We came in here and took care of business. We’ll go on the road on a roll with some momentum. We plan on coming back [home] in first place.
Today the Reds are two and half games back. The Brewers and Cardinals are tied for first.
The road trip had a bad beginning when blooming star 1B Joey Votto left the game early – again – and pitching ace Aaron Harang proceeded to be beaten around like a rented mule. Often the victim of little run support, he was spotted an early lead that he couldn’t hold. The following day Votto was placed on the 15 day DL for stress related issues, left the club, and the Reds rallied to lose the next two games; five of the seven total games on the trip.
While the five losses are the ugliest aspects of the trip they are not the end of the ugly. Jay Bruce, who confidently predicted a triumphant return to the Queen City, notched one hit during the entire trip. This basically meant that the Reds were without Votto and Bruce for all seven games. Edinson Volquez’ return from the DL lasted exactly an inning. Wily Taveras missed time with a tweaked hamstring, said he was ready to return when he wasn’t, and as a result played CF like a one-legged man. The pitching was inconsistent.
In my opinion there were only two bright spots of the trip, and I’m not talking about the wins. First, Brandon Phillips is toughing out an injured hand. He has a broken thumb, but is still playing a superb 2B, hitting the ball well, driving in runs, and stealing bases. He knows how much the team needs him, and he is out there doing the job. Second, Laynce Nix had a good trip. He hit three homers in the St. Louis series, and has played above average in left field, leading Phillips to say, “It’s good to have a guy in left field that can hit the ball and who can catch the ball.”
Beginning tonight at GABP the Reds square off against the Cubbies for three games. Still without the stressed out Votto, the injured Volquez, the hobbled Taveras, and with Jay Bruce who may need a refresher course in hitting.
I hope the ugly has ended.