(Much needed) break time
One thing was clear during the Reds’ 9-7 loss to the Mets at Citi Field: it’s a very good time for them to disperse for the All-Star break.
The road trip ended with a 2-5 record, including two of three to a Mets team even more banged up than the Reds. Cincinnati is a season-high three games under .500 at 42-45.
Frustration bubbled over, especially for Joey Votto. The Reds first baseman was ejected in the top of the fourth inning for arguing a called strike three by home plate umpire Bill Welke that he felt was inside. Votto was allowed to vent at Welke for several moments before he was run.
It was the first ejection of Votto’s short career. Not a stretch to think it has something to do with his being called out on strikes six times during the road trip, including his last three at-bats in a row (twice on Sunday). Votto will return after the break, of course, but his 14-game hitting streak is on a permanent vacation.
“I’d like to thank Bill Welke for christening me with my first ejection,” said Votto, who had been ejected before in the minors. “I didn’t do anything or offend him in any way. I didn’t go below the belt. I had a basic disagreement with him as far as what was a ball and a strike. He’s a good guy. I don’t have a problem with Bill, at all. I just stood there a little too long and he ran me. He’s a good guy.”
Later in the game, Welke punched out Edwin Encarnacion on a called strike three in the eighth that stopped a rally. Good thing Encarnacion didn’t argue (the pitch looked high and inside to me)– the Reds were about to use up their whole bench.
The Reds could have used Votto’s bat at the end of the game. It was still winnable but a pair of seventh-inning homers against David Weathers proved to be the difference. After Fernando Tatis hit the second homer of the inning to left field, Mets fans became irate when the giant red apple didn’t pop out behind the center field wall.
Maybe Citi Field wasn’t ready for another homer so fast. Before Brian Schneider’s long ball that started the inning, the Mets had gone 80 innings without one. The last one was hit on July 2.
As bad luck would have it, the banged up Reds outfield caught another bad break. Right fielder Chris Dickerson left after four innings with back spasms. He’s day-to-day. Dickerson fully extended himself on an unsuccessful diving catch attempt on David Wright’s bloop single in the bottom of the third and seemed to need an extra moment.
It was a rough game for starter Aaron Harang: 3 IP, 8 H, 5 ER. He’s 0-5 with a 5.26 ERA in nine games since his last victory on May 25.
“I just didn’t have my location,” Harang said. “I was missing spots, falling behind and having to come back and throw strikes. They were out there swinging.”
Yep, it’s time for a break.
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