Let’s recap today’s titanic struggle….

Cincinnati 1
Pittsburgh 4

W: J. McDonald (4-2)
L: B. Arroyo (2-3)
S: J. Hanrahan (12)

–The Reds remain in first place.

–Ryan Hanigan was 2-3 with a double. He’s now hitting .320 with a .383 OBP. He should be hitting second in the lineup.

–Joey Votto reached twice. Can you believe it? That guy might turn out to be a major league hitter after all.

–Alfredo Simon and JJ Hoover shut down the Pirates to give the Reds offense a chance.

–Arroyo was Bad Bronson today: over four innings, he gave up four runs on eight hits. He had no command all day, and that’s generally a recipe for disaster for Arroyo, who depends on good control.

–Wilson Valdez is on the team, for better or worse (mostly worse), and so Dusty Baker has to let him play sometimes. I get that, and it doesn’t even bother me that much. But there is no excuse whatsoever for Valdez batting second. It takes a special brand of insanity to put the worst hitter on the team in front of Joey Votto in the lineup. It boggles the mind.

(And, hey, Valdez ended up coming to the plate in two of the most important spots of the game. I’ll let you guess the results of those ABs.)

–More managerial magic. Third inning, runners on first and second, down by three runs. Dusty asks Drew Stubbs to bunt.

I’m just not smart enough to understand it. (Of course, Stubbs’ bunt wasn’t a good one, and Hanigan was cut down at third base.)

–First and second, no outs, fifth inning. Down 4-0. Reds need a pinch-hitter, and Mike Costanzo heads to the plate. Ugh. I’m very happy for ol’ T-Bone Costanzo. I’m glad he’s getting a chance in the big leagues, but he probably has no business being on a major league roster. Seems like his only qualification is that he swings from the left side of the plate. (More on the bench issues later.)

–Hey, Mama said there’d be days like this. Reds have still won 8 of 10. I’ll take it.

–That’s four straight non-quality starts for the Reds starters.

–Wilson Valdez and Miguel Cairo started on the left side of the infield. Like I said above, Dusty has to play those guys, if they’re on the roster. Heck, Cairo has been a good Red for a couple of years; I’m not gonna complain when he gets into the lineup on occasion. We can discuss the wisdom of starting them on the same day, but that’s not really the problem. The problem is that this bench is exceptionally weak:

It’s a real problem.

–Just a bad day. They’ll play another game tomorrow, and the good guys are still atop the division standings. Let’s forget about it, okay?