When the Reds jumped out to a 5-0 lead the collective Redleg Nation mind began to boggle.
An improbable five-game winning streak for a last-place club. Searches for pictures of statues holding brooms. Joy over a series sweep against a first-place team, Dusty Baker’s first-place team.
The absurd notion that the Reds might be an OK team crept into our win-starved brains.
But then the Rebuild Binder and Disabled List report showed up. They come fully equipped with generous helpings of poor pitching depth, shoddy defense and five-plus innings of the bullpen. Toss in the bad breaks and cheap hits that afflict mediocrity.
Factors that prevent nine runs from being enough.
Put away the brooms Reds fans and fast forward to the slide in PowerPoint presentation that addresses ten unanswered runs.
Oh yeah, bring on the Cardinals (Tuesday).
Big Second Inning Ivan De Jesus Jr. got the Reds on the board in the bottom of the second. Following a walk by Jay Bruce, and singles by Adam Duvall and Eugenio Suarez, De Jesus lined a double to the left field corner, clearing the bases. Tucker Barnhart singled and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jon Moscot. Tyler Holt drove in two runs with a hit to center field, staking the Reds to an early 5-0 lead. Holt had a 3-hit, 1-walk day.
Lead Lost Jon Moscot began by throwing three perfect innings. But then his lack of command made him unable to finish the fourth. After recording outs on the first two batters, Moscot started to fall behind hitters and had to groove too many pitches. “You make a sub-.200 hitter look awfully good when you have to throw him a 3-1 fastball down the middle of the plate,” observed Jeff Brantley. By the time the Reds came to bat in the bottom of the fourth, a 5-0 lead had become a 5-5 tie.
Key Defensive Play With the score tied 5-5, the Nationals loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth. Anthony Rendon hit a routine ground ball to Eugenio Suarez at third base. Suarez threw home for the force place and Tucker Barnhart couldn’t hold on, allowing two runs to score. Barnhart was charged with the error, but the throw from Suarez did him no favors. It arrived to the plate about six inches off the ground and down the first base line. A good throw or a clean pick may allow a double play and get the Reds out of the inning.
Bruce Blast Jay Bruce smashed a 3-run homer in the bottom of the seventh. He now has 13 for the year. For those of you who care about this stat, he has 40 RBI which is top ten in MLB. For the rest of you, his wRC+ is 137 and OPS is .920. Bruce is building serious trade value.
The Comeback That Wasn’t Tyler Holt (!) led off the bottom of the ninth with a single. Joey Votto walked, because of course he did. Brandon Phillips lined a double down the left field line driving in Holt. The Nationals walked Jay Bruce to load the bases. The Reds needed a fly ball (or a walk, heaven forbid) to tie the game. Adam Duvall swung at the first pitch and hit a soft pop up to the shortstop. Zack Cozart swung at the three pitches he saw – all out of the strike zone – and struck out. Ivan De Jesus flew out to the left-center warning track.
Bullpen Artists Dan Wright and J.C. Ramirez gave up eight hits (no walks!) in two innings. Only three of the runs they gave up were earned. Josh Smith struck out two in 1.1 innings of work. Ross Ohlendorf gave up a double but nothing else in the eighth. Blake Wood pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.
I Read the News Today, Oh Boy The Reds announced today that when Raisel Iglesias returns to the club it will be in the bullpen. Iglesias, who was a relief pitcher in Cuba, has not proven he can manage the workload of a starting pitcher without hurting his shoulder. In better news, reports indicate that the next start for Anthony DeSclafani will be with the Reds. DeSclafani threw 85 pitches – 72 during the game and 13 more in the bullpen afterward – in his rehab start for Louisville yesterday. DeSclafani may take Jon Moscot’s spot in the rotation.
Steve grew up in Cincinnati 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. Contemporary Reds thrills: witnessing Jay Bruce’s 2010 homer and Homer Bailey’s 2013 no-hitter in person. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 280 characters about the Reds is Redleg Nation, although you can follow his tweets @spmancuso.