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06/18/08 11:12 PM ET
Reds' skid hits four after bats quieted
Offense has scored two runs in first two games with Dodgers
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- In this era of conservation, the Reds have been doing their part during the current homestand, repeatedly reusing and recycling the same headlines and storylines. Once again, low offensive emissions were at issue during Wednesday's 6-1 defeat to the Dodgers. That made it four straight losses for Cincinnati, all at Great American Ball Park, where the homestand has spun out into a 2-6 record. "We're making everybody look like Cy Young. Everybody is not," manager Dusty Baker said. In their last eight games, the Reds are batting .179 (45-for-251) and have scored 17 runs, for an average of just 2.1 runs per game. Through two games with Los Angeles in this three-game series, Cincinnati has scored two runs. "It's disheartening when you score only one run," Baker said. "You can't get it done with one run unless you get a shutout." Bronson Arroyo was not in shutout form for the Reds, as he was charged with six earned runs on seven hits over 6 1/3 innings. Los Angeles took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Arroyo (4-6) bounced a wild pitch to James Loney that scored Juan Pierre. In the second, after Matt Kemp hit a leadoff single and stole second base, Andre Ethier hit an RBI single to left field. Loney added two RBIs against Arroyo with a solo homer to right field with one out in the fourth and a two-out RBI double to left field in the sixth. The Reds are now 1-6 this season vs. the Dodgers. "They find ways to get things done," said Arroyo, who walked one and struck out six. "The next thing you know, you look at the board. You feel like you've had a pretty good game, but you're down by three. That's kind of what happened tonight." The Reds' lone run came via Edwin Encarnacion's solo homer off Dodgers starter Derek Lowe in the second inning. Lowe (5-6) otherwise shut down Cincinnati and allowed three hits, but he came out after 5 1/3 innings since he was moved up one day on short notice because of Hiroki Kuroda's right shoulder injury. Lowe's exit opened the Reds' best chance to score in the game. Lefty Hong-Chih Kuo gave up a single to Jay Bruce and a double to Brandon Phillips to put runners on second and third with one out. The outcome? In the dictionary under redundant, see redundant. Adam Dunn struck out and Encarnacion broke his bat on a routine groundout to third base. Rally over. Inning over. "That was a big turning point of the game," Baker said. "They came back out and added two more the next inning." After Arroyo exited in the seventh with two runners on, Jeremy Affeldt gave up a two-run triple to Pierre that sailed over the head of center fielder Corey Patterson as he took a bad route on the ball. The Reds went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight. During the homestand, Cincinnati is 3-for-46 (.065) with runners in scoring position, including 0-for-the-last-17. "We got plenty of hits. We've got baserunners," Baker said. "Boy, this last week, we haven't been hitting with runners in scoring position or runners on base. It's the name of the game. You've got to get those big hits. You have to put the ball in play when they're giving you those runs." Baker tried shuffling a lineup already missing Ken Griffey Jr. -- who is dealing with the flu -- by batting Joey Votto leadoff, but he found few silver linings. Bruce's single snapped a 0-for-16 funk. Phillips' 2-for-4 game moved him to 5-for-26 (.192) on the homestand. But Dunn went 0-for-4 and is now 3-for-24 (.125) in the past eight games. Sound sleep has been admittedly tough to come by for Baker lately. Liking to keep a pen and pad near his bed at night, he frequently wakes up to scribble notes with ideas of how his team might work out of its offensive crater. So far, he hasn't found the right formula. "We've been a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde team offensively," he said. "We score a lot of runs or we don't score any runs. Dr. Jekyll has to show up here pretty soon."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.