Regular reader Eric Weiner went to Saturday night’s game in L.A., and was good enough to send us this great account of the game and some pictures. Thanks to Eric, and the same invitation is open to anyone attending the games in San Diego this week.
The foreshadowing for Saturday night’s game against the Dodgers came on the Friday night ESPN Baseball Tonight show. The question was, “Will the Brewers win the NL Central?” Two of the show’s analysts said yes and the other said no the Cardinals will win the division. Asking about the other teams, the host wanted to know if anyone thought the Pirates or Astros have a chance. In short, the entire studio cast of Baseball Tonight didn’t even acknowledge the Reds play in the division and after watching Saturday night’s debacle, I’m not so sure I can disagree with them.
After beginning the game with what looked to be an offensive flurry against arguably the best pitcher in baseball right now, Brad Penny, the Reds only managed one run for the inning. From there Penny dominated and Kyle Lohse struggled. Playing as aggressively as possible, the Dodgers hit and run consistently and tried stealing at every opportunity. Strategically countering, the Reds swung at most first pitchers and had 17 of their batters retired in a row at one point.
The 4th inning summed up this season in Reds baseball thus far, as the inning became extended due to Adam Dunn lackadaisically failing to get to a short fly ball that he should have caught (after horribly misplaying an earlier fly ball). Then Lohse had a meltdown, compounding one mistake into many more, intentionally walking Andy LaRoche to load the bases with two outs. Penny came up to bat and Lohse quite unintentionally sent Penny to first base as he walked in a run by failing to throw strikes to the other team’s pitcher. A few singles and five runs later the 4th inning, Kyle Lohse’s night, and the Reds’ chances ended.
If you looked closely enough, there were three semi-bright spots for the Reds. Jared Burton appeared relatively sharp in his one inning of relief, although the game was over by that point so the gauge is subjective. Also, Jeff Keppinger started the game at third base and played an outstanding defensive game in every regard. The one drawback is that he might still be hitting .000 in late June. The most encouraging aspect of the game was undoubtedly the number of Reds fans who came out to support the team. Cincinnati hats, jackets, jerseys, and shirts were heavily scattered throughout the 51,000 people in attendance; and so, despite our horrific performance on the field, which is probably too kind a description, I am still proud to be a Reds fan.