The San Franisco Giants are exploiting the Reds vulnerability, the bullpen.
For the second straight night the Reds were either ahead or behind by one when the starter turned the keys to the car over to the bullpen. Mistake! Don't turn a close game over to this bullpen, it will be hazardous to your health.
On Monday it was Bobby Shantz look-alike Danny Ray Herrera getting roughed up and absorbing the loss. Johnny Cueto had not pitched up to his potential, but a rally had just put the Reds on top 5-4.
Last night rookie Sam LeCure was trailing Matt Cain and the Giants only 1-0 when he was lifted after six strong quality innings.
Logan Ondrusek and Sir Arthur Rhodes pitched scoreless ball before T-Pick handed the ball over to Nick Masset, who will soon be graduating from the Coco Cordero Academy of Late Inning Disasters. Now I know why Rolaids is the sponsor of the reliever's award in MLB.
I know Rhodes can't pitch every inning of relief for this sorry bullpen. But I am reasonably sure that he has more in his tank than to pitch to one or two batters at a time.
Look at Masset's record for a moment if you will. He has given up 35 hits and 16 walks in only 25 innings, meaning his WHIP is over 2. That should raise an eyebrow or two. If anybody is deficient in ciphering statistics, that means that in every inning Masset pitches, he is likely to give up at least one hit and a walk, or two hits, or two walks. That is no good.
In all fairness it would not have mattered if the relievers all pitched 1-2-3 innings, the Reds would have still lost, falling victim to the seven hit, 3-0 shutout performance of Cain. Brandon Phillips had three hits and Scott rolen added a couple, but for all intents and purposes the Reds weren't on the job offensively.
While on the subject of Phillips let me work him him over for a moment. He is far too aggressive on the bases to suit me. I mean, if you like potential rally killers, then you love him, but i don't.
He has only been successful on eight of his 14 attempts at swiping bases. That is not good. Does he have a perpetual green light or what?
Phillips is beginning to have a reputation that is less than good, when it comes to his sportsmanship, or lack thereof. In the weekend series with the Washington Nationals he had a couple of mishaps. On a play, running from second to third, he unnecessarily pushed shortstop Ian Desmond out of the way, compelling the umpire to rule obstruction on Desmond and rule Phillips safe at third.
The other instance came on Saturday night while he was on third base. Scott Rolen hit a ball to Desmond who threw to the plate as Phillips had headed home. A collision at the plate ensued and the ball was separated from catcher Will Nieves.
I am certainly not opposed to hard playing and train wrecks at home. What Phillips did after the play was what turned me on him. He stepped on the plate, thumped his chest King Kong style, and then did his best Hulk performance on his way to the dugout. The play was old school, the after-play antics was either New Age or Bush League.
Nieves could have received a concussion from that impact. Personally, I was surprised Nieves didn't rise up and chase him down. Retaliation did come in the form of an "errant" pitch by reliever Miguel Batista which hit Phillips and promptly got tossed by Joe West.
Enough on Phillips, now where was I? Cain's performance last night was fantastic and I don't even like him. But serious ups to him.
Another round of props goes to the Los Angeles Dodgers for making it two in a row over the Cardinals, keeping the Reds deadlocked in a first place tie. That is a very good place to be, especially considering how badly the team has played.
Tonight the Reds will send Aaron Harang (4-5) against Jonathan Sanchez (4-4). The Giants lead the four game series 2-0.
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