Call me unsurprised.
Tim Melville (26) was making his second major league start after producing an ERA of 4.75 over seven seasons in the minor leagues. Melville had been released by the Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers the past two seasons before the Reds signed him as a free agent this off-season. He’s as much one of the best fifteen starting pitchers in the organization as you are.
Carlos Martinez retired the Reds in the first inning on six pitches. It took Melville ten pitches to throw a strike and 35 to record three outs. By the end of the first inning, the outcome was so certain the BFIB™ didn’t bother to boo Brandon Phillips when he batted in the second inning.
FanGraphs had the Cardinals win expectancy at 91 percent, which seemed low.
After Melville’s three innings, the Reds turned to a pitcher who had just been waived by the last place San Diego Padres. After Dan Straily finished three innings, the Reds brought in a pitcher who hadn’t even found a team that would let him try out in spring training. Jumbo Diaz pitched the eighth and he, like all the others, gave up a home run.
Repeat after me: Service time. Arbitration clocks. Injuries. Reboot. They have a plan in a binder. Service time. Arbitration clocks. Injuries. Reboot. They have a plan in a binder. Service time. Arbitration clocks. Injuries. Reboot. The binder.
Those of a certain age may remember when the Reds were 5-1. You might also recall a few annoying, delusional souls who insisted the team’s record was evidence the rest of us were selling these Reds short. 5-1 was proof this was a post-season team we were watching.
Those people also thought “To the last, I grapple with thee; From Hell’s heart, I stab at thee; For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee.” was a clever Star Trek original.
If you’ve been paying attention to current events, you know the Reds have been outscored 36-9 on this road trip. With one or two exceptions, the Reds pitching has been disgraceful. A decidedly non-fictional monstrosity.
There is a wisdom that is woe; but there is a woe that is madness.
Tim Melville is still in obsessive pursuit of an all-too-elusive good start. (Insert forced references to wooden legs, harpoons, etc.) Over seven innings in his two starts he has walked seven batters. Surely it’s time for Melville to give up the spear.
With the exception of one pitch, it was Carlos Martinez who pitched a whale of a game. Martinez was cruising in the third inning and made the mistake of throwing a pitch over the middle of the plate to Joseph Daniel Votto. The 3-run shot was Votto’s first homer of the year.
Compounding Melville’s first inning meltdown was porous defense by Eugenio Suarez. The Reds third baseman let a routine ground ball go right between his legs. Marty Brennaman opined that Suarez’s defense has been “woefully lacking.” It’s hard to argue with that. On the other hand, Suarez is new to third base and the Reds don’t really have another option.
Billy Hamilton made more than a couple stellar defensive plays, including a breathtaking leap over the centerfield fence to rob Matt Carpenter of a home run. Hamilton himself prevented several more Cardinal runs.
Here’s hoping the Rebuild Binder contains a few pages that work out the science involved in making a single player combining Suarez’s offense and Hamilton’s defense.
Plenty of good health news to pass along. Mark Sheldon reports that Anthony DeSclafani’s bullpen session went well today and the pitcher will face live batting practice on Monday. Doug Gray tweeted that Alex Blandino was activated and sent to Pensacola. C. Trent Rosecrans talked to Devin Mesoraco who said he’s feeling much better and expects to play soon. Mark Sheldon says Mesoraco has been sidelined with muscle soreness, nothing structural. And Rosecrans also reports that Homer Bailey will pitch 3 innings in an extended spring training game on Saturday and John Lamb will pitch for Louisville tomorrow.
We can only pray when a few of those pitchers join the club, the Reds can rid themselves of Alfredo Simon. His presence on the roster tarnishes the team in more ways than one.
(This might be a bad time to mention our fund-raiser, but you can buy Redleg Nation t-shirts and jersey patches for a few more days.)
Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.