The Reds just can’t quite reach that .500 mark. For the second time this week just one win separated Cincinnati and an even win-loss record, but both times they would come up short. The Redlegs are now 29-31 on the season.
Milwaukee would escape Great American Ball Park with a series victory due to a couple of bad performances from the Reds bullpen and inconsistency at the plate. David Bell continues not have a single reliever outside of Tejay Antone to turn to that will consistently deliver major league level pitching.
After the disappointing series loss, Cincinnati will remain at GABP for a three-game weekend set against the Colorado Rockies. Tyler Mahle will take the ball to begin the series on Friday night at 7:10 p.m. Eastern Time.
Gray Injury, Bad Bullpen
Tuesday night’s series opener at Great American Ball Park was a perfect microcosm of the primary issue the Reds face. The bullpen simply is not big league caliber.
Sonny Gray appeared to be locked in through three innings having allowed just two hits to go with five strikeouts. However, he felt a pull in his groin while warming up for the fourth and would exit the game, later being placed on the 10-day Injured List.
Cincinnati held on to a 1-0 lead through the three innings that Gray pitched, but it would be short lived as Avisail Garcia quickly hit a home run off of Sean Doolittle to tie the game in the fourth.
The bullpen would only get worse from there as four of the five relievers used would give up at least one run. Doolittle, Ryan Hendrix, Amir Garrett, Brad Brach, and Ashton Goudeau would also combine to walk seven batters in six innings plus two additional intentional walks. That quite frankly is not Major League pitching.
In addition to the tough day for the Reds bullpen, the bats could never get anything going either. Shogo Akiyama drove in the lone run with a single in the top of the second inning that scored Tucker Barnhart. The offense would produce just six hits while leaving 10 runners on base and going 1-7 at the plate with runners in scoring position.
The 5-1 defeat at the hands of Adrian Houser and the Brew Crew snapped the Reds four game winning streak.
Gutierrez, Stephenson Lead Reds to Victory
Rookie Vladimir Gutierrez has been solid in each of his three big league starts, but Wednesday night was definitely his best outing yet. Gutierrez turned in seven innings of work on the mound allowing just two runs on six hits while striking out seven opposing batters. Now sporting a 2-1 record with a 2.65 earned run average, it appears he may be locking in his spot in the Reds starting pitching rotation.
? Career high 7.0 IP
? Career high 7 K
? First career hit
Have a night, Guti. pic.twitter.com/N9ji5LkhHg
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) June 10, 2021
Fellow rookies Jonathan India and Tyler Stephenson were just as good at the plate combining to drive in four of the Reds seven runs.
Stephenson started the scoring off with a RBI double in the bottom of the first and then busted the game wide open with a two RBI double in the fourth inning to put Cincinnati on top 7-1.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) June 10, 2021
Helping the cause at the plate were the Reds pair of MVP candidates Nick Castellanos and Jesse Winker who each provided hits and scored two runs apiece. Castellanos also added a big two RBI double in the bottom of the second inning.
The Brewers would add runs in the fifth and ninth innings, but they were unable to climb out of their early hole. The Reds 7-3 victory evened the series to set up a Thursday afternoon rubber match between Luis Castillo and Freddy Peralta.
Reds Lose Rubber Match
Luis Castillo struggled through the first inning once again, but then settled in for his second straight good outing. Even a 37-minute rain delay couldn’t break Castillo who retired 15 straight batters at one point.
Unfortunately, any hope of escaping with the win would quickly be erased once David Bell turned to the bullpen.
Despite allowing just one hit in 5 2/3 innings, Castillo would get pegged for three runs thanks to back-to-back hits allowed by Lucas Sims upon entering the game. Castillo exited the game in line for the win with the score at 2-1, but before Sims could finish the sixth inning the Brewers took a 4-2 advantage.
More damage was done in the top of the seventh inning when Daniel Vogelbach squeaked a two-run home run over the right field fence off of Sean Doolittle to extend the Milwaukee lead to 6-2. The Brewers added a seventh run in the eighth inning off of Art Warren which would set the eventual final score of 7-2.
At the plate for Cincinnati, Joey Votto hit his first home run since rejoining the team with a 400-foot shot to right-centerfield in the bottom of the second. Jesse Winker then gave the Reds a short-lived lead when he poked a single the opposite way to score Kyle Farmer.
For the second game of the series, the Reds offense just wasn’t there on Thursday afternoon. The offense would muster just six hits while striking out 13 times in the 7-2 defeat to give the Brewers the series victory.