Apr 11, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips (4) slides into second for a double during the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Rob Leifheit-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Reds Can't Overcome Rays

Bases loaded bottom of the ninth inning, Brayan Pena at the plate, strike three on the far far outside of the plate called, Cincinnati Reds (3-1) lose 2-1.

That is how the game ended for the Reds as they lost their seventh game of the season to bring their overall record to 3-7. Another day and more of the same for the Reds as the offense struggled and the pitching was great once again. Combine a poor offense with an awful home plate umpire and you have double obstacles for the Reds to overcome.

Starting pitcher Johnny Cueto went 7 innings strong, giving up only 5 hits and 2 runs while striking out 6 Rays in the process. His 119 pitches was a season high for the ace of the pitching staff. Cueto gave up 2 runs early, one in the first to an Evan Longoria single and another in the third to a Matt Joyce home run. After the third Cueto settled down and performed great.

The offense for the Reds had nothing for the Tampa Bay Rays (6-5) starting pitcher David Price. Four hits over 8.1 innings for the Reds will not win games, and didn’t win one for them Friday night. Price was pulled in ninth inning with one out after giving up a home run to Joey Votto, his first of the season. Grant Balfour replaced the departing Price.

With Balfour in the game he proceeded to load the bases after striking out Ryan Ludwick on a very questionable call by home plate umpire DJ Reyburn. Following the Ludwick strike out Balfour walked Jay Bruce, then Todd Frazier, then Devin Mesoraco to bring Brayan Pena to the plate to pinch hit for the struggling Zach Cozart.

With Pena at the plate and a 2-2 count Balfour threw a pitch that by anyone else’s account would likely have been a ball. Not with DJ Reyburn’s strike zone and Pena was called out on a pitch well off the plate. A strike out that sent the Rays back to their hotel 2-1 winners.

Cincinnati’s offensive struggles are nothing new. It is not worth going into detail at the moment, you know the stats. One thing that needs to be done is perhaps shake up the lineup or look at making some changes.

Cincinnati returns to the ballpark Saturday at 1:10pm on FSOhio.

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