CINCINNATI -- Under manager David Bell, the Reds have usually bet on themselves when it comes to risk-taking on the bases. On Wednesday, during an 8-4 loss to the Dodgers at Great American Ball Park, that strategy backfired when Jonathan India was thrown out trying to score the go-ahead run from third base.
Against Dodgers starter Tyler Anderson in the bottom of the fifth inning, Albert Almora Jr. led off with a home run to left field -- his fifth of the season -- to make it a 4-4 game. With one out, India was hit by a pitch and went to third base on Brandon Drury's double to left field.
Next was Tommy Pham, who lifted a fly ball to shallow left field. Third-base coach J.R. House sent India, who tagged up and bolted for the plate. Left fielder Chris Taylor made a perfect one-hop throw to catcher Will Smith, who applied the tag as India slid feetfirst.
“He got me. I just tested his arm and he made a good throw," India said. “I should make that. It had to be a bang-bang throw. He made a good throw.”
Taylor had surgery on his right elbow in the offseason, but his team wasn't surprised he could make the throw.
"He’s a very textbook player and that was a very textbook play," Anderson said. "I had a feeling they were going to send him, but then when they sent him, I thought CT has a good arm and I thought there would be a good chance to have a play at home there.”
Bell had no regrets about House sending India.
"If you know how it’s going to play out as a third-base coach and you know it’s going to be a perfect throw, a perfect tag, then maybe you don’t send him. But you don’t know that," Bell said. "There’s been so many times on the same play that J.R. has sent guys and they made it, they’re safe. It’s a tough spot. I 100 percent would have sent the runner there myself. It’s part of the game. They make a perfect play, a great play, they cut down the runner. That’s baseball.”
Another decision backfired two innings later.
After starter Luis Castillo allowed four earned runs over five innings and 103 pitches, Bell turned to lefty reliever Ross Detwiler for the sixth and got a 1-2-3 inning. With Cincinnati's bullpen having multiple arms on the injured list, Bell has been shorthanded when it comes to effective relievers.
Detwiler was sent back out for the seventh to face one more batter in the left-handed Freddie Freeman.
Moments later, on a 2-2 sinker that Detwiler elevated over the plate, Freeman crushed a homer to right field for the go-ahead run. The Reds were doomed to their sixth straight loss and their 10th in the last 13 games to drop to 23-45.
“I’ve never been through something like this. It’s tough," India said. "Just got to keep going, it’s all you can do.”
The Reds have been in last place in the National League Central for most of the season, but they are still making in-game decisions with the goal to win games and aren't focusing on development.
"We just have to keep playing, have to find ways to keep hitting better, continue to work and continue to work hard. It’s the only choice," Bell said. "We have a long way to go. That’s the only way to approach it. Anyone who has been around this game for a long time, fortunately there’s not a whole lot of shortcuts. You just have to work, play and keep going. I know this team will do that, every player in the clubhouse will do that."