UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, which doubled this night as a sauna/whirlpool/pressure cooker, as hot as the Cincinnati Reds’ bats are cold.
It is not true that the Cincinnati Reds are using manager Dusty Baker’s toothpicks as bats. It only looks that way.
Just when you believe matters couldn’t get worse, they get putrid.
Pittsburgh 1, Cincinnati 0.
The Reds have now gone 18 straight innings against the Legitsburgh Pirates without a sniff of home plate. They are putting up more zeros than the Japanese air force did in World War II.
And get this: The Pirates have scored three runs in the series so far and haven’t driven in a single run with a base hit.
In their 2-0 win Monday, the Pirates scored one run on a ground ball and another on a sacrifice fly. On Tuesday they scored their one run on a ground ball.
MIKE LEAKE PITCHED his initials off Tuesday — six innings, one run, two hits, two walks four strikeouts and one big, fat loss.
The Reds had only four hits through eight innings, one an infield hit by Fred Lewis and one a single by Leake.
They staged a two-out uprising against Pittsburgh closer Joel Hanrahan in the ninth, singles by Ramon Hernandez and Ryan Hanigan.
But Jay Bruce grounded to second to end the game and push the stranded runners total to nine and the hits with runners in scoring position to 1 for 7.
In their last three games, the Reds are 2 for 20 with runners in scoring position.
THE REDS HAD one major opportunity and it arose in the seventh — bases loaded, one out.
Typically, the Reds filled the bases without getting the ball out of the infield on two walks and an infield hit by Lewis.
And there was only one out, needing only a fly ball or a ground ball to the right side to score a run.
But pinch-hitter Bruce, 0 for 5 in his career against left-handed relief pitcher Joe Beimel, made it 0 for 6 by striking out.
Right-hander Chris Resop came in to face Drew Stubbs and he swung at the first pitch and grounded out to first to end the inning.
The Reds are now hitting .184 this year with the bases loaded and are 0 for 8 with the bases loaded since the All-Star break.
THE PIRATES, though, are in first place because they know how to score runs without hitting a home run, or even a single.
Legitsburgh scored the game’s only run in the first inning this way: With one out, Cincinnati native Josh Harrison singled to right. Neil Walker bounced a ground rule double over the left-center fence, putting runners on second and third. Andrew McCutcheon grounded to short, scoring Harrison from third.
The Reds had a mini-rally in the fifth when Hanigan doubled and took third on Leake’s grounder, the second out. Drew Stubbs struck out on three pitches.
So now the fast-fading Reds find themselves five games out of first place and find themselves not only trying to find a way to win a game, but trying to find a way to score a run.
THE REDS ARE 1-7 this year against the Pirates and they did a poll on the TV broadcast asking if fans thought the Pirates would stay in the race or fall out of it.
The voters said they’d fall out of it, but they forgot one thing. The Pirates have seven more games against the Reds, all at home.
IT IS OBVIOUS you have a lot of questions about what is going on, or not going on with the Reds, so send those questions to Ask Hal at firstname.lastname@example.org and we need them by Thursday at noon.Tweet