Despite Redding’s solid overall numbers this year — a 6-3 record and 3.71 ERA now in 12 starts — the more telling numbers may involve his declining performance inning by inning. Opposing batters are hitting just .163 in their first at-bat against Redding. That number rises to .237 the second time around the order, then skyrockets to .328 after that.
So it perhaps didn’t come as much surprise last night when Redding shut the Diamondbacks out without a hit through three innings, then surrendered a solo homer to Orlando Hudson in the fourth, then allowed another run in the fifth thanks to two walks and two singles, then couldn’t make it out of the sixth after allowing two of three batters to reach safely.
“For whatever reason, the third time has been the problem for me,” Redding said. “But I’m not consciously thinking about it out there. You can’t go out there the sixth inning and all of a sudden change the way you’re throwing. If you’re having success, you’ve got to do the first five innings what you’ve been doing to have success.”
Acta finally summoned Joel Hanrahan out of the bullpen to try to escape the jam and preserve the Nationals’ 3-2 lead, but No. 8 hitter Chris Snyder grounded the right-hander’s second pitch into center field to drive in the tying run and charge Redding with his third earned run.
Hanrahan (1-2) settled down after that, recording five key outs to earn the win. Luis Ayala served up a solo homer to Chad Tracy in the eighth, but Jon Rauch pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his 12th save in 14 tries and seal an impressive win that perhaps finally will spark this club.
“It’s only one game,” Acta cautioned. “We’ve got to continue to put together more games like this.”
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