Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Reds offense sputters in defeat to LA

Just two days removed from being snubbed from the NL All-Star team, Johnny Cueto looked to prove his mettle on Tuesday night against the Dodgers in Los Angeles. The right-hander did succeed in pitching a whale of a game, but unfortunately, his supporting offense failed to provide much help to his cause en route to a 3-1 defeat to the hands of the host Dodgers (45-37). Thus pinning the owner of one of the league's lowest ERA's with the loss and dropping the Reds (44-36) into a two-way tie for first.

Here's what you need to know in case you didn't stay up late on Tuesday night:

The Good:
- Cueto notched his 13th quality start in 17 tries this season. The hard-luck loser (9-5) pitched seven frames, allowed seven hits and three runs. He did not walk a batter, but struck out seven.
- Joey Votto picked up a pair of singles in his first game back from missing a couple due to a sore knee. Just his presence alone is a huge lift to the lineup.
- Like Votto, Ryan Ludwick was 2-4 with a couple of singles as well.
- Brandon Phillips knocked in Cincy's only run (47) with his 13th double of 2012 in the fifth.
- Logan Ondrusek pitched a scoreless inning in relief to help lower his overall ERA to an even 3.00.
- Despite the setback, the Reds still have a shot an winning the series on Wednesday.

The Bad:
- The offense left nine men on base and was 1-6 with RISP.
- The Reds have scored exactly ONE run combined in Cueto's last two starts.
- Drew Stubbs' struggles at the plate continued after an 0-4 night with two punchouts. He's hitless in his last 24 at-bats and is now hitting a woeful .218.
- The Pirates won over the Astros on Tuesday, meaning that the Reds are no longer in sole possession of first place in the NL Central. They now share that title with Pittsburgh.
- One run was all the Reds could muster. Eek.

The Notables:
- A paid crowd of 33,884 took in the action under comfortable 70-degree conditions.
- LA placed former Red Todd Coffey on the 15-day disabled list prior to the game due to a partially torn elbow ligament. The injury will require season-ending surgery on the 280-pounder.
- Dodgers 3B Luis Cruz was credited with stealing home in the seventh, although the scoring decision could've easily tabbed the play as a wild pitch or passed ball.
- Up next: The boys in red aim to win the series in the rubber game on Wednesday as Mike Leake (3-5, 4.12) takes the hill to counter former Red Aaron Harang (5-5, 3.68). First pitch is slated for 9:10 et.

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