Todd Frazier looked at the worn gym shoes of a reporter before the game.
"What size shoe do you wear?" Frazier asked.
"Nine and a half," the reporter answered.
"If you wore a size 12, I'd give you a pair of mine," Frazier offered.
"I wouldn't want to be in your shoes. You're 0-for-25," the reporter answered.
No one wanted to be in the Reds' shoes or the Reds' clubhouse after the 15-2 drubbing the St. Louis Cardinals laid on the home team in the rubber game of the three-game series. It was the sixth straight series the Reds have dropped to their Midwest rivals in spite of winning the Central Division in two of the last three seasons.
Mike Leake the Reds' starting pitcher. Leake was coming off a frustrating game in which he pitched seven scoreless innings but ended up with a no-decision in a 2-1 loss, was jumped for four runs after he retired the first two batters.
"It's always disappointing after games like this," Leake said. "The better teams lose sight of it as fast as they can. It will show if we're a good team or not, if we come back after this day off or not."
"Nobody likes losing especially after a blowout," Leake said as the only man standing in an empty clubhouse. "It's part of the game. I don't know what an empty locker room means. It probably means guys are getting stuff done."
Leake was asked whether a loss like the 2-1 loss in San Diego or the blowout like today was harder to stomach.
"I think close losses are tougher. I mean even though blowouts are not the best feeling, it's still even though you're getting blown out, you know you're getting beat. It's kind of a challenge to climb back into it. If you lose a close one, you feel like you worked a lot harder. They both suck."
The Cardinals can do that to teams.
"They are the best hitting team there is," Leake said. "The numbers don't lie. They make you pay. Every guy is hitting over .260. I don't know if it's how they home grow their guys or how they develop them. They are never out of it, even if you get to two strikes, they're still not an easy out. They have our number that's for sure. It is up to us to figure them out a little bit better."
Sam LeCure has been one of the Reds' most reliable relievers. He had posted a 1.15 ERA over his past 17 appearances before the Cardinals rocked him for four ninth inning runs. He was standing by his locker facing the unpleasantness of assessing the debacle that just happened.
"You don't want to be embarrassed in front of the fans that are showing up to support you and we did just that," LeCure said. "We will see how we respond after the off day. We'll see if we come back with a unique sense of urgency. Finding ways to win games is what it's all about. It's not you're on-base percentage or your ERA. It's about finding ways to win games as an individual so that 25 guys can prosper from it. We will put this behind us and get them tomorrow or whatever day we're playing. We are running out of tomorrows but we still have time to turn things around."
The Cardinals got momentum by putting up big numbers in three innings.
"Once they get the ball rolling, they are tough to stop," LeCure said. "They're tough to stop. That's on us. We have to find a way. We have to do something besides get our brains beat out. We have to do something. I'm not saying start a bean ball war or anything like that but we have to send a message. I don't want to throw the ball under somebody's chin but if they're leaning out over the plate, they're taking advantage of us. That's our fault for not making an adjustment. The guys in the bullpen have plenty of confidence in themselves but it wasn't a good series for any of us. We have some things to work on. We have some things to address."
Dusty Baker will address the team but would not share what he is going to tell them.
"That's between me and my family," Baker said.
"That's one of the worst defeats I can remember," Baker said. "We certainly have to get our act together. Everybody has to be accountable for the job that they're doing or not doing. I don't like to get beat up. I don't like to be embarrassed."
The Reds are not going to make many, if any, personnel moves.
"The cavalry ain't coming," Baker said. "Our help has to come from the inside. You can't look for help."
The Reds haven't "matched up too well" with the Cardinals.
"They are the better team right now. They are leading the league in hitting. Aren't they leading in pitching too? Where are they ranked in defense? They caught us at a weak moment. At a weak moment good hitters become better. I can't come down on our pitching and bullpen. They've been holding us together all year. They don't strike out much either. It shows you that you put the ball in play, something good can happen. Like today that four-run first inning was started by a blooper. The pitcher hit a little bleeder to Frazier that extended another inning."
Baker has said all year that hitting was going to come around.
"What do you want me to say? It's not going to come around?" Baker asked.
After 111 games, fans and the media are wondering if hitting ever will come around.
"We play 162," Baker said. "I don't give up. A lot of people want me to give up now. I don't know how to give up. Anyone who has been around me or know me will tell you that I don't give up. I don't know how to give up. Ask people that have known me all my life."
|Professionally edited by ML Schirmer|
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