Let’s recap today’s titanic struggle….

Houston 3
Cincinnati 2

WP: Abad (1-0)
LP: Masset (0-1)
S: Lyon (1)

–Edgar Renteria had a wonderful day at the plate, going 3-3 with a double, a walk, and an RBI. Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips each had two hits, including one apiece in the bottom of the ninth as the Reds tried to stage a rally.

–Nice start by Sam LeCure: five innings, two runs allowed on three hits, six strikeouts and two walks. Jordan Smith also pitched effectively in relief, giving up just one hit over two scoreless innings.

–Scott Rolen delivered a pinch-hit homer that tied the game at two.

–Juan Francisco was a train wreck today. He went 0-4 at the plate, and Francisco hacked at the first pitch in three of those ABs. At least twice, Cincinnati had runners on base and Francisco came up in an important situation, only to swing away at the first pitch and pop the ball up.

Similarly unsurprising, Francisco also had a couple of defensive miscues, though neither resulted in an error. After some confusion between Drew Stubbs and Jay Bruce allowed a ball to drop between them, the throw appeared to reach third base in time to nail Carlos Lee…but Francisco couldn’t handle the throw. Later, in an important spot, Francisco threw wildly to first, only to be saved by a very nice catch and tag applied by Joey Votto.

Oh, one more thing: remember I said that Francisco hacked at the first pitch on three of his four at-bats? Yeah, about that other AB…Francisco struck out.

–Nick Masset had pretty good stuff today, it seemed, but he gave up four hits over two innings, and allowed the ninth inning run that lost the game for the good guys.

–Well, the Redlegs had to lose one eventually, but at least they went down fighting.

–What does Juan Francisco provide the Reds that they couldn’t get more effectively from Todd Frazier?

–This ballclub is in real trouble if Scott Rolen gets hurt. Francisco isn’t as bad as he looked today, but I’m not sure why anyone would think he’s a legitimate option for anything other than a bench role. Extended playing time will only serve to highlight his weaknesses, which are particularly glaring anyway (defense, no plate discipline).

I’m not comfortable with Miguel Cairo starting for any extended period either, despite his good season last year. Renteria refuses to play third base. There are really no good backup options to Rolen in the even he is unable to play for any length of time.

–This was a disappointing loss, in that it was a winnable game. On the other hand, there is no shame to losing to Brett Myers.

–More than 20,000 fans in the stand on a chilly weekday afternoon? Not bad.

–All in all, no reason to hang our heads. A 5-1 start is spectacular. On to Arizona!