Thanks to a Wednesday afternoon rainout, the Cincinnati Reds will not lose their ninth consecutive series. However, a split with the Pittsburgh Pirates was not good enough either. In all likelihood, the Reds playoffs hopes are dashed as they now sit four games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the second National League Wild Card spot.
The Cardinals have won 10 straight games heading into their Wednesday night matchup with the Brewers. Cincinnati has gone 9-17 over the course of the last nine series to fall out of playoff contention. One team took the bull by the horns while the other team wilted despite a favorable schedule.
Next up for the Reds is a four-game series against the Washington Nationals at Great American Ball Park. Wednesday’s rainout will be made up on Monday at 1:10 p.m. Eastern Time which was previously scheduled as an off day. Now, the Reds will play 10 games in 10 days to finish off the season. Thursday’s first pitch is set for 6:40 p.m. ET with Luis Castillo taking the ball.
Nine Unanswered Runs Lift Cincinnati Reds to Victory
Early in the game on Monday night, there was a strong “here we go again” feeling in Cincinnati Reds country. Vladimir Gutierrez allowed two home runs in the first inning to spot the Pirates a 2-0 lead. Then, in the third, Pittsburgh manufactured three more runs to take a commanding 5-0 lead.
With the season hanging in the balance, the Reds had to overcome an early deficit after Gutierrez struggled once again. In his last five starts, the Reds rookie has only gone longer than 3 2/3 innings one time. He has clearly hit the rookie wall.
After weeks of struggling offensively on the way to eight consecutive series losses, the Reds bats woke up for a couple of hours on Monday at Great American Ball Park.
Nick Castellanos drove in two runs with a double off the top of the center-field wall that scored Jonathan India and Kyle Farmer in the bottom half of the third. Then, Joey Votto parked one into the right-field seats to make it a one-run game at 5-4. The whole rally began with two outs and nobody on when India drew a walk.
The Votto heroics weren’t done yet though as he would add a solo home run in the fifth inning to tie the game. Eugenio Suarez quickly followed it up with his own long ball to put the Reds on top 6-5.
Pittsburgh started to fall apart in the later innings as the Reds would eventually score nine unanswered runs to come away with a 9-5 victory. Kyle Farmer hit a home run in the seventh, Delino DeShields Jr. walked with the bases loaded, and Castellanos collected his third hit and third RBI with a single in the eighth to cap off the scoring.
Lack of Timely Hitting Dooms Season
Once the season is over, there will be plenty of positives to take from this season. The Cincinnati Reds played a meaningful baseball game on September 21st. For perspective, in the last 30 years, many more seasons have ended by July 21st than lasted until the fall. However, right now isn’t the time for perspective. It is okay to be a little angry and frustrated.
Cincinnati first threatened in the second inning. Kyle Farmer led off with a single and then went first to third on a Eugenio Suarez opposite-field single–runners at the corners with nobody out. Tucker Barnhart rolled into a routine double play and T.J. Friedl lined out to right. A run scored on Barnhart’s double play, but the Reds hardly took advantage of this opportunity.
After a Ben Gamel home run tied the game up for the Pirates in the top of the fourth, the Reds would answer in the bottom half of the inning. This time, a pair of walks with a Farmer single sandwiched in between loaded the bases with no outs. However, once again, the Reds managed just one run. Tucker Barnhart popped out to shallow right field, T.J. Friedl came through with a sacrifice fly, and Tyler Mahle grounded out to the pitcher.
The Pirates responded with two runs to take the lead in the top of the fifth and never looked back. Three more off of Michael Lorenzen in the top of the eighth all but ended the Reds’ chances at reaching the playoffs as they dropped a frustrating 6-2 ballgame. To add insult to injury, when the game was still 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh, the Reds left the bases loaded.
In total, the Cincinnati Reds left 11 runners on base and went just 1-12 at the plate with runners in scoring position. That simply will not get the job done.