The Cincinnati Reds earned their fourth shutout in the last six games last night as they blanked the fish 7-0 and completed another winning road trip at 3-2. The first game of the series looked like a train wreck for the Redlegs, but last night they came out of the woodwork and looked like contenders.
Positives: Pitching, Pitching, and more Pitching. The thing that has doomed the Reds over the past several years is now what is keeping them alive. The Reds staff has pitched four shut outs in the past six games. Two of which were started by all-star Edinison Volquez. Volquez pitched game two of the series and earned the win. He went eight strong innings, giving up only three hits, and no runs. His scoreless inning streak is now at 16.
Aaron Harang, game one’s starter, also had a phenomenal performance in earning a no decision. Harang, who has been very inconsistent this year, pitched seven innings of two run ball, and recorded nine strikeouts. He just couldn’t get the run support he needed to earn the W. Harang’s ERA is now down to an even 3.00 and he is pitching like the Harang of old.
How about the Reds ‘pen? The bullpen has been lights out for Cincinnati this season, and that continued down on South Beach. In game one, the Reds used six pitchers in relief of Harangto throw the last seven innings of the game. Keep in mind, this was a tie game that went 14 innings. One slip up and the Reds were going home losers. The ‘pen came through with seven solid innings of not giving up an earned run. David Weathers and Arthur Rhodes have still not given up any run’s this season. This is absolutely phenomenal.
Enough about the pitching. Let’s talk Brandon Phillips. Dude had a monster game in game 2 of the series. We all know he has been struggling mightily, but in game 2 he busted out in a big way. He went 3-5 with six, count ‘em, six RBI’s. He led his day off withan RBI single, followed that with a 2-run single, and decided to end is day in style with a 3-run jack. He was responsible for six of Cincy’s seven runs.
Negatives: Again it’s the offense. The Reds had multiple opportunities in game 1 to win the game with the bat, but could not come up with the big hit when needed. Poor execution led to a total of 22 runners left on base. The team was an abysmal 1-10 with runners in scoring position. That just won’t cut it.
A second negative I noticed was more poor defense. The Reds committederrors in both of the games against Florida, one of which led to the loss in game 1. A throwing error by Paul Janishin the bottom of the 14th allowed Ronnie Paulino to trot home from third with the winning run. The defense has been a bit of a problem all year, and it cost the Reds from sweeping the Marlins.
Final Wrap Up: It was an overall good series for the Redlegs. Their pitching continued to be outstanding, and slumping players like Brandon Phillips came alive. The Reds need to find a way to come through in the clutch with the bats, and drive in more runs. 1-10 RISP will not win many games. As Reds fans, we have to be pleased with a 3-2 road trip. Now the team has to take care of business at the GABP as they head home to take on the Brewers. The Reds start a big five game home stand against the Brew Crew and the first place Redbirds of St. Louis. First pitch against the Brewers is tonight at 7:10.