Three stars, Another tough one

After a 10-inning heartbreaker on Thursday, came a 13-inning stomach punch to the Reds on Friday. They lost 2-1 to the Nationals. Closer Sean Marshall, the Reds sixth pitcher of the night, took over in the 13th inning. With one out, Danny Espinosa reached on a broken bat infield hit to the shortstop. Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche were both issued back-to-back walks to load the bases.

Cincinnati brought its infield and outfield in for Jayson Werth, who hit a sharp grounder through the middle for the game-ender.

The lineup managed only five hits for the whole game. The top five lineup spots were 2-for-26 on the night, with both hits coming from Joey Votto. The club was 0-for-8 RISP, with 10 left on base.

And the bullpen is still big time strapped.

The Three Stars:

No. 3 star: Joey Votto — 2-for-3, three walks. Votto reached safely in five of his six plate appearances.

No. 2 star: Xavier Nady, WAS — 1-for-1, HR. Nady’s eighth-inning pinch-hit home run off of Bill Bray was clutch and made it a 1-1 game.

And the No. 1 star: Bronson Arroyo — 7 1/3 ip, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K, 94 pitches/56 strikes. Arroyo was brilliant on the mound and it had it working right. His breaking stuff was good. His velocity was in the 85-88 mph range, which could be a tick harder probably. At the plate, he got the game’s first hit with a lined single up the middle and he drove in the Reds’ first/lone run with his sacrifice fly that scored Willie Harris in the fifth.

Since there was a big Twitter firestorm upon his exit and subsequent homer, Arroyo said postgame was pretty much out of gas in the eighth and that is why he didn’t remain after the 94th pitch. It was decided after the seventh that he would only face one more hitter before giving way to Bray and the bullpen.

“We talked about it the inning before,” Arroyo said. “I wasn’t real strong even to start the game. My pitch count was real low but he just needed me to get the righty out.”

News and notes:

*Arroyo’s single to center field with one-out in the top of the 3rd was the first hit by a Reds pitcher in 2012, and snapped the staff’s 0-for-11 start.

*With two outs in the top of the 3rd, Drew Stubbs stole second base. It was the team’s first stolen base of the season.

*Willie Harris snapped a 0-for-10 skid to start the season with a fifth inning leadoff double.

*Sam LeCure and Jose Arredondo were not available after both threw two innings yesterday. Dusty Baker was trying like mad to avoid using Aroldis Chapman but had to in the 10th inning. Chapman threw nine pitches and was lifted.

*Nice bounceback for Alfredo Simon, who worked two scoreless innings after being the goat on Thursday with the run-scoring wild pitch for the loss. Simon had a man on third in the 12th and amid chants of “Wild pitch” from fans, escaped.

Quotes:

“That’s the way it goes, man. When it’s 1-0, it’s always a nail biter as far as getting a win. It’s tough. Getting into the eighth, I felt good about that situation. Guys in the ‘pen have been throwing the ball good.” — Bronson Arroyo

“I didn’t make the pitches I wanted. I walked those two batters. When you do that late in the game, they come back to bite you. That’s what it did.” — Sean Marshall

“That was a tough one right there tonight.” — Dusty Baker

6 Comments

I know Dusty didn’t want to use Chapman, but it should have been him for the 2 outs in the 8th and Marshall in the 9th. The reason Marshall wasn’t as sharp tonight to me was because he had warmed up 3 or 4 times in extra innings!

Double arggh!

Hi Mark – enjoy hearing you during 2nd inning on the radio when you join the broadcasters in the booth…re Reds pitchers’ hitting…I recall seeing J.Cueto get a hit on Opening Day out into right field

Mark: I think there is a typo in the last sentence of “And the No. 1 star”… “I wasn’t real strong even to start the game. My pitch count was real low but he just needed me to get the righty out.”

I believe you meant to say “seventh” instead of “game”.

Gerry, thanks. I made corrrection in today’s pre-game post. Neb, I listened to it twice last night and was pretty sure he said ‘game.’ He definitely didn’t say ‘seventh’ there.

Wow…that is surprising. Thank you for checking, Mark.

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