The Padres were 30-43 before this series. The Reds have been outscored 23-8. They have to win tomorrow to avoid a humiliating 4-game sweep at home.
Promising Brandon Finnegan pitched well today. He was as close as you can get to finishing seven innings without doing so. He struck out eight and walked three. Two of the runs he gave up were at the unlikely hands of the opposing pitcher. Barring a trade, Finnegan is going to be an important piece of the next Reds contending team, whether as a starter or reliever. Lots of talent.
How Much Longer? Eugenio Suarez let the Padres first run score by not throwing home to cut down Travis Jankowski who attempted to score from third base on the contact play. The ball was hit hard and Suarez fielded it cleanly. The replay showed there was plenty of time to make the play. With the number of times the Reds have been thrown out at home on the contact play, you’d think Suarez would be familiar enough.
Nine Years in the Making The only Reds player to draw a walk in this game was Brandon Finnegan. Meanwhile, Reds pitchers issued six free passes. This is the product of having a GM for nine years who doesn’t care about OBP.
How Much Longer? Part II Brandon Phillips, who is ranked #159 out of 169 major league hitters in run creation, tried to steal third with no outs. Not a smart strategy with Jay Bruce and Adam Duvall coming up to bat. Not a smart strategy if you’ve been thrown out more times than you’ve succeeded in stealing. Phillips was out, as Marty Brennaman would say, from here to there. Yes, Phillips is still batting third. Phillips did make a nice play on a bases-loaded line drive with the infield pulled in.
Bullpen Artists Ross Ohlendorf relieved Finnegan to get the last out of the seventh. He walked the first batter he faced (no home run!) then struck out the second. Ohlendorf returned to pitch in the 8th. He walked the first batter. Then Jay Bruce dropped a fly ball on the warning track. that he should have caught. The Reds intentionally walked the bases loaded. Ohlendorf and the Reds got out of the inning when Bruce gunned down Alexi Amarista at home attempting to tag up on a fly ball. Jay giveth, Jay taketh away. Josh Smith pitched a 1-2-3 ninth. Smith is putting together a nice month of relieving. 13 innings, 13 Ks and 4 walks.
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.