By HAL McCOY
The education of Cody Reed continues to be The School of Hard Knocks, with another knot being applied to his forehead Sunday afternoon during a 7-3 defeat.
As the acknowledged best pitching prospect in the Cincinnati Reds pitch-rich organization, Reed is pitching more like Donna Reed or Jerry Reed than a major league pitcher.
The 23-year-old left hander retired only three Milwaukee Brewers Sunday afternoon in Miller Park and gave up six runs, five hits, three walks, hit a batter and watched the Brewers steal four bases.
AMAZINGLY, HE HAD THE first two hitters 0-and-2, but walked both Keon Broxton and Orlando Arcia. Broxton stole second base before the walk to Arcia, then Broxton and Arcia pulled off a double steal to put runners on third and second with no outs.
Ryan Braun then doubled on another 0-and-2 pitch up the left field gap for a 2-0 lead. Reed retired the next two, then walked Manny Pino to fill the bases. He barged ahead of Jake Elmore 0-and-2, then on a 2-and-2 pitch he hit Elmore to force in a third run. Reed has now given up 16 first-inning runs in 47 2/3 innings during his 10 major league starts.
Reed gave up leadoff double to Broxton to open the second, Arcia beat out a bunt and Braun put a dent in the center field scoreboard for a loud and long three-run home run to make it 6-0 and end Reed’s day.
So now Reed is 0-and-7 with a 7.36 earned run average and the Reds are scratching their heads and shaking their heads in unison. What to do, what to do?
IT LOOKED AS IF REED found his way in his previous start when he held the St. Louis Cardinals to no runs over six innings and turned a 4-0 lead over to the bullpen. The bullpen obliterated that lead and his win in a 5-4 loss when the Cardinals scored five runs in the ninth off Tony Cingrani and Ross Ohlendorf.
But it was back to the doldrums for Reed on Sunday and it is obvious his confidence is lower than an anaconda’s belly.
A demotion to the minors is not a logical possibility. There are only two weeks left in the minor league season and what good would it do? Skipping a turn or two to enable him to catch his breath might help.
After the game, manager Bryan Price gave no hint of Reed’s immediate future in an interview with FoxSportsOhio.
“There are a lot things we think about, I reflect a lot,” said Price. “I go back to last year when we had John Lamb, Keyvius Sampson, Michael Lorenzen and Josh Smith in our rotation and to a man they hard their points where they struggled.
“We didn’t have a lot of options at the time to bring up from Triple-A,” he added. “In Cody’s case, it has been a challenge. We are always assessing these situations and we’ll do what is best for the individual and the team.”
Reed’s teammates did him no favors in the top of the first when Billy Hamilton and Joey Votto made baseerunning blunders against Wily Peralta.
Hamilton, who had three hits, led the game with a double. With one out and Votto at the plate, Hamilton broke for third on a steal attempt. Votto hit the ball back to the mound and Hamilton made a big turn around third base. Peralta spotted him and his throw ensnared Hamilton in a rundown and he was tagged out.
Votto reached second base on the play and Peralta promptly picked him off second — two outs on the basepaths in the first inning.
GIVEN THE BIG LEAD, Peralta took it from there and held the Reds to one run and four hits over six innings, walking one and striking out five.
Peralta, a 17-game winner in 2014, was so bad this year the Brewers demoted him to Triple-A for a spell and this was only his second start after he was recalled out of necessity due to an injury to a Brewers starter.
Keyvius Sampson replaced Reed and gave the Reds five strong innings — one run and two hits. One of the hits was another home run by Braun, who had three hits and drove in six of the seven Marlins runs.
The Reds offense, of course, was provided by Joey Votto, a run-scoring double in the sixth for the only run off Peralta and a two-run home run in the eighth, pushing his batting average to .303. At the beginning of June Votto was hitting .213. Since the All-Star break he is hitting .470 with a .575 on-base average.
The Reds other scorching hitter, Brandon Phillips, who was 10 for 17 going into the game, grounded out in the second inning and then left the game with another in his long litany of injuries, a left knee contusion.
By losing to the Brewers Sunday, the last-place Reds fell back to four games behind the fourth-place Brewers in the National League Central, and they finished 4-and-5 on the trip to Pittsburgh (1-and-2), St. Louis (1-and-2) and Milwaukee (2-and-1).
The Reds return home to begin a four-game series Monday night against the Miami Marlins, but the Reds won’t have to face superstud Giancarlo Stanton. He was placed on the disabled list Sunday with a groin injury.