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Braves 4, Reds 3 - Early offense and solid bullpen aren't enough for Cincinnati to top Atlanta

Insert Dennis green speech about having the other team right where they wanted before they let 'em get away.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

That mini-blip that Joey Votto went through for 12 or so PA last week?  It's probably time you disregard that.

The Cincinnati Reds 1B slash MVP slash best-LH-hitter-in-baseball has seemingly rediscovered the hitting ability we saw up until the end of last week, and tonight he put his running shoes on to further augment it.  Votto singled twice, walked once, scored once, and stole a pair of bases, and even chipped in with a diving play at 1B that included a nifty flip to Anthony DeSclafani for a barehanded out.

Have another trophy, Joe Dan.

Honorable Mentions are due to:  Brandon Phillips, who had a very comparable night to Votto with a pair of hits, a pair of RBIs, and a pair of steals; Zack Cozart, who also had two hits and a steal; and the much maligned bullpen, who got scoreless innings from each of Kevin Gregg, J.J. Hoover, and Carlos Contreras.

That all reads like the Reds should have won against a team as depleted as the Atlanta Braves who rolled out a rookie starter who couldn't get past the 5th inning, right?


Key Plays

  • The Reds jumped right on rookie Mike Foltynewicz in the Top of the 1st.  Well, almost right away.  Billy Hamilton lined out to start the inning, but the Cozart and Votto then hit back to back singles to RF before a double steal put both runners in scoring position.  Todd Frazier struck out before I could get my TV on, but I can only imagine tHom marveling at Todd's "inability" to get the runner in from 3B with less that 2-outs.  Did that happen?  I'm guessing that happened.  Regardless, the rest of the order picked up their Jersey-bred teammate, as Jay Bruce walked to load the bags and Phillips then poked a Folty off-speed pitch just over the 2B's outstretched glove into CF to drive in a pair.  Marlon Byrd then hit what sounded like a missile, but instead of a 3-run dinger it was merely a warning track fly-out.  Reds led, 2-0.
  • The Reds tacked on another run in the Top of the 4th, and this time it was Phillips crossing the plate.  He led off with a single, stole 2B because A.J. Pierzynski can't throw anyone out, moved to 3B because A.J. Pierzynski couldn't catch a Folty fastball, and scored when DeSclafani lifted a deep sac fly to RF.  Reds led, 3-0.
  • Ya know what hurts?  2-out doubles to opposing pitchers who are making their big league debuts.  Ya know what hurts worse?  When there are two men on - one via walk - and they both score.  Dang.  That bit DeSclafani in the Bottom of the 4th, as Folty smacked a double to the wall in left-center after an Andrelton Simmons single and an Eric Young, Jr. walk - that haunted.  Reds led, 3-2.
  • Disco again was bit by a bit of wildness in the Bottom of the 5th, as his 1-out walk to Freddie Freeman coupled with Kelly Johnson's 2-out, 2-run dinger left the Reds trailing in a game they'd seemingly dominated prior to that point.  Oof.  They haunt, those walks.  Haunt, haunt, haunt.  Of course, dingers haunt, too.  Reds trailed, 4-3.
  • That's it.  That's all.  In a game the Reds seemingly had in hand against a rookie they were rocking and backed by the first real, consistent multi-inning bullpen performance of the season, the Reds offense went to sleep for the remainder of the game.  Reds lose, 4-3.
Tony Graphanino

Source: FanGraphs

Other Notes
  • Devin Mesoraco got another pinch hit appearance tonight, which is the dumbest thing I think I've seen in my lifetime of watching Reds baseball, and I was plenty old enough to watch everything Jim Bowden did.
  • Mes popped out, by the way, which means he still has just 2 hits on the season and has a batting average lower than 1999 gas prices.  He's not right, it's obvious, and it's a charade that has outlived it's shelf life.  I'd again say DL him, but woops, he pinch hit tonight, so his potential back-dated DL stint clock reset.
  • The Reds out-hit, out defended, and out stole the Braves tonight, and they did so on an evening featuring 3 scoreless innings from their bullpen, yet they still lost.  It's these kind of games that banged-up teams already projected to be middle of the road simply can't afford to lose.
  • DeSclafani's final line:  5 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 5 K, 1 pitch to the opposing pitcher he'd desperately like back.  Despite the spate of wildness, he mostly looked good through the bulk of his start, but it just seemed to get away from him.
  • Jason Marquis will take the hill for the Reds in game 2 of the series tomorrow, hurling balls at his former club while opposed by Eric Stults.  First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT.  Someone set a text alert to send to bbjones.
  • Tunes.