Time for a recap of tonight’s titanic struggle….

Cincinnati 2
Houston 1
WP: Masset (1-0)
LP: Valverde (0-1)
S: Cordero (3)

–Roy Oswalt didn’t pick up his 24th career win against the Reds!

–Ramon Hernandez picked a good time to get his first homer as a Red: a 2-run shot in the top of the ninth, down 1-0.

–Great work by Nick Masset out of the bullpen. His ERA is down to 1.80. We can’t ask any more of this guy.

–Can’t forget to mention Mike Lincoln, either. One and a third of very effective relief pitching. It’s good to see Lincoln get a good outing under his belt. His ERA is now down to 17.36. 🙂

–Brandon Phillips had another walk. That’s 8 on the season, which is more than 20% of his career high walk total, set last year. The guy isn’t hitting worth a lick right now, and he hot dogs it sometimes, but his approach at the plate has been much better. It bodes well for when he comes out of this slump.

–The offense is just bad. That’s all there is to it. Seven hits, and the Reds really only threatened to score in one inning until Hernandez’s clutch homer.

–Five of tonight’s starting eight are hitting below .215. Four are below the Mendoza Line (.200). And Alex Gonzalez is on the interstate, “hitting” .087. Some of these guys need to start hitting soon.

–I didn’t see it, but someone mentioned that Brandon Phillips didn’t run hard to first on the grounder that ended the top of the 8th, with the Reds only down a run. Did anyone else notice that?

–CoCo Cordero made it exciting in the 9th, but he nailed it down.

–In the ninth, with one out and two players on base, Jason Smith of the Astros hit a short fly that was caught by Alex Gonzalez for the apparent second out. But no, the ball had actually hit the roof, so it was declared a foul ball. In a very tense situation, that out could have been important…but he ended up hitting into a double play to end the game.

–Jay Bruce showed some signs of turning it around tonight, but he’s still struggling.

–Cueto was great, if you don’t look at the BB column. He walked 6 batters, but Houston couldn’t do anything with him when he was around the plate. If his command comes back soon, he is going to be tough to hit. He really had great stuff tonight, but his command was off.

–I don’t know who would put up better offensive numbers, given playing time, between Ramon Hernandez and Ryan Hanigan. What I do know is that both are better hitters than last year’s primary catcher, Paul Bako, and that’s a good thing.

–The Reds are now 3-1 on the road trip. They’re above .500 on the year, and they have a great chance at picking up another win tomorrow with Aaron Harang on the mound.

How great would it be to secure a winning record on this road trip, all against division rivals?