Monday, June 13, 2011
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave while remembering trips to Fisherman’s Wharf on a cold San Francisco night (is there any other kind?) and remembering my wife Nadine feeling sorry for the sea lions and wanting to organize a Blankets for the Sea Lions group.
THERE was nothing wrong with Edinson Volquez’s pitching Sunday night against the San Francisco Giants, very credible, but his baserunning resembled an elephant trapped in a small room.
And it cost him.
It was the fifth inning and the Reds led, 2-0. Volquez led the inning with a single. Drew Stubbs then pulled one down the left field line that ricocheted off the wall in foul territory. An ordinary runner on first base would have made it to third standing up. Volquez, though, stopped at second, forcing Stubbs to stop at first.
So instead of having runners on second and third with no outs, the Reds had runners on first and second.
Brandon Phillips struck out on a pitch in the dirt from Jonathan Sanchez. Joey Votto lined one to deep left that Cody Ross chased down near the wall.
Where was Volquez? Almost to third base, where he should have been in the first place. But he shouldn’t have been there at that moment. Ross threw to second base to double off Volquez and the inning was over.
Votto, the man who hit the ball, was visibly upset when the play ended, probably wondering if Volquez ever ran the bases in his life. Didn’t look like it.
And the Reds never scored again, losing 4-2 to split a four-game series that they easily could have swept.
WHILE HE PITCHED well enough to win, Volquez still uses too many pitches. He had 113 by the end of the sixth inning after giving up two runs and walking three and striking out five.
PIN THIS DEFEAT on the offense — six hits, one for six with runners in scoring position, seven runners left on base. The middle of the order was 0 for 9 (Brandon Phillips 0 for 4, Joey Votto 0 for 3 and Jay Bruce 0 for 2).
The Reds took a 2-0 lead in the fourth but should have scored more than two because the first four runners reached base.
Votto was hit by a pitch and Bruce walked. Scott Rolen doubled for one run and Jonny Gomes walked to fill the bases with no outs. Renteria hit a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0, but Ramon Hernandez hit into a double play.
End of offense.
The Giants scored a run in their fourth on a single by Nate Schierholtz and a double by Aubrey Huff, who was 6 for 35 at the time but finished this night with three important hits.
They tied it in the sixth when Volquez walked the first batter, Schierholtz, on four pitches, Huff singled and a run scored when the Reds failed to turn a double play on a ground ball to shortstop Edgar Renteria.
The Giants scored the two runs they needed in the seventh against the Reds’ bullpen.
Jose Arredondo walked the inning’s first hitter, Brandon Stewart. After he struck out pinch-hitter Pat Burrell, Arredondo gave up a double to Andres Torres, putting runners on second and third.
They wisely walked Reds-killer Miguel Tejada to fill the bases with one out.
With two left-handers coming up, manager Dusty Baker brought in left-hander Bill Bray. Schierholtz jumped on Bray’s first pitch and lined hard to center field, a sacrifice fly to make it 3-2. Then Huff singled to left and it was 4-2.
LEFTHANDER JAVIER Lopez started the eighth and quickly struck out both Votto and Bruce, then right-hander Sergio Romo came on to get Scott Rolen to pop out to first base.
All that was left was for closer Brian Wilson to do his thing. Fear the beard? With his long black beard, it is fun to sit and try to think who he looks like while he mows down your team.
Blackbear the Pirate? The Unabomber? One of the Smith Brothers of cough drop fame? Whatever, he did his job. Again.
He struck out Gomes, Renteria grounded to short, Hernandez singled for his second hit, but pinch-hitter Chris Heisey grounded to third on a full count.
It was The Beard’s 18th save to go with five wins and the Reds fell 4 ½ games behind the division leader. No, not St. Louis. The Milwaukee Brewers are now in first place.Tweet