Rough night for Claussen
Starter hard on himself after loss
By Josh Katzowitz / Post staff reporter
Milwaukee started the damage against Reds left-hander Brandon Claussen Wednesday night, beating him up for the second time in 32 days and handing him his fifth loss of the season.
Claussen wasn't much nicer later, castigating himself before a throng of media in the clubhouse.
He wasn't at his peak performance during the Brewers' 6-2 win, and Claussen had no problem telling that to anybody within earshot.
"It was brutal, man," said Claussen, who fell to 3-5 on the season after allowing seven hits and five runs in six innings. "I started the game off bad. I credit the loss completely to me. I never got into a rhythm out there. I just ... I stunk. I'm not going to lie to you."
The first two innings were especially painful for Claussen.
He walked Brewers leadoff hitter Rickie Weeks in the first and allowed a double to Jeff Cirillo during the next at-bat to score the speedy second baseman. Cirillo eventually scored on a Prince Fielder sacrifice fly.
In the second inning, Milwaukee catcher Damian Miller snapped a 0-for-13 slump with a double, moved to third on Brady Clark's single and scored when left-hander Doug Davis dropped an awkward sacrifice bunt.
Almost immediately, the Reds were in a 3-0 hole.
"The first two innings, I went out there and pitched scared, to be honest with you," Claussen said. "I was trying to be too fine with the ball. I was trying to force it in there, and when that happens, you leave the ball over the middle of the plate. Against a team like that, that's probably pretty confident against me, I just didn't get the job done."
If the Brewers are super-confident against Claussen, they'd have good reason.
On April 22, Claussen lasted only three-plus innings before surrendering eight hits - four of which were home runs - and nine runs in an 11-0 loss.
It's been like this most of his career against the Brewers. In his first career start vs. Milwaukee on July 20, 2004, he scored a 6-2 win. In nine starts since, he's 0-6 with a 9.15 ERA.
"It's not Milwaukee," Claussen said. "It's a couple guys in their lineup. I really feel like I make bad pitches to certain hitters on that team, and I just cannot do that."
Brewers leftfielder Carlos Lee proved why in the fifth.
After Claussen retired the first two batters of the inning, he hit Geoff Jenkins with a pitch. Against Lee, he left a pitch in the strike zone, and Lee deposited it in the left field bleachers.
"I feel like sometimes I'm my own worst enemy," Claussen said. "I go out there and try to be too fine. I know they're looking for consistency out of me. Trust me, I'm trying to be consistent."
Cincinnati's hitting struggled throughout the game as well.
Facing Davis' deliberate delivery, the Reds managed six hits overall and a solo home run from Austin Kearns. After leftfielder Cody Ross' near home run loaded the bases with no outs in the third inning, the Reds could muster just one run.
It gave Davis a chance to stay in the game.
"We don't seem to hit Doug Davis well, and I think it's a rhythm thing," Reds manager Jerry Narron said. "He works extremely slow, and he throws a lot of pitches. He has such a slow delivery that I think our guys get settled in too early against him. It seemed like the entire game was slow to be honest with you."
Third baseman Edwin Encarnacion, who's hitting .091 (1-for-11) against Davis lifetime, agreed with that assessment.
"Sometimes when you're waiting for him, he sits right there and doesn't move," Encarnacion said. "Sometimes that makes you jump too much. It's frustrating. But every team has to make adjustments. You have to be patient."
The same way Narron says he has to be tolerant with Claussen
"We're looking for a good stretch out of him," Narron said. "We know he's capable of throwing good outings consecutively. We're looking for it. We're begging for it. We're doing everything we can to be patient."