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

FINAL
Houston 8
Cincinnati 3
WP: W. Rodriguez (2-2)
LP: Harang (2-3)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Laynce Nix crushed a homer in the 8th as a pinch-hitter; it was his first major league homer in 3 years. The more I see this guy, and the more I hear about the injury that really sidelined him for a long time, the more I think Nix has a real chance to resurrect his career and have a few good years. I have no idea why Chris Dickerson should play over Nix.

–Brandon Phillips had a double and a solo homer. Finally, signs of life!

NEGATIVES
–TOS (This Offense Stinks.)

–Again, pitching and defense? Three more errors tonight. Only two teams in MLB have committed more in 2009.

–Aaron Harang wasn’t helped by his defense tonight, but he wasn’t very good anyway. Disappointing performance by the big guy.

–Mike Lincoln continued his terrible work out of the bullpen, giving up two more runs in one inning of work. His ERA is now up to 15.12. I really feel bad for the guy, because he has a neat story, but he just isn’t pitching very well right now.

ETC.
–The Reds are no longer above .500. It was fun while it lasted. Hope they get back above the break-even mark tomorrow. That’s not guaranteed, though; the Astros have won 11 straight and 17 of their last 18 games at GAB.

–Glad to see Adam Rosales with the big club. I expect he’ll start at 3B tomorrow.

–Thom Brennaman tonight:

Right now, on this Reds team, there are a lot of guys that, when they go to shave in the morning, they know that they’re not getting the job done. In many cases, they know they’re going to be in the lineup that night (anyway).

Free Laynce Nix. And Free Jonny Gomes while you’re at it. A Nix/Gomes platoon in LF could be productive.

—-Smallest crowd in Great American Ballpark history tonight:

Paid attendance is just 9,878 at GABP here tonight. John Fay’s list of all-time GABP crowds shows we’ve shattered the previous low mark of 11,987 set April 3, 2008 vs. Arizona.

The park opened in 2003. Weather tonight was 71 degrees. Rain moved out earlier, game started on time.

There were also 7,000 Kid Glove tickets distributed tonight.

Yeah, the Reds had a really nice road trip, which would ordinarily energize the home fans. On the other hand, they’ve played just awful since coming home, and this is on the heels of 8 straight losing seasons. Are Reds fans making a statement with their wallets, or are other factors more to blame?