Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (11-17)
2 4 1
Milwaukee Brewers (13-15)
3 5 0
W: Woodruff (2-2) L: Castillo (0-4) SV: Hader (7)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

The Cincinnati Reds fell to their fourth straight loss and sixth loss in the last eight games in perhaps the season’s most crucial stretch of games against divisional opponents, falling tonight to the Brewers, 3-2. With the Reds trailing Milwaukee by that score in the top of the fifth, they loaded the bases with nobody out. Joey Votto looked at a close pitch from Brandon Woodruff for a called strike three. Then, this happened:

Freddy Galvis, the runner at third, saw the ball hit by Nick Castellanos headed to right field, thought it might be caught, so he tagged up in the event he was sent home on a sacrifice fly by third base coach J.R. House. Unfortunately, Brewers rightfielder Ben Gamel made the great throw to the plate to get Galvis on a force-out. Jesse Winker then popped up for the third out.

Redleg Nation erupted with frustration and disappointment, but when you think about the position Galvis was in, had he not tagged up and the ball was caught, the anger would have been even greater. It was just a bad spot for Galvis to be in, and it worked out in predictably disappointing fashion.

The Offense

There wasn’t much, as has become the rule. Cincinnati took the 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth on this hit by Mike Moustakas:

Big night for Mark Payton, whose first major league hit was close to clearing the Miller Park fence:

The Pitching

Prior to tonight’s game, Cincinnati had the ninth-best team ERA in the big leagues, 4.11. Not superb, but it is above average. Tonight was another example of a pitching performance that would be more than good enough to win most games for a team that could put together some at-least-average offensive production.

The defense

This excellent throw by Castellanos stopped the Milwaukee fourth-inning rally at only three runs:

My Opinion

Over in tonight’s game thread, I asked the following:

Guys, here is a thought that I’ve had … curious on your thoughts.

The front office did everything anyone could have asked this off-season. They spent $150+ million to #getthehitting and improve the club. I’ve read the statistics about the very bad luck of the hitters so far, and it makes sense. What I don’t see is any emotion. I’m sure it’s hard to be emotional when you are constantly getting the bat knocked out of your hands.

I wonder if this team just has no idea how to win. Every team has to go through a process where they learn how to win, and admittedly part of that process is good players playing well. But there are only two players on this team with a championship pedigree, and that’s Moustakas and Strop.

I wonder if the players are so accustomed to losing that they go through the mental “here-we-go-again” gymnastics that we fans do. None of them (except Votto about a decade ago) have been through a grind that resulted in a winning season. They don’t know what needs to be done to fight the human tendency to believe you are as bad as you appear to be at the moment.

Please let me know your thoughts.

The comments were generally in agreement that at least some of my points had some merit.

It’s clear that only an extended winning streak is going to get this team back into contention, and it is very, very difficult to imagine this team doing that. We have to begin to realize that this thing we were hoping for this year is not going to happen. That doesn’t mean giving up. But it does mean that by now it is clear that the player performances we were expecting this year are not going to just materialize out of thin air. It’s taken me a while to reach that realization. I had very high hopes and expectations for this team, and the results at times have been a crushing disappointment.

Everyone, including the front office, the coaching staff, and the players themselves, are looking for answers. The statistics that illustrate bad batting luck are illustrative, but they can be a crutch for a team that needs to be fighting through the problems instead of seeking something to lean on.

Certainly, it’s easy for those of us who critique from the couch to do so, because we don’t have to face Brandon Woodruff and Josh Hader. But there is no way that an entire team with credentialed major league players (exclude Jesse Winker from this critique) should hit this poorly over what is now effectively half of the shortened season.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds vs. Milwaukee Brewers

Wednesday, August 26th, 7:10 pm ET

Sonny Gray (2.21 ERA, 4-1) vs. Adrian Houser (3.72 ERA, 1-2)