Not the way to start 2nd half
Thursday was the start of an important, actually critical, 10-game stretch for the Reds vs. the Brewers, Dodgers and Cubs. Thursday’s 9-6 loss was not the way they wanted to start the second half.
Homer Bailey started out OK even after hitting his first batter of the game, allowing two walks in the second and even Prince Fielder’s three-run homer in the third. What wasn’t OK were the two walks he issued to Ryan Braun and Fielder in the five-run, 10-batter Brewers sixth inning. Those were killer.
“He was trying to challenge them but wasn’t finding the strike zone in that inning,” manager Dusty Baker said. “They’re pretty good hitters. That was a tough inning right there, a real tough inning.”
Bailey pitched 5 1/3 innings and gave up a career-high seven earned runs and six hits. He walked four and struck out three. Many of the hits, other than Fielder’s, weren’t crushed. Nick Masset took over in the sixth and let all of his inherited runners home on a groundball up the middle and a broken bat single — not overwhelming but damaging all the same.
Reds starters are 1-5 with an 8.46 ERA over their last eight games.
Some high moments: Joey Votto hit a mammoth two-run homer to the smokestacks in the bottom of the third inning. It traveled 471 feet and was the 12th longest HR in GABP history.
“Joey’s ball landed in Newport,” Bailey said.
In the fifth was about as neat a “web gem” as you’ll see. Craig Counsell hit a sharp roller to the middle. Shortstop Jerry Hairston Jr. scooped and flipped the ball with his glove. Second baseman Brandon Phillips caught it barehanded and turned the 6-4-3 GIDP.
The Reds, which have lost eight of their last 11 and five of the last six, are 42-46 — that’s four games under .500. The Cardinals were off so the deficit in the division is 5 1/2 games.
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