By Hal McCoy
Would it surprise anybody to hear that the Cincinnati Reds lost to the New York Mets Tuesday night, their 10th straight loss to the defending National League champions?
Would it surprise anybody to learn that the bullpen was the culprit again in this 4-3 defeat?
REDS MANAGER BRYAN Price knows his bullpen, knows it is the worst in major league baseball right now, knows he is taking a major gamble when he brings most of them into a game.
So when the New York Mets, trailing by three runs, put two men on base in the seventh inning with one out, Price went to the mound to talk to starter Brandon Finnegan.
Two relief pitchers were ready in the bullpen. Price, though, decided to permit Finnegan to stay to face pinch-hitter Yoenis Cespedes, who hadn’t played in nearly a week due to an injury.
AND ON THE FIRST pitch, the Reds three-run lead evaporated as Cespedes lined a three-run home run just over the left field wall.
Price then removed Finnegan and replaced him with Tony Cingrani and it became clear why the Reds would like to keep the bullpen gate locked
Cingrani gave up a first-pitch triple to Curtis Granderson and a two-out 0-and-2 run-scoring single to David Wright to push the Mets in front, 4-3. Wright had struck out his first two times and was hitting .233.
A FAN TWEETED A message to the MLB-TV show ‘MLB Central’ Tuesday afternoon, and they ran it across the bottom of the screen: “Bartolo Colon tonight, easy win.”
The Cincinnati Reds were without Jay Bruce (home in Texas with his new son), Brandon Phillips (sore finger) and Devin Mesoraco (night off), and it appeared it wouldn’t matter through six innings on this night in Citi Field.
THE REDS TOOK care of 43-year-old Colon, known in New York as ‘The Big Sexy.’
And that tweet should have read: ‘Brandon Finnegan tonight. Maybe an easy win.’
Well, it wasn’t easy but Finnegan showed some wizardry on the mound and pitched his heart, guts and soul out until the Cespedes disaster.
Amazingly, the Mets put the first batter of an inning on base in five of the first six innings. None scored.
And in the first five innings, none of those runners who led off the inning by getting on base even sniffed second base.
The Mets finally found second base in the sixth inning when Curtis Granderson and Asdrubal Cabrera led with back-to-back singles. And still the Mets didn’t score.
Finnegan retired David Wright on a fly ball to center on which Granderson moved to third. Michael Conforto popped to third and Neil Walker flied to center and the scoreboard for the Mets read 000-000.
THEN CAME THE dreadful seventh.
And guess who furnished most of the offense for the Reds? It was the three guys who replaced Phillips, Bruce and Mesoraco.
Ivan DeJesus Jr., playing second base for Phillips, blasted a laser-like two-run home run off Colon in the fourth inning. The man on base in front of him was Tucker Barnhart, catching in place of Mesoraco, and the Reds led, 3-0. It was to be their last sniff of a run.
And Tyler Holt, subbing for Bruce in right field, had two hits.
But after the Mets grabbed the lead, set-up man Addison Reed pitched a scoreless eighth and closer Jeurys Familia closed it off by getting Hamilton a weak roller to the mound, by striking out Zack Cozart and by getting Holt on a grounder to short with Joey Votto on deck.