With the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline just three days away, fans and pundits continued to ponder whether the Cincinnati Reds were contenders or not as the team opened a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Great American Ball Park on Monday. By dropping a 15-inning yawner by the score of 2-1, the Reds served further notice that they don’t have the kind of offensive firepower to challenge the .500 mark, let alone to contend for a playoff spot. Indeed, with the defeat, Cincinnati dropped below .500 for the first time since June 21 and now sit six games off the division lead and four-and-a-half back in the wild card standings.
As has become typical for the Reds, their starting pitching served them well on Monday, with Homer Bailey taking the mound and limiting the D’Backs to five hits and one run over eight innings. He only struck out three batters but also walked just one to get through all his frames in just 95 pitches total. That type of control and efficiency would seem to bode well for his longevity and value to the team going forward as he plows through the remaining years of his prime.
Meanwhile, Arizona starter Chase Anderson and the D’Backs’ relievers held serve, limiting the Reds to one run on a solo homer by Devin Mesoraco in the second inning. On the whole, the Cincinnati offense was just atrocious, striking out 18 times in 15 frames, including three each by Billy Hamilton and Jay Bruce and a whopping four by third baseman Todd Frazier. In the process, the Reds left nine men on base and went just one-for-eight with runners in scoring position.
The story of this game tells the tale about where the Reds stand in the baseball firmament as the 2014 season winds down: they couldn’t muster enough offense, even given fifteen opportunities, to pick up a home win against an Arizona team that has been out of the race for months and gives up 4.7 runs per game.
Thank goodness NFL training camps have commenced. Go Bengals!