Well, that was not pretty.
Entering the All-Star break with a bunch of momentum after rattling off three consecutive victories in Milwaukee to move within four games in the National League Central, the Reds had the wheels fall off this weekend. Now, Cincy sits at 48-45 and a full 7.0 games behind the Brewers in the division.
Right out of the gate on Friday night the Reds ran into the same problem that has plagued them for most of the season, the bullpen. In fairness, the Brew Crew had already found success at the plate off of Tyler Mahle who allowed five runs in 5 1/3 innings. However, things would get ugly once the bullpen was called upon.
Amir Garrett allowed two hits and the go-ahead run while recording just two outs to be saddled with the loss. In the eighth inning, Milwaukee would bust it wide open by plating five runs, four of which came off of left-hander Josh Osich. Despite leading 4-1 after four innings, Cincinnati would wind up losing 11-6 in the second-half opener.
Saturday featured another blown lead at the hands of the bullpen. Shogo Akiyama and Kyle Farmer drove in runs in the second inning to build a 2-0 advantage early on. The bats would then go quiet until a Jonathan India home run in the eighth.
On the mound, Luis Castillo was fantastic pitching six shutout innings and striking out eight. If the Reds want to be playoff contenders they will need a Cy Young type of second-half from their ace Castillo. Unfortunately, those six innings would go to waste quickly as Amir Garrett allowed two runs on two hits and another would score off of Brad Brach to give the lead to Milwaukee.
The game would eventually head to extra innings when a Christian Yelich RBI double accounted for the first of three runs off of Sean Doolittle as Milwaukee came away with a 7-4 win.
Friday and Saturday were frustrating losses due to the continued bullpen woes and adding to the growing list of blown leads. However, on Sunday, the Redlegs simply got dominated by National League All-Star Corbin Burnes. Burnes threw 8 1/3 shutout innings allowing just five hits and striking out 12 batters in an absolutely dazzling performance. He couldn’t quite stick around for the complete-game shutout, but the 8 1/3 innings was still a career-best for Burnes.
Sonny Gray labored through 4 2/3 innings in his first start back from the Injured List. Gray walked four batters, hit another batter to allow a run to score in the first inning, and gave up five runs on six hits. The bullpen then allowed a solo home run to Christian Yelich and a two-run shot to Willy Adames to set the final score of 8-0.
It was an ugly weekend in Cincinnati as the Reds gave back everything they had just made up against the Brewers prior to the All-Star break. Now they will have seven games to make up over the next 69. It isn’t necessarily time to panic or decide to become sellers at the trade deadline, but time is definitely ticking on being a contender this season.
The Reds will remain at Great American Ball Park for the entire upcoming week by first welcoming the New York Mets followed by the divisional rival St. Louis Cardinals. A day off is sprinkled in there on Thursday as well. Vladimir Gutierrez will take the ball on Monday night against the Mets at 7:10 p.m. Eastern Time.