By HAL McCOY
CINCINNATI — There was one positive for the Cincinnati Reds during the completion of the four-game Massacre on Pete Rose Way Monday afternoon,
The game was not televised locally Monday. Unfortunately, it was on radio — for at least one inning before power buttons were pushed to ‘off’ all over the Tri-State.
The first five Washington Nationals to face Scott Feldman scored runs on a walk and five hits, including home runs by Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman on back-to-back pitches.
The five-run first was enough to carry the Nationals to a 6-1 victory, thus completing a four-game sweep and as soon as Monday’s game ended the Reds quickly paid for a police escort to get them out of town.
So the Reds have lost their first four games since resumption of play after the All-Star break, all to the Nationals, who outscored the Reds 35-8. The Nationals crunched 13 home runs, two shy of the team’s all-time record for home runs in a four-game series. And by giving up 13 in a four-game series, the Reds tied a club record.
AND FAR WORSE THAN ANYTHING, it appears Feldman may land on the disabled list due to a troublesome right knee that has bothered him most of the season. He gutted it out — until Monday when one inning was more than enough. Too much, really.
“He has had some on-and-off knee stiffness throughout the season,” said manager Bryan Price. “He takes treatment and has been able to pitch with it and pitch very effectively. He felt coming out of the bullpen it was something he pitched through before and he said he really wanted to pitch.”
But it was obvious Feldman’s velocity was down and his command was off kilter. After the second home run, Price visited Feldman on the mound when it was 4-0. He permitted him to finish the inning, adding a walk and a single and a run to his total.
“I wanted to look at him in the face — we have a good relationship, we talk alot,” said Price. “He has been in this position before and when I went out there he said, ‘Bryan, I’ve pitched like this before, it’s not an issue, I’d like to continue to pitch.’ So I said OK. By the end of the inning it was apparent it wasn’t a good idea for him to go back out.”
AND GOING BACK OUT IN five days is probably not going to happen, either.
“It will definitely necessitate a stint on the disabled list,” said Price. “It would be unfair to the club and to Scott to put him into a position of not knowing how he’ll feel coming out of the bullpen before games. He really wants to pitch, he has been great, he has dealt with this stuff before, he has pitched beautifully with it, but today was a day he couldn’t overcome some of his issues with the knee.”
Feldman tried to talk around the issue and said, “I never got over the hump today and the knee never loosened up. Not only was I making bad pitches that were coming in eight miles an hour slower than usual, it was just one of those days when it (the knee) wasn’t cooperating.”
After Feldman gave up five runs and five hits in the first inning he was replaced by Asher Wojciechowski. The Nats could neither pronounce his name nor hit him for 4 2/3 innings.
He was one out away from five shutout innings when Brian Goodwin hit a two-out home run the sixth. Wojo pitched five innings and gave up one run and two hits. It was clear on this day — the wrong pitchers started the game.
“Asher was certainly the story, other than the injury (to Feldman),” said Price. “We could have imploded and exploded our bullpen, completely blown it up and been in dire straits for the next series. But Wojo goes five inning and gives up one run and the bullpen goes eight innings of one-run ball (Wojo, Wandy Peralta, Michael Lorenzen, Raisel Iglesias).”
Wojo certainly is in contention to take Feldman’s next start but Price was unwilling to anoint him and said there are other options that will be discussed before somebody is picked.
ON THE OTHER SIDE THE Reds were up against Stephen Strasburg. The Reds could easily pronounce his name, but couldn’t much hit him. Eugenio Suarez hit a two-out home run in the second, but that was it as far as the Reds finding home plate.
En route to winning his 10th game, Strasburg held the Reds to one run and four hits over seven innings. He struck 11, the sixth time this year he struck out 10 or more, 35th time for his career.
As for the four-game series, Price pulled no punches in his assessment and said, “They clubbed us, beat us up for four games. Their starters didn’t give up anything and they didn’t give us anything to get excited about. They steamrolled us.”