Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds  (2-6)
 5  10  1
St. Louis Cardinals  (5-3)  7  13  0
W: Lynn (2-0)   L:  Ondrusek (0-1)  S: Rosenthal (3)
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The Good

Devin Mesoraco returned to the starting lineup and had two doubles. Ryan Ludwick had a couple RBI without a hit. Joey Votto and Jay Bruce each had a couple of hits.

The Bad

Homer Bailey had a second game where he wasn’t sharp, giving up four runs, all in the second inning. He hasn’t so far been the same pitcher that shut the Cardinals out twice in September last year. That said, the Reds were leading when he left the game. The bullpen gave up three runs. If the FBI can spare a couple agents, they should send out a search party for Sam LeCure. The Reds leadoff hitter is batting .091/.130/.136. He should be moved down in the lineup.

Not so random thoughts …

The Cardinals are better than the Reds. There’s no getting around that. Every analyst before the season told us the Cardinals were better. Many of them ranked the Cardinals the best team in all of baseball. I warned repeatedly that the Reds front office appeared satisfied putting a team together that would be competitive for a wild card spot, not one that could challenge the Cardinals. Batting an unproven rookie in the lead-off spot is not something a team that is serious about playing for a division championship does.

The Cardinals are a better hitting team, with a deeper lineup. They have solid starters with a couple excellent pitchers at the top of their rotation. Their bullpen is great. They were seven games better than the Reds last year and the Reds lost their second best hitter and didn’t do anything to replace him or improve the team much otherwise. Then throw in a rash of injuries to the bullpen, Devin Mesoraco and Mat Latos.

It’s early, to be sure. But it’s also hard to argue the games against St. Louis aren’t breaking according to form. The gap between the two teams is showing up decisively in head-to-head match-ups. And unfortunately, the depleted Reds squad has played the Cardinals a lot at the start of this season. Of course, they also lost 2 of 3 to the Mets.

If you want a silver lining, the margin of victory in most of the games between the two teams has been scored off of Reds pitchers that won’t be taking the mound much once everyone gets healthy. And pretty soon, the Reds will be playing other teams.

Whether the Reds can compete for a wild card spot remains to be seen. There are 154 more games left to determine that.