Reds third baseman Todd Frazier changed his walk-up song from Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me To The Moon” to another Sinatra classic, “The Best Is Yet To Come,” in late July.
For Frazier, at least in the big picture, the best may be yet to come. He’s still young. He likely hasn’t peaked.
For the 2014 Reds, however, the lyric doesn’t fit. Just when you think they’ve hit rock bottom, they tumble off another cliff. On Thursday, the Braves hammered Louisville call-up David Holmberg and the Reds 8-0 in the opener of a four-game series at Great American Ball Park.
“I wanted to go out and win a ballgame,” Holmberg said. “I couldn’t execute pitches, and they took advantage of it.”
It’s the sixth straight loss and ninth in the last 10 games for Cincinnati (61-67), which falls a season-high six games under .500 for the third time this season.
The Reds began the day 10 games back in the National League Central Division. That’s the largest deficit they’ve faced since 2011. This was their most lopsided defeat since June 6 when they lost 8-0 to the Phillies.
Holmberg, making his second start of the season for the Reds and his third big-league appearance, allowed six earned runs in 2 2/3 innings. He walked four, hit a batter and allowed five hits. It was almost a carbon copy of his start July 8 when he allowed five earned runs on seven hits in another start of 2 2/3 innings.
“When guys got on base, he was reaching back to force velocity when he went to his fastball,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “He had a nice changeup, but I think after a while they figured out when he needed to make a pitch, it was going to be with a changeup. They put the barrel on a couple.”
Pedro Villarreal, who was also promoted from Triple-A on Thursday, relieved Holmberg and gave up runs in the fourth and fifth as the rout continued.
The one bright spot for the Reds was the scoreless ninth inning thrown by utility man Skip Schumaker, who started the game in left field and became the first Reds position player to pitch since Paul Janish in 2009.
“When the highlight of your game is that Skip Schumaker threw a scoreless inning,” Price said, “that says enough about the game in and of itself.”