OK, really? Did the Cincinnati Reds, and especially their fans, just get completely buzz-sawed … by the San Diego Padres? Not only did the Padres ride a shutout (3-0) performance by Tyson Ross to demolish the giddy mood that surrounded the Reds just 48-hours ago, but the San Diego front office smashed our visions of a new left-fielder in the teeth, too. It’s been a rough series, to say the least, and the off day tomorrow looks like Cincinnati’s best bet to stop the bleeding. After all, they can’t lose if they don’t play.
Today’s game was more of the same in a recent trend for the Reds’ offense, as Ross limited them to three hits (no walks) and struck out nine batters. For the three game series, Cincy hitters went 19-for-96 (.198) and scored just two runs, bringing fans frightening flashbacks of most of the season’s first half. Wednesday’s game was especially poignant in the remembrance department, as first baseman Joey Votto was a late scratch. He did return for a pinch-hitting appearance, but naturally came up empty.
On the mound, even Johnny Cueto couldn’t right the Reds, as he gave up three quick runs on a Rene Rivera single, and that was all Ross needed to bolster him. Cueto did strike out eight over seven innings, but his record now stands at 8-7 and his ERA is in danger of breaching the Mendoza line for the first time since we were saying, “Mesorac-who?”
Earlier in the day, the Padres announced that they had signed left fielder Seth Smith to a contract extension that essentially removed him from the trade market this season, and eliminated one path for the Reds to upgrade in the second half. I was not alone in my belief that Smith could have fit well in the Reds’ outfield, but I was nearly impeccable in my timing.
Those heady days of late June sure do seem like a long time ago now, but the Reds hold the key to a quick regrouping in their hands. Tomorrow is for recuperation and planning, and then the fireworks start on July 4 when the first-place Milwaukee Brewers come to Cincinnati for a three-game series.
Time to make some hay.