by Danny Mehigan
Just a week after taking three of four from Houston in Houston, the Reds enjoyed a visit from the division foe at the Great American Ballpark. Well, it turns out that homefield advantage doesn’t mean shit to these two. The “Stros have won 16 of the last 18 games in Cincinnati. Before we get to the particulars, however, Edwin Encarnacion has been sent to the disabled list with a sprained wrist. I’m pretty sure his feelings have just been hurt since I gave him the Weak Sauce Player of the Week anti-award for Atlanta series. The power of my words is enough to move mountains, or so I’ve heard, so I assume they can also send baseball players to the disabled list. To combat his softness, the Reds called up Adam Rosales from AAA where he was absolutely torching the ball (.431 average, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 11-game hitting streak). But ah yes, the games.
Monday – Astros 4, Reds 1: The Reds went up against Roy Oswalt, so they clearly were not going to win. Thanks to the knowledge I dropped on you before, you already knew that. Hope you took that info to Vegas – you’re welcome. Anyway, Oswalt locked down the bats just like we expected by only giving up one run in seven innings on the bump. Johnny Cueto pitched great again as well, going seven innings himself and also only giving up one run. But Francisco Cordero imploded in the 9th. He gave up three hits, three runs and one game. Joey Votto and Alex Gonzalez were the only players with multiple hits, and Chris Dickerson left the game after colliding with Miguel Tejada, but he should be fine in a few days.
Tuesday – Astros 8, Reds 3: The Reds cemented yet another series loss to Houston at home with a shellacking on Tuesday night. Aaron Harang got knocked all over the yard, giving up six runs in five innings, but it wouldn’t have mattered much because Wandy Rodriguez is evidently a bossman. Wandy twirled seven innings of one-run ball and dropped his season ERA to 1.69. Who knew?? Brandon Phillips and Lanyce Nix hit late dingers for Cincy, but it was far too late to matter. Since destruction of property is always a good time, Harang made sure it wasn’t a completely wasted night by chucking his glove in the dugout and messing around with some watercoolers. Let it all out, buddy. Let it all out.
Wednesday – Reds 3, Astros 0: Los Rojos avoided the sweep with a masterful performance from one Edinson Volquez on Wednesday night. Over 106 pitches, Volquez went eight innings and struck out six while walking just one. He gave up a ringing double to Miguel Tejada in the first inning, and that was all. As in no more hits for Houston. Frankie Cordero locked down the 9th for his seventh save. The offense was quiet – only eight hits and single runs in three different innings, but they didn’t need much. Laynce Nix legged out a triple, which is always funny to watch. Alex Gonzalez had two more hits, which raised his average to .190 and ever closer to the Mendoza Line.
Hot Fire Player of the Series: Edinson Volquez. Not much to discuss here, as Volquez is easily the man of the hour. Not only did his stellar outing stop the mini-losing streak, but it also showed the dominance that we should come to expect out of him. I wouldn’t be surprised if it launched Volquez into a long hot streak as the season marches along.
Weak Sauce Player of the Series: Joey Votto. The Cincy first baseman went 2-for-11 in the 3-game set, which is never good. But more than that, he made an anti-clutch play in which he was charged for two errors when he muffed a ground ball and then threw it away. That play started a big rally for Houston in the Tuesday loss and kind of epitomized the night. We’re not too mad at Joey, since he is still hitting .346 after all, but still, it woulda been nice to win a series at home against them for once. Get your game up, Joey.
Records: 11-10, tied for third in the NL Central. 4-7 at home (Gross).
Next up: The Reds travel to Pittsburgh for a Friday through Sunday series with the vaunted Pirates. Bronson Arroyo, Micah Owings and Johnny Cueto are on the hill.