May 19, 2013 – Reds @ Phillies – 1:35pm – Fox Sports Cincinnati
Reds Record (26 – 17)
Away Record (10 – 11)
Phillies Record (20 – 23)
Home Record (10 – 12)
Starters: Bailey (2 – 3) vs. Pettibone (3 – 0)
The Setting: Watching at my house with the wife and daughter. I’ll have to leave midway through the game as I am volunteering as part of a group from my church. I’ll DVR the last part of the game and watch it when I get home.
The Game and Analysis:
•Well. . .that sure went downhill quickly. Homer Bailey was throwing a masterful game, and then the bullpen took over and the game was gone just like that. The Reds lose in shocking fashion (at least to me) in the bottom of the ninth on a score of 3 – 2.
•Bailey did not have overpowering stuff, so he was not racking up strikeouts. However, he pitched with what he had and shut the Phillies out through seven innings of five-hit baseball. Bailey rarely let a runner get to second base and if it weren’t for him throwing 96 pitches through seven innings, he might have been given the green light to throw another inning or two. He had a 1-2-3 inning on 10 pitches in his last frame.
•Jay Bruce hit a solo homer to lead off the second inning to put the Reds up 1 – 0. It was Bruce’s only hit of the game as he went 1 – 4, but still extended his hitting streak to 10 games. He has hit four home runs in that span, and is on fire for the month of May. His slash line (AVG/OBP/SLG) for the month is .328/.343/.672. With Joey Votto’s obscene numbers recently, and Bruce putting up tremendous numbers in his own right, the heart of the Reds order is producing greatly.
•This game, however, runs were hard to come by. Votto scored the other run for the Reds, as he scored on a double by Todd Frazier after singling. Votto went 2 – 4 on the day to raise his average to .349 on the year. I could go on and on about Votto’s hitting ability, and how hard he works at it. Suffice it to say, he is one of the premiere hitters in the game, and he is on fire right now. His numbers in May: .444 batting average, .533 on base percentage, .651 slugging percentage, 7 doubles, 2 homers and 9 RBI.
•Frazier picked up another couple of hits in this game, including the RBI double. Frazier has gone 2 – 4 in each of the last two games to snap out of a horrid stretch. He will need several more of those games to get his average back up. He does have 26 RBI on the year though.
•Brandon Phillips extended his hitting streak to seven games. He has been consistent with driving in runs, and was just passed for the lead in RBIs in the National League. He has excelled in that role all year, but didn’t have anyone in scoring position in this game.
•Jonathan Broxton relieved Bailey in the eighth inning and retired the first two batters. Ben Revere singled, and then stole second base. Michael Young then walked, and Sean Marshall replaced Broxton to face Chase Utley. Utley singled, scoring Revere to make the score 2 – 1 Reds. Marshall would then get Domonic Brown to fly out to end the inning.
•In the bottom of the ninth, Aroldis Chapman was brought in to close out the game. He walked Delmon Young on four pitches, and his velocity was down about 5mph from his normal stuff. I told my wife that he hasn’t looked the same since he had his first bad outing on the year. Cliff Lee was brought in as a pinch runner, but was picked off first base. Eric Kratz then hit a towering home run to left field to tie the game. Had Lee not been picked off, the game would have ended there. Lee was shown with his head buried in the dugout. Three pitches later, Freddy Galvis hit a rope down the left field line that cleared the wall and won the game for the Phillies, 3 – 2.
What Worked: The starting pitching was tremendous. The middle of the order got their hits, but there weren’t many scoring opportunities.
What Didn’t Work: The bullpen failed the starting pitcher for the second time this series. Chapman was particularly ineffective, and blew his second straight save opportunity.
Where They Stand: The Reds are 26 – 18 and are 2.5 games behind the Cardinals in the NL Central. They are tied with the Pirates.
Overall Thoughts: I’m not down on Chapman and I’m not down on the bullpen. I support the team and players through thick and thin. Chapman didn’t go out there and purposefully lose the game. Chapman didn’t give less than his best effort. He had a bad game and it happens. We have come to think of this man as near unhittable, and when he gets hit hard, we think the sky must be falling. Not long ago, there was a top closer in the game that gave up a game tying homer and the next batter hit a game winning home run. That was Craig Kimbrel of the Atlanta Braves, and the Reds did the homering. I believe we will have many more highs than lows from this bullpen, and Chapman will continue to be one of the true elite closers in the game. I guess I’m just the ultimate optimist with my sports teams.
Up Next: The Reds head to New York for a three game series with the Mets.