“This is the kind of pitcher that if you’re in a slump, can get you out of it…it’s a good practice day.” — Phillies’ announcer Gregg Murphy about Reds starter Bronson Arroyo
On a good day, Bronson Arroyo’s fastball brushes 85 mph. He can maybe rear back and get it up to 86 or 87 as Fangraphs claims, but I’ve yet to see it happen. Against the Rockies in his last start, Arroyo served up four home run balls, taking an early exit after 5.1 innings of six-run baseball. He’s had a magnificent career only matched by his personality, but at this point in his baseball life, Bronson Arroyo is nothing more than batting practice.
After the second of today’s three solo shots off of Arroyo, Gregg Murphy announced that today was a day for the Phillies to bust out of their slumps. That batting against Arroyo would force them to focus on their mechanics and “see ball, hit ball” as it were. Michael Saunders, 2 for his last 25, did just that in the second inning, putting an Arroyo fastball in the second deck. Cesar Hernandez too, launching his fifth home run of the season as the leadoff man in the first. Tommy Joseph apparently broke a record with his dinger in the fourth:
In the end, Arroyo didn’t supply the final nail to the Reds downfall as the Phillies walked off against Michael Lorenzen with a 4-3 win over the Reds, dropping the good guys to two games below .500. Let me know when the Reds stop paying to roll out a pitching machine every fifth day.
—Zack Cozart had himself some kind of day, continuing his absurd tear to start the season. Cozart nearly hit for the cycle, finishing 4-4 with two singles, a double, a homer, and a walk. Potentially unrelated, but the last time I wrote a game recap, Billy Hamilton was just a home run away from the cycle so maybe I’m some kind of savant or good luck charm?
Can’t say I was alive when Eric Davis was around so maybe not. On the season, Cozart is now hitting .355/.433/.592, which means he should be starting the All Star Game. There’s no other option. #VoteCozart
—Billy Hamilton had a tough day at the plate, only notching one hit, but boy was it a beaut. Bunting just down the third baseline to lead off the game, Hamilton then stole second for his 26th of the year before Cozart launched a high fastball deep.
Hamilton tried the trick again in the ninth, but the bunt went pretty much right back to the pitcher, bringing Cozart up with two outs already.
—Eugenio Suarez got the rally that tied the game started with a hard single and a crafty stolen base. Without the swipe of second, Scooter Gennett’s double wouldn’t have brought home the tying run.
—Two solid innings from Austin Brice today. Faced the minimum and punched out the first guy he faced with three perfectly placed strikes. Aaron Altherr never even lifted the bat off his shoulder.
—I hate to put Joey Votto in this category because he did have a decent albeit unlucky day, but his strikeout with Cozart on first in the top of the ninth cemented his fate. Joey battled to a HBP on an 0-2 in the first, a walk on a full count in the second, put a lazer up the middle that the Phillies pitcher caught for a double play, and hit another line drive to Freddy Galvis at short that Galvis made a wonderful play on. All told, Joey should’ve been 2-3 today, but sometimes the universe is a cruel, cruel place.
—Billy gets double duty in this recap because he went down swinging with the go-ahead runs on second and third. His goal should’ve just been choke up, put it on the ground, and hope he beats it out. Instead a long, loopy swing killed a rally for the Reds.
—Adam Duvall and Scott Schebler, the Twins* as I call them, have been spectacular for the Reds this season. Today, both of them seemed lost and confused on the baseball diamond, unaware of what this slender piece of lumber was in their hands and what they should do with it.
*Duvall and Schebler need a better nickname, but Bash Bros has been taken. Any ideas?
—Michael Lorenzen has been a good-to-great reliever for the Reds this year. Today was not his day.
Not So Random Thoughts
—This loss should sting more than most because the Reds absolutely played the better game today. They put together runs, played fairly flawless defense, and kept at the Phillies from the first through the ninth. However, you hang an 84 mph again and again, and a Major League hitter will take you up on the offer.
—That said, I did see a glimpse of what Arroyo can offer in the bottom of the fifth when he K’d Cesar Hernandez with a runner on third and one out. The count at 3-2, Arroyo ditched the fastball and went with all his breaking stuff and arm angles to get Hernandez to get himself out. Eventually, a sidearm curveball? (maybe slider) caused Hernandez to fly open and reach for it. The runner ended up stranded at third after an Odubel Herrara pop-out ended the inning.
—The Reds and Phillies wore camo jerseys to honor veterans for Memorial Day. As a quick reminder, Memorial Day is Monday. Not to say that honoring veterans is bad because it truly never is, but also:
—For some reason I watched this game with the Phillies broadcasters and let me tell you, they are the worst. I’ve always loved John Kruk from his time on Baseball Tonight, but apparently give him a fandom and some local airtime and you end up with some of the worst old-school thought I’ve ever heard. Examples:
- Advocating for throwing up and in on Votto and Cozart because they were hitting too well.
- Calling Votto choking up “cheating” and saying anyone could hit well that way.
- Openly questioning why Schebler is hitting sixth despite his sub-.250 batting average because he has 28 RBIs.
- Getting everyone’s name wrong, from mispronouncing Eugenio, to calling Tim Adleman “Tyler,” to spelling Cozart “Cosart.”
- Oh, and outside the booth, there’s this:
If it weren’t for Gregg Murphy, I probably would’ve muted the whole enterprise. Philadelphia sports are the worst.