The Cincinnati Reds have been in every game to start the season, five games in, today’s loss is the most heartbreaking after the offense found away to regain the lead, but then the bullpen lost it in the last inning.
Okay, it’s only five games into the regular season, but the Reds’ 6-3 loss to the Mets on Saturday hurt more because it all came apart during the bottom of the ninth before a walk-off grand slam by pinch-hitter Ike Davis against reliever J.J. Hoover
Without injured relievers Aroldis Chapman or Jonathan Broxton, the Reds’ closer-by-committee’s first save opportunity of the season came to Hoover. He was on to protect a 3-2 lead that was gained by Brandon Phillips two-run home run in the top of the eighth. Sam LeCure,used for the first time this season, worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth with only 11 pitches. In my opninon, I would have kept LeCure to work the ninth.
The Mets ninth began when Juan Lagares drew a leadoff walk from Hoover before things came falling apart.
Anthony Recker followed with a sacrifice-bunt attempt toward the first-base side. Joey Votto did not think twice before fielding and turning a one-hop throw to second base, where Lagares beat the ball to the base but was called out by the second base umpire.
Mets manager Terry Collins challenged, and after a review that took 2 minutes and 14 seconds, the call was overturned to put runners on first and second base. Had the new replay rules not been in place for this season, the Reds would have caught a break.
The less risky play for Votto would have been going to first base for the sure out.
Ruben Tejada was next and, after a 2-0 count, he fouled off two bunt attempts. Hoover’s trouble unraveled when he walked Tejada to load the bases.
In an 0-1 count, Hoover threw Davis a hanging curveball, and it was pulled to right field for a upper deck homerun.
This is not the first time Hoover has allowed a grand slam, in his career he has given four career slams, and this is our closer of the future.
The Reds have dropped four of their first five games of the season, and once again Johnny Cueto came away with a no decision after another strong performance. Cueto pitched seven innings, allowing two earned runs and five hits with three walks and nine strikeouts. That gave him three earned runs over his first 14 innings, including a 1-0 loss vs. the Cardinals on Opening Day.
It was a scoreless game until the fifth inning, when Ryan Ludwick led off with a solo homerun for his first of the season.
That gave Cueto his first lead of the season, but he could not protect it. In the bottom of the sixth, with a runner on first base, Cueto allowed a two run homer to Curtis Granderson that gave the Mets a 2-1 lead at that point.
All four of the Reds’ previous games were decided by one run. This one hurts than the previous one-run losses.
The Reds will look to avoid a sweep tomorrow as Alfredo Simon will make his first start in four years, he will go against left Jonathan Nisese, who will be activated from the disabled list before the game.
Tomorrow’s game doesn’t favor the Reds, let’s hope we can get an offensive outburst from this club. First pitch is at 1:10pm.