Jake Westbrook overcame early wildness (he walked two in each of the first two innings) and took an unorthodox no-hitter into the fifth inning. He gave up one unearned run when Zack Cozart hit a line drive that ricocheted off of Westbrook. Westbrook tried to make a diving throw to get Cozart at first, but the ball flew into right field. This allowed Brandon Phillips to score the only run of the game for the Cincinnati Reds.
Homer Bailey also struggled in the first inning; however, his wildness was in the middle part of the plate that the Cardinals launched out of the ball park. He gave up three home-runs during the top half of the first inning. Before the fans with the good seats behind home plate had sat down, the Cincinnati Reds were down 4-0. Bailey did settle down and, along with Bill Bray, kept the Cardinals at bay. It was the ever erratic Jose Arredondo who pitched the 8th inning to blow the game wide open for the Cardinals. He pitched a third of an inning and gave up 3 runs – all earned.
On a positive note, the Cincinnati Reds’ pitching had ten strike-outs combined among the four pitchers used. Newly acquired Alfredo Simon fanned three of the five hitters he faced.
Joey Votto continued his two game slump and went 0 for 3 with a strike-out.
It was a lackluster night all the way around for the home team. There seemed to be no urgency or patience at the plate. The Cincinnati Reds only managed three hits and no walks after the second for the night. Westbrook averaged a little over three pitches per batter during the middle innings.
I know the cliche that the baseball season is a marathon and not a sprint – and that is true. However, the first mile counts just as much as the last mile. More importantly, if the Reds are going to be a player in the division, they will have to put up a better effort than they did on Monday.
Thank goodness they will have another opportunity to do just that on Tuesday.