Final R H E
  Cincinnati Reds  (51-48) 2 5 2
  Milwaukee Brewers (55-45) 5 8  0 
 W: Peralta (11-6)     L: Latos (2-2)
 FanGraphs Win Probability |   The Worldwide Leader’s Box Score    |   Game Photos

As the Reds were coming apart early in the game tonight, Jeff Brantley and Jim Kelch were talking in the radio booth about how the team sorely missed Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips. Brantley pointed out that meant the Reds were running two subs out there every night. “Adrenaline only gets you so far,” said the Cowboy.

“Talent shows up.”

Good grief, yes. The team that Walt Jocketty and Byran Price put on the field tonight included a minor league player, a rookie, a journeymen infielder and a career fourth outfielder. And that doesn’t include Skip Schumaker.

It needs to be said that the Reds substitute players have had more than their share of strong moments this year, leading to several improbable comebacks and other wins before the All-Star break. But the past four games have demonstrated just how much fool’s gold that was.

In the end, it really matters who is making the plays. For example, the Reds have completed many outstanding relay throws from the outfield this year, usually involving a combination of Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips, Zack Cozart and Devin Mesoraco. Tonight’s tragedy of errors started with a relay series that was every bit as horrible at each stage as the successful ones have been brilliant. Start with a weak throw from Billy Hamilton that bounced well short of the front relay man. Then add a weak throw from Ramon Santiago that bounced two thirds of the way between second and third. Combine the bad luck that the ball hit Segura on the foot with the even worse luck that the ball caromed away from Mat Latos and rolled in the dugout. The Brewers had their first run.

Unfortunately, the Reds shabby play was just getting started.

Chris Heisey misplayed Ryan Braun’s line drive into a double. Then Heisey misplayed Carlos Gomez’ fly ball into a double. The Brewers’ 245-lb pitcher tagged up at second base on a routine fly ball to left center field. (It’s obvious the Reds’ opponents don’t have much respect for Billy Hamilton’s arm.) Donald Lutz misplayed Scooter Gennett’s ground ball into another run. And the Brewers seemingly stole every base they wanted.

The Reds didn’t do much positive at the plate. They swung at pitches in the dirt, at fastballs that bounced in front of home plate, at breaking balls in the opposite batter’s box. Some of these were on full counts and would have produced walks if the Reds hitters had even a modicum of plate discipline. For the most part, they don’t work enough to just get on base. The home runs in the last four games have all been solo shots.

To be sure, Wily Peralta is a handful even with a healthy lineup. Tonight’s game looked like Germany vs. Brazil when he was on the mound.

The Reds had a few bright moments. Billy Hamilton (400 feet!) and Kris Negron hit impressive, bolt out of the blue, home runs. Hamilton and Zack Cozart made back-to-back sparkling defensive plays in the eighth inning.

Given the circumstances, Mat Latos actually pitched well tonight, despite giving up four earned runs. He didn’t walk anyone. Several of the hits he gave up should have been outs. Latos’ biggest challenge was keeping cool while the Bad News Bears were performing.

Votto and Phillips won’t be back until the end of August at best. The good news is the Reds aren’t going to play like this every night between now and then. Mesoraco will hit, Frazier will hit, Bruce will hit. The back-up singers will have their moments. But be assured, there will be more games like this one, too. There’s just too much of an aptitude gap for there not to be.

Until the talent shows up, one way or another.

16 Responses

  1. sergeant2

    I worry that by the end of August it will be too late even if the “Guardians Of The Universe” are sitting in the dugout.

  2. vegastypo

    Yeah, make the best of it, JMO. I was in San Diego for the lost 1-hitter, and some people from here witnessed first-hand the spectacle(s) in New York, so if it doesn’t go well, we’ll be feeling your pain!

    But what the heck, bring us a winner and turn around our fortunes!!!

  3. shannon bubnick

    trade toney cingrani and ryan ludwick for a power right handed hitter and give J.J. hoover away

  4. ToddAlmighty

    Their three first basemen were Hannahan, Soto, Lutz, and Meijas-Brean. One is old and no good. One is young and absolutely no good. One is not really too good. The final one is young and not ready having just been promoted to AA in midseason this year.

  5. ToddAlmighty

    I don’t think BP plays SS, 1B, RF, or LF… so those plays don’t get magically made just because he’s on the field. No magic auras that makes bad defenders suddenly not have bad defense or prevents good defenders from never having bad defensive games.

    Unless you honestly believe that Heisey doesn’t misplay two balls in LF today just because BP is standing on the field 240’+ from him.

  6. User1022

    Four bad games does not a season make.

  7. sezwhom

    My concern was that we were playing so well leading up to the All-Star break that it would carry over into the start of the 2nd half. Oops! Truth be told: Reds are unwatchable now. Walt needs to get off his widest side and do something.

  8. Sparky

    I have loved the Reds defense all season, one of the things that kept my playoff hopes alive (defense and great pitching). But losing two gold gloves on the same side of the infield with sub-par replacements has just been too much to overcome. Would liked to have seen a bit more fire (always want more fire) from Price last night. Hopefully the ejection sends a bit of a message and gets the boys out of da funk.

  9. Sparky

    I agree, its a tone of expected play-making. We sometimes take it for granted how good BP has been with his glove, and JV had turned up his defense this season as well.

  10. Sparky

    Whew! Thanks, I’ll go and cancel my subscription to MLB and save a few bucks. I’ll be able to go hang at the “fair weather bar” for real insightful entertainment.

  11. Sparky

    That was just a stupid lack of concentration error that he rarely makes. I your gonna whiff with the glove you can’t be whiffing at the plate as well. I remember the (I’m scared of the wall) error in San Fran as well.

  12. vegastypo

    Byrd wouldn’t be a rental, he has a two-year deal? Are you expecting the Reds to eat the $4.5 mil buyout on Ludwick for next year and let him go, and keep Byrd instead? Or keep them both?

  13. VaRedsFan

    Addition by subtraction. See Stubbs, Drew

  14. vegastypo

    agreed, said so at the time…. who knows what birthday boy smith said, if anything. Maybe Price will mention that on the pregame show if your theory is right, and he wants to take Latos off the hook. Though that would mean hanging it on his third base coach, which I don’t see happening either.

  15. Vicferrari

    Not to be nitpicky but it seems he has lapses more than a few, I recall first Series in ST. Louis he dropped a catchable fly ball when they had the lead in the bottom of the sixth.