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Dusty Baker has no idea what the hell he's doing, the bullpen loses this one 7-4

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Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

The obvious choice here would be Albert Pujols, but you know what, I'm going to say it's Homer Bailey.  Homer went 7 1/3 innings, and left the game with a goose egg on the board before the manager decided he didn't deserve to win.  His line showed 2 runs, 2 walks, and 5 strikeouts, but it doesn't do his performance justice.  After putting two on base to start the game, he put down 13 Cards in a row before hitting Joe Thurston by a pitch, and retired the next 7 before giving up a double to Yadier Molina.  He had all three pitches working well, with his fastball getting up to 95 consistently and his new splitter working as advertised.  He deserved this one.

Key Plays

  • After letting the first two runners on, Homer struck out Albert Pujols to start a string of 21 batters without giving up a hit. 
  • In the bottom of the inning, the Reds struck quickly with Chris Dickerson leading off with a double and an error on a Willy Taveras bunt driving him in to take an early lead.
  • With Homer rolling in the 6th inning, doubles by Brandon Phillips and Jerry Hairston, Jr, gave the Reds a 3-0 lead.  That should have been enough.
  • After Homer had two runners on with one out in the 8th, Dusty brought Arthur Rhodes in to pitch, and he walked the bases loaded.
  • The next move is completely inexplicable to me.  Despite being 9-for-18 against Pujols with 2 home runs given up, Dusty brought David Weathers in to face him.  As one could have predicted, Pujols hit a 2-2 pitch over the fence for a grand slam and a 4-3 lead for the Cardinals.
  • In the bottom of the inning, a little small ball helped the Reds tie the game, with Ramon Hernandez hitting a sac fly to drive in the tying run. 
  • In the 9th, Nick Masset got the first out before taking a liner off his pitching arm to get taken out of the game.  Daniel Ray Herrera then gave up the leading run after the slick-fielding Paul Janish makes an error that could have got them out of the inning.  Carlos Fisher was the next pitcher brought in to face Pujols, who doubled to make it 7-4.  Meanwhile, the Reds' best reliever, Coco Cordero, got to the final boss playing Guitar Hero on his Nintendo DS.
  • In the bottom of the inning, Edwin Encarnacion, who wasn't starting the game because he wasn't ready to play in the majors yet, hit a double to start a rally.  With two outs, Willy Taveras hit for himself while the Reds' two best pinch hitters, Micah Owings and Jonny Gomes, played Go Fish on the bench.  Despite Dusty's best efforts to lose right there, Willy inexplicably drew his first walk since May 23rd and brought the tying run to the plate.
  • Joey Votto walked, and Brandon Phillips struck out with a swing that blew out some poor kid's sparkler out in West Virginia.  Game over.

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via www.fangraphs.com

Other Notes

  • It's a really tough night when one of the team's best strengths throughout the season ends up beating them.  Nobody in the bullpen had a good night.
  • I'm still wondering what Dusty's thought process was bringing in David Weathers to face Pujols in the 8th.  if anyone can explain this, I'd love to hear it.  9-for-18 with 2 HR is not a recipe for success, no matter how good Weathers has pitched this season
  • There's still the argument that they should have intentionally walked Pujols to avoid pitching to him, but hindsight is 20/20.  I think it would have been a risky move, and there's no telling what Ludwick does after him.
  • This is arguably one of the biggest "stomach punch" games for the Reds so far this season.  They were rolling until Dusty made some questionable moves, and it's hard to argue that using the roster efficiently doesn't give the Reds a better chance to win tonight.
  • I would imagine fan confidence would be at a season-long low at this point.  Friday night, sold out crowd, against a division rival, and they blew it.  In the long run, it's only one game, but the effect of this one will be felt much harder than the increase in the "L" column alone.
  • The Cardinals are one of the few teams in baseball with one player that can singlehandedly beat you on any given night.  A good manager doesn't let that guy drive in 5 runs in the final two innings of a game where they've only scored 4 runs.  Period.
  • Okay, enough ranting.  Jerry Hairston, Jr. was 3-for-4, which is great to see.  With his game, and Paul Janish probably earning himself another month in the doghouse, we're going to be seeing a lot more of Cherry.
  • Brandon Phillips had two hits, as did Willy Taveras.  Taveras got on base 3 out of the 5 times he was up, buying him another two months in CF batting leadoff.
  • Who the hell wants to see fireworks after a loss like this?