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Meet Me in St. Louis

Reds pitching was roughed up all day today.  Starter Bronson Arroyo uncharacteristically pitched only 4 1/3 innings, giving up seven earned runs on ten hits in a 12-4 loss at the St. Louis Cardinals.  The truly surprising statistic for Arroyo today was the five walks allowed.  Today was one of very few bad starts from the usually solid starter.

The sad part today was not the poor start of Arroyo, but the bullpen was equally as bad.  Bronson has had some truly great starts this past month, and sometimes he will have a bad day.  This is one of the days where the bullpen needed to step up, and it didn't.  Something has to be done about the bullpen.  Arthur Rhodes can't pitch every day, unfortunately.  Cordero has been solid lately, but it doesn't matter if the Reds are already out of the game.  The weak points are Mike Lincoln, Nick Masset, and Carlos Fisher.  None of these three have had consecutive solid outings.  I can't remember the last good performance from Lincoln.  People like to defend Lincoln, saying that he has good stuff, but what does good stuff matter if he can't use it to win games.  Arroyo left the game with a 7-3 deficit.  That's not too bad, a four run deficit is not the best situation but it's possible to come back.  The bullpen just simply wasn't up to the task.

The rumor that I have heard and read tossed around is that of Aroldis Chapman being brought up from Louisville to the bullpen.  This seems like the best option to me.  I would even bring Del Rosario up again, although they have to wait 10 days after they sent him down to bring him back up.  Del Rosario didn't look fantastic in his limited time in the majors, but it can't hurt.  Masset, Lincoln, and Fisher are at best a 50/50 chance of having a good outing.  Not good odds.

If the Reds can figure out this bullpen situation, they will be the best team in the NL for the rest of the season.  I'm no GM, but I know something must be done.  This offense provides the best postseason chance I can remember, and the starting pitching has been great most of the time.  Unfortunately, there is a weak link and it is the bullpen.

The offense had another good game.  Facing a great young pitcher in Jaime Garcia.  I can't stand the guy simply because his name should be pronounced JAY-mee, but is instead pronounced HIGH-may.  Strange things bother me.  The Reds managed three runs and seven hits on Garcia.  Brandon Phillips managed a 2 for 4 day, as did Scott Rolen.  The Reds are still hitting quite well.  Although Miguel Cairo has performed incredibly, it would still be nice to see Joey Votto in for the last two games of this pivotal series.

Drew Stubbs had a triple in the fourth, and later scored on Orlando Cabrera's single.  After the fourth, all the Reds could muster would be a single run in the eighth to make the game look a little less embarassing, ending in the 12-4 final score.

The Cardinals' win placed them into a first-place tie with the Cincinnati Reds for the time being.  The tiebreaker will be held tomorrow night at 8:15 PM in St. Louis.  Starting for the Reds will be the hot Johnny Cueto at 5-1 on the year.  He'll be going up against the Cardinals' P.J. Walters, who is at 1-0 with a 2.00 ERA in 2 games this year.  Tomorrow night is a must-win for the Reds, and Cueto should be up to the task.

     - Mike Zimmerman

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