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Bryce Harper picks up 100th RBI of the season as Phillies thump Reds 6-2

This was one of the more routine losses in recent memory, and I already hate that headline.

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Cincinnati Reds David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

Josh VanMeter singled and walked from the leadoff spot, which was well and good and fine.

Aristides Aquino drove in the lone run, because Aristides Aquino drives in runs.

Alex Blandino stuffed the box score with a HBP and a sac-fly ribbie.

Sal Romano and Matt Bowman - two guys largely on the fringe of the Reds bullpen options all year - combined to pitch 3 perfect innings with 4 total Ks. That’s good!

But something about this game just loomed over everything from the very start, and the malaise was generally palpable. Perhaps the double-doubleheaders over the weekend were to blame, and if so it’s hard to truly blame them. One overriding thing is quite noticeable at this juncture, however - when you look at the standings and see 10 more losses than wins at this point of the season, no Eugenio Suarez (again), no Jesse Winker (again), and Joey Votto a shell of his former self, this already thin lineup doesn’t really scare anyone.

Not even Aquino can do it all himself.

Key Plays

  • The Reds wasted little time getting to Vince Velasquez, scoring yet another 1st inning run. VanMeter led things off with a rope into RF for a single, and he moved up a bag a batter later after Joey Votto walked. A Freddy Galvis deep fly-out to CF then allowed Josh to tag up and take 3B, which put him plenty close to home plate to score on Aquino’s RBI single. Reds led, 1-0.
  • A leadoff double by Adam Haseley in the Top of the 3rd led to the Phillies getting on the board. Haseley moved up to 3B on a Velasquez bunt, and former would-be Red J.T. Realmuto then plated the runner with a deep sac fly to RF. Game tied, 1-1.
  • Jean Segura barreled up a laser to CF off Amir Garrett in the Top of the 4th, the exit velocity of 99.2 mph enough to sail over the head of Nick Senzel in CF on a ball that in theory could have been caught. Instead, it went for a double, and Segura scored a batter later on an RBI single up the middle (at 106.9 mph off Garrett’s leg, actually) by Cesar Hernandez. Reds trailed, 2-1.
  • Walks haunt, y’know. R.J. Alaniz was on the bump for the Top of the 5th. He walked Corey Dickerson. Then, he walked Realmuto. That put a runner in scoring position for Bryce Harper, who picked up his 100th ribbie of the season with a single into RF. That single put Realmuto on 3B with none out, and he scored on a sac-fly into RF by Rhys Hoskins. Reds trailed, 4-1.
  • The Reds staged a mini-rally in the Bottom of the 8th against reliever Blake Parker, which was nice to see after they went 5 innings in a row without a hit. Curt Casali singled to begin things, and he motored to 3B on a single by Tucker Barnhart. That put a runner on 3B for Blandino, who drove it in with a sac-fly. That was it for both that rally and for the Reds on the whole tonight, however, as the exited the inning trailing 4-2.
  • Wandy Peralta was brought in for the Top of the 9th, though, meaning the 4-2 score was not going to hold. True to form, Scott Kingery took him yard to open the inning, while a pair of doubles from Haseley and Dickerson then followed to tack on another run. That left the Reds down 6-2, which is how this one finished.

Tony Graphanino

Source: FanGraphs

Other Notes

  • You’ll recall that Alex Wood was supposed to start this game at one point. He did not. The back issues that plagued him earlier this year have pretty much returned, which means we might not see him again for the rest of the season. Serious bummer for Wood as he barrels towards free agency in the worst manner possible.
  • Speaking of Wood’s absence, Lucas Sims got the start in what was obviously set to be a bullpen game. Sims hadn’t thrown more than 36 pitches in any of his last 13 appearances dating back to July 28th, so seeing him pulled today after just 34 pitches made sense, especially with the expanded rosters. His final line: 2.2 IP, 3 H, ER, 2 K.
  • I mentioned that Geno Suarez missed yet another game with his sore hand. On the broadcast, Jim Day mentioned that Suarez was tentatively targeting Friday for his return.
  • Wednesday will feature a mound matchup that in 2018 would’ve been just about as star-studded as you could find. 2019 has been a much, much different story, however. Aaron Nola has still managed to put up a rock-solid 4.6 bWAR this season, but that’s still quite the drop-off from his unprecedented 10.4 bWAR campaign last year. He’ll start for the Phillies opposite Trevor Bauer, who’s 2019 struggles you Reds fans have seen firsthand. First pitch is set for 6:40 PM ET.
  • Tunes.