Reds in need of rebound after tough loss

CINCINNATI – In what has been a very good season for Alfredo Simon, he had a bad night.

Simon gave up a two-run homer to rookie Khris Davis, his second of the game, and a solo shot to rookie Scooter Gennett in the eighth inning as Milwaukee broke a 3-3 tie and went on to beat the Reds 6-4 Friday night at Great American Ball Park. In the day and age of instantaneous uproar over the slightest negative happening, there was little concern in the Reds’ clubhouse.

As there shouldn’t be, but manager Dusty Baker admitted this is the time of the season he needs to keep a close eye on players.  

“That’s uncharacteristic of Simon,” said manager Dusty Baker. “Maybe that’s a sign of fatigue. And it’s a sign that that guy over there, Davis, can hit. He’s got some pop in his bat.”

Friday was the 50th appearance of the season for Simon. Aroldis Chapman (57), J.J. Hoover (53) and Sam LeCure (50) have also reached that number. Simon leads the Reds’ relievers with 66 2/3 innings pitched. His appearance total is a career high, as is his innings total in terms of being a reliever.

Simon had allowed just six earned runs in his last 22 appearances, covering 27 innings, before Friday night.

“Everybody runs into those (games). I’ve run into those,” said reliever J.J. Hoover, who had a streak of 26 1/3 scoreless innings snapped Tuesday night against Arizona. “He’ll get ‘em next time. He’s super reliable. He’s always fresh. He’s always ready to pitch. It’s just a blip in the radar.”

The Reds are 15 games into a run of 20 games in 20 days. They are 10-5 in this stretch, with the final two games coming up against Milwaukee and then a three-game series at St. Louis. It’s closer to the first of September than it is the first of August. They have an off-day next Thursday before heading into the final 28 games in 31 days. Friday’s loss cost the Reds a game in the standings to St. Louis, which beat Atlanta 3-1, dropping them 2 ½ games behind the Cardinals as both teams chase the Pirates in the NL Central.

Friday was going to be a tough game regardless. Milwaukee starter Yovani Gallardo, despite a career record of 7-6 and a 4.25 ERA against the Reds in 18 previous games coming into the night, has had their number recently. He entered with a string of 12 1/3 consecutive shutout innings against them over his last two starts and extended it to 16 innings before Zack Cozart’s two-out single in the fourth inning scored Brandon Phillips from second base, tying the game 1-1. Ryan Ludwick came around to score and give the Reds a 2-1 lead when centerfielder Carlos Gomez dropped the ball on the play and allowed Cozart to reach second base.

Davis regained the lead for the Brewers in the top of the sixth inning with his first two-run homer, this one off of starter Homer Bailey, but Phillips tied the game in the bottom of the inning with a solo home run to center field.

Bailey finished the game with 102 pitches thrown, the 12th time in his last 14 starts that he’s topped 100 pitches. He threw 119 pitches last Sunday in going eight innings to beat the Brewers 9-1.

“Physically I felt fine,” said Bailey. “It’s just that one of the mistakes I made ended up costing me. That happens in baseball. I probably should have done a better job of mixing up pitches in that at-bat but I’ll know better next time.”

Davis was called up most recently when Ryan Braun was suspended the final 65 games of the season for using performance enhancing substances. He’s played in 23 games since the call-up and is 22-of-57 (.386) with eight home runs and 17 RBI in that span. He’s got eight hits in 14 at-bats against the Reds, with half of those hits leaving the ballpark.

Since dropping five games in a row on the West Coast from July 26-30, the Reds have lost consecutive games just once. It was last weekend in Milwaukee against the Brewers but over the first nearly five months of this six-month regular season, the Reds have done a good job of bouncing back from losses. They’ve had multiple-game losing streaks 10 times so far and only twice have any of those been longer than three games.

Twenty times this season they’ve won multiple games in a row.

“Do we have a choice?” said Bailey. “You either bounce back or, like I’ve said a few times, it’s not early anymore. It’s late in the season. If we don’t bounce back we’ll be watching from home. We all have a job to do and we need to take care of it.”