Reds Welcome Back Rolen, Fall to Brewers
Scott Rolen, who was out for 9 games with illness and a hamstring issue, was welcomed back almost instantly Monday night in Milwaukee. He fielded a groundball cleanly to record the second out of the first inning. Then in the top of the second, in his first at bat he was plunked in his thigh by a breaking ball. He would later be brought in by a Ryan Hanigan single and score the first run of the game.
But Scott Rolen was just a piece in the entire puzzle of the second inning. After hitting Rolen, Randy Wolf allowed singles to Johnny Gomes and Jay Bruce, who both have been hitting well on this road trip, to load the bases. Rookie Drew Stubbs was unable to bring them in as he struck out for the 102nd time this season. Though luckily for him Ryan Hanigan was there to pick up the slack as he lined a breaking ball into leftfield to score both Rolen and Gomes. The Reds weren’t able to do any extra damage, but lead 2-0.
The lead did not last long. After retiring 8 straight batters to open the game, Bronson Arroyo allowed a two out single to the pitcher, and then a straight away homerun to centerfielder Rickey Weeks. 2-2 though 3.
The Reds through this road trip has seen some amazing pitching performances First Johnny Cueto pitched 8 innings of scoreless baseball . The Reds won 7-0. The next day, their opponent Wandy Rodriguez pitched 7 innings of just 1 hit baseball. The Astros won 4-0. Tonight, both Reds pitcher (and current ace) Bronson Arroyo and opposing pitcher Randy Wolf had fantastic nights as the offenses where unable to do anything after the third. The score remained 2-2 until the 8th.
After picking up 2 outs Bronson Arroyo, who was working on a 2 hitter, faced long time Reds foe pinch hitter Jim Edmonds. After the count ran 1-2 Arroyo challenged him inside. Edmonds creamed it extremely deep…but just foul. The very next pitch, Arroyo went inside again, and Edmonds creamed it again…this time to right centerfield to give the Brew Crew a 2-3 lead. Arroyo was able to strike out the next batter but the damage was done.
In the Top of the 9th, the Brewers sent out John Axford. After making Jay Bruce look silly with an awesome breaking ball, Axford gave up a double to the hot hitting Lance Nix. Hanigan, whom drove in 2 RBI in the second, grounded to Ghee at third, but reached base safely after a running mistake by Nix who was tagged out trying to advance to third. Heiesy who has 4 pinch hit homeruns already pinched hit for Arroyo, but struck out on 3 pitches. Axford picked up his 15th save in 16 tires.
Getting back to the performance of Wolf, he was able to go 7 innings, allowed just 2 runs and gave up just 5 hits. He did not get the win, Carlos Villanueva who pitched both the 8th was rewarded the win which was his first of the year.
A few Thoughts, Dusty Baker tried to change up the line up by putting the hot hitting Orlando Cabrera in the lead off position and switching Brandon Phillips to the 2 spot. Neither did much. Phillips in the last week is batting a pitiful .120 and tonight did not help his cause as he went 0 for 3 and was struck out. BP (as some call him) has shown to be a streaky hitter throughout his career and all the Reds can really do is wait for their second baseman to turn the ship around. Orlando Cabrera on the other hand is hitting .333 in the last 7 days, despite this off game where he too went 0 fer.
Scott Rolen did show some rust as he went 0 for 3. But when he ran the bases after getting hit and playing defense at third did look healthy.
As I mentioned earlier, Drew Stubbs has a ton of strikeouts. He latter record his 103rd which is good for 7th in the NL (8 th in all of MLB). That is a ton for a non homerun hitting player. Stubbs is one of (if not THE) faster player on the Reds ball club. He’s young and has shown to be clutch this season. Most reds insiders see him as the feature of the outfield, so it is understandable why the men in charge may look the other way. But it is essential that Stubbs is able to put the bat on the ball if the Reds hope to continue to compete for the Central crown this season. With all the speed, agility and talent the guy has, putting the ball in play could easily result in hits for him. Something that his average could use (.237).
The lost does a few of things negative for the Reds. First it creates a losing streak, it drops them now a full game out of first place, and believe it or not, now gives the Milwaukee Brewers hope of getting back in the race as they are now just 7½ games back with plenty of time and talent and momentum.
By Parker Perry
As always, you can email me at Parker.Perry17@gmail.com for comments or concerns…..Always a Reds Fan
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