The Major League season is certainly a marathon, but the Reds are barely away from the starting line and have already seen their course littered with empty rallies and lost opportunity.
Pushing runs in during clutch time has already eluded the Reds early and often, and Monday’s 5-3 defeat to the Cardinals for a 2-5 record to start 2014 was no different.
“We just have to come back tomorrow and regroup and continue to play,” said Reds catcher Brayan Pena, a bright spot who went 3-for-4 with two doubles. “Those guys [the Cardinals] play good baseball. They play pretty good at home.”
“These are the guys that, when the season is over, they’re going to have their numbers,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “They will be the performers that we know they are. Right now, almost collectively, we’ve struggled to do anything with guys in scoring position and have any sustained rallies. That will change, but it’s tough to sit through it.”
Price explained that Phillips bunted on his own, but the skipper was also looking for one early run against Wacha, who came in with 16 2/3 scoreless innings in his brief career vs. the Reds.
“We know they’ve been tough to score against. We wanted Brandon to move him,” Price said. “It didn’t have to be through the bunt. He could try to drive one through the right side. He wanted to make sure he got the job done, and he pushed the ball over there to the right side and got the job done. I think it’s always nice to try to get on top, to try to get that first run. It didn’t work out for us, but he’s a very good performer in that situation, a very effective bunter and good at moving guys over. And he did his job.”
“I didn’t have my fastball, so what are you going to do? I just tried to battle,” said Tony Cingrani.
“It was a tough way to start the first inning,” Price said. “It looked like Tony might get a little momentum and get out of that with a little bit less damage. Molina is a tremendous player and a great hitter. He had to make good pitches to him, and he left one just a little too much on the plate, and he was able to drive it between the outfielders for a three-run double.”
This season is staring out dark, I guess the positive is that we are only seven games in, 155 to go.