Stuck in neutral
Why does it seem like the Reds go one step forward and two steps back a lot? Because of games like Sunday’s 7-5 loss.
The Reds were in this game, even after trailing 5-0 through four innings. But they kept missing the big opportunity parked on their laps — going 1-for-11 RISP and stranding 14.
“We had plenty of action,” manager Dusty Baker said. “From the opening inning, we couldn’t get the one or two big hits. And Markakis got two two-out hits. That was big and kind of the ballgame in a nutshell.”
The Reds are mired in fourth place at one game over .500 (40-39) and four games out of first place. They have claimed one of the last five series and have dropped the last three in Interleague.
It’s not doomsday time at all in a weak and winnable NL Central, but if the Brewers start to take off, the Reds better show they are ready to keep up. Although they show moments of breaking out, like on Saturday, they’re not catching that consistent spark and putting back-to-back wins together … and that’s troubling.
*Brandon Phillips fifth-inning solo home run was his first since May 14. By going 2-for-4, Phillips is third in the NL with 28 multi-hit games.
*In the fourth inning, Joey Votto and the rest of the infield seemed to lose an Adam Jones routine pop up in the sun. Homer Bailey made a desperation dive, but it landed for a single. Bailey was pitching pretty well up to that point, but it was the start of a four-run inning and it was tough sledding from there for Bailey.
*Bailey finished with five runs on a season-high nine hits with two walks, five strikeouts and two home runs.
*The Reds missed a chance to take the lead in the sixth after sending nine to the plate. Four-straight walks from three different Baltimore pitchers helped and walks to Gomes and Lewis forced in two runs. Jim Johnson threw nine of 11 pitches for balls, before Drew Stubbs hit a 1-0pitch for an inning-ending fielder’s choice. It might have been a good time to take and force Johnson into a corner again.
*Jose Arredondo walked the first batter of the Orioles’ sixth inning and Blake Davis later scored on Nick Markakis’ two-out single. Arredondo has retired 11 of 21 first batters faced this season, but only two in his last nine appearances.
*The two teams combined for 13 walks today. Joey Votto drew three walks as Baltimore worked around him, not letting repeat his strong Saturday game.
“We have to keep treading water until you start swimming. It’s not through lack of effort. We’re in every ballgame. We’re so close to taking off. You feel it. You see it. We’re one hit away, one play away or one something away from winning almost every game.” — Dusty Baker
“After that happened, I left the ball a little bit up to Guerrero. The pitch I threw Lee was exactly where I wanted it to go. He either guessed right or it was what he was looking for. After the ball leaves my hand, I only have so much control. I threw it where I wanted it to go and he hit it out.” — Homer Bailey on the missed pop-up and subsqequent damage.
“I’m not going to say it’s a tough loss. It’s a sad loss because I feel like we’re better than that. We have the players on our team that can go out there and win. Right now, it’s just not our time. I hope that we pick it up and learn from the mistakes and come through when we need to come through.” — Brandon Phillips
“Baseball is a game of ups and downs. Right now, we’re just in between. Yesterday, we were hitting the ball out of the park. Today, we can’t get key hits in key situations.” — more Phillips
“Ran some high counts and unfortunately I ran out of rope at the end of the game. But that last inning was frustrating. I thought I made a good pitch on Heisey and he kind of flipped it into right field with two outs. Then I tried to be careful with B Phillips and ended up walking him. That’s a frustrating way to end the outing, but overall i felt I was able to throw my pitches where I was trying to for the most part.” — Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie