Despite how it might look on the surface, or what you might read into headlines across the Internet, starter Mike Leake was not the Reds’ biggest problem in their 8-2 loss last night to the San Diego Padres. To be sure, Leake did not have his best outing, but he still left the game in the sixth inning down just 3-1, and the Reds had a couple of big boppers due to bat next. In the end, Cincinnati was undone by the familiar twin nemeses of anemic hitting and suspect middle relief pitching.
Leake started off shaky by giving up a leadoff home run to Seth Smith, and then gave up two more runs on 10 additional hits over nearly six innings. The Reds failed to deliver in the top of the seventh, and then reliever Logan Ondrusek gave up four runs on a walk and three hits, including a two-run dinger by Carlos Quentin with one out.
The Reds’ fate was pretty much sealed at that point, and the offense didn’t protest their doom until it was too late. In the top of the ninth, catcher Devin Mesoraco led off with a solo shot, and then the Reds mounted a hitting rally that fizzled without a run. On the night, Reds hitters wend 11-for-37, but just 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
Two days ago, after their four-game sweep of the San Francisco Giants, the vibe around the Reds was incredibly positive. These two losses to the downtrodden Padres remind us just how quick a season can turn, and that there is still a lot of time before the July 31 trade deadline. If Cincinnati can’t find some offensive consistency and a plug for the middle inning bleeding, their shopping list might look a lot different than we had hoped.