pitch repertoire (namely the slider) and Frazier’s particular weaknesses as a hitter. I gotta give Dusty the benefit of the doubt about that. He has more information than I do.
The criticism that made me laugh the most, however, was that Dusty was sitting the hot hand in favor of an inferior player. After all, Frazier went 2-4 last night with a double, a walk, and three runs scored!
Now, I will concede that Frazier is a better player than Hannahan. I’ll even agree that starting Hannahan was the reason the Reds lost, even if I think it was a perfectly defensible decision by Dusty. But don’t use that lame argument about Dusty sitting a guy just as he’s getting hot. Frazier, you may know, is the same guy who was 2-for-his-last-35, even after last night. Give me a break.
–When you start to complain about Joey Votto not swinging at a ball outside the zone, repeat this to yourself: “Joey Votto knows more about hitting than I do.” (Someone forward this to Marty Brennaman.)