Straily separating himself as staff ace

Straily separating himself as staff ace

LOS ANGELES -- Reds manager Bryan Price deemed Dan Straily the team's best starting pitcher after Wednesday night's 3-1 loss at Dodger Stadium.

While Straily certainly has a case, given his 2.98 ERA, it's a reality that also begs an uncomfortable question: "What does it say that your best starter threw his best game of the season and you still managed to lose?"

That's the problem that will hang over the Reds as they leave Los Angeles fresh off a sweep in which they found very few opportunities on offense, scoring just three runs in three games. The team has now lost 10 straight.

"We just don't have a lot a guys on base," Price said. "We're not walking a lot. We're still in the .280s in on-base as a team [.281, 29th in the Majors]. That's extremely low. That just isn't going to create a lot of run-scoring opportunities for us outside of the home run. We score when we hit homers."

Like Brandon Finnegan on Monday, Straily pitched as well as he had all year, striking out 11 in seven innings while allowing three runs. On the night, Dodgers hitters went 3-for-27 with 13 strikeouts.

"I don't think hitters see him very well," Price said of Straily. "There's some natural deception and movement. He's got a slider that's a swing-and-miss pitch, has a really nice changeup, so he's got a nice three-pitch mix. He uses his curveball, mixes that in a little bit, but really a three-pitch guy who's learning how to sink the ball."

If there's one stat that summarizes the performances of Wednesday's game, it's that Straily and Dodgers lefty Scott Kazmir are the first pair of starters to each strike out 11 or more in the same game at Dodger Stadium in the last 40 regular seasons.

The performance and its setting were also personally special for Straily, who was born in Southern California and grew up a Dodgers fan.

"It was really cool, especially for the warm-up process. I got out there a few minutes early just to kind of get over it," Straily said. "By the time the game started, it didn't matter where I was. I was 60 feet, six inches away from Tucker [Barnhart, catcher], and that's all that matters. Sure, looking back, that will mean a lot more, but right now, I'm just frustrated with the loss more than anything else."

Jack Baer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.