Tonight’s game was not fun, as losses pretty much never are, but it wasn’t quite up to the ‘heartbreaking’ levels of other losses. Nothing was surprising, no really outstanding performances were wasted, no ridiculously terrible performances were out there to be ridiculed.
I mean, yes, Leake’s six runs in three innings meltdown was pretty bad. But, really, Leake may just be an saverage pitcher (which is fine), and average pitchers are going to have a couple outings like this every year – and at least it wasn’t an epic blowout – like Yovani Gallardo allowing 10 runs in 2 innings to the Cardinals tonight. It did feel worse in the ninth inning when Jay Bruce and Devin Mesoraco’s solo home runs brought us within 2, but I’m pretty confident that had we not been 4 runs behind, we wouldn’t have been facing Fernando Abad.
Ludwick and Rolen were also pretty bad, each going hitless. I’m getting closer to losing hope with both these guys, but at least it’s not at all surprising. Ludwick seems to get by with a clutch hit every now and then, just often enough to escape being entirely useless-seeming. And at this point Rolen is a big part of this team’s personality, and management loves his leadership and overall veteranocity. That would be fine if we got some offense out of left field. Hey, I hear the Angels released Bobby Abreu?
In better news, Stubbs made up for a fielder’s-choice-picked-off combo by getting an actual hit and only striking out once, Bruce was pretty awesome, Frazier’s pinch-hit triple was bad-ass, and the bullpen was excellent. We haven’t seen a lot of J.J. Hoover, but I’ve got a feeling he’s going to be a pretty good return for Juan Francisco. Even much-maligned Alfredo Simon did quite a job mopping up after Mike Leake.
So now it’s up to the Reds to win the next two games to win their second series in a row, and come back to .500 on the year. The pitching matchups are Cueto vs. Lucas Harrell and Mat Latos vs. Bud Norris. That’s probably a solid advantage, and a good chance, so I don’t think it’s out of the question at all.