Final R H E
  Cincinnati Reds  (19-23)
3 10 0
  Philadelphia Phillies  (19-22)
8 9 1
 W:  Lee (4-4)     L: Cingrani (2-3)
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Positives

Devin Mesoraco (.500/.541/.870) continued his rampage through National League pitching with four line drive hits, including two doubles and a single that missed being a home run by not much. Cowboy: “He’s hitting the ball like he knows what’s coming. And that’s one strong fella.” Bryan Price note to self: Must get Devin in the lineup every day.

Billy Hamilton had two hits and made an accurate throw to nail Jimmy Rollins at third base. He doesn’t have Drew Stubbs’ arm, but the throw proved that aspect of his defense is clearly above average.

Negatives

Ryan Ludwick, who’s sole value to the Reds is hitting the baseball with power, has not hit a home run since April 14. He’s only had one extra-base hit since April  27. Today, he also flunked a baseball-fundamental test in the sixth inning, failing to advance Mesoraco from second base after a leadoff double. Nothing would improve the Reds offense more than finding another left-fielder. Ignoring my unsolicited advice, the front office didn’t make a move in 2013 to find a replacement for Ludwick. Instead, they waited (in vain) for Ludwick’s power to return from his shoulder injury. Tick-tock. How much longer can Bryan Price afford to give Ludwick regular playing time?

Similarly, it’s not Neftali Soto‘s fault that the Reds apparently have nowhere else to turn for a first baseman. Soto started for the second day in a row because Bryan Price seems to have decided to platoon Soto and Brayan Peña. Soto hasn’t drawn a walk in his 37 major league plate appearances, so that should appease the Votto critics. His key defensive lapse in the sixth inning, when he didn’t throw home to prevent Cliff Lee from scoring, allowed the then go-ahead run to score.

Manny Parra took his turn supplying the hope-crushing bullpen appearance. Parra walked the lead-off hitter (seriously, if I were a manager I’d fine relievers for that) and then also walked Ryan Howard, who didn’t seem like he was seeing the ball that well all. Parra ended up surrendering four runs in the seventh inning.

Painful repost from yesterday: The Reds bullpen again showed why it’s been the worst in the National League by miles and miles. Yet, not a single bullpen pitcher has been demoted to AAA for cause all season (nor any other player, for that matter). All hail accountability.

Not so random thoughts

Tony Cingrani‘s first start after coming off the DL was OK. He gave up three solo home runs. But he also showed his arm is fine by striking out seven Phillies in six innings. He displayed a deadly pick-off move against Cody Asche. Overall, his start was encouraging. But he didn’t make the list of Positives for a reason.

Unlike against Cole Hamels yesterday, the Reds had a realistic chance to beat Cliff Lee today, who was far from sharp. But they needed a little better start from Tony Cingrani, to play smart defense and have someone beside Devin Mesoraco hit the ball with authority.

Remember 2012 when Joey Votto went on the DL and Todd Frazier and Ryan Ludwick stepped up so much the Reds didn’t miss their MVP first baseman? Frazier and Ludwick were a combined 2-25 this weekend.

Need a healthy Jay Bruce and Joey Votto back, please.