In hindsight, was starting a pitcher who missed most of the season, in a one game, winner take all, playoff, really a good decision? The Reds sent staff ace Johnny Cueto to the mound in last night’s Wild Card game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. From the start it was obvious that Cueto did not have his best stuff, not did he have the command of the strike zone typically demonstrated by a team’s #1 starting pitcher.
It was clear from the start that any of the Reds other starting pitchers would have been a better choice. Cueto pitched behind in the count and it didn’t take long for the Pirates to touch him up. If not for the great defense of Todd Frazier the game could have been out of hand by the 3rd inning. As it was, it got out of hand soon enough, and the Reds hopes for advancing evaporated in the hostile environment of PNC Field.
On the flip side, the Pirates are the feel good story of the season. Their faithful fan base has been deprived of a playoff appearance long enough and they deserve to enjoy their team’s success. Not only that, but the Steelers have the good folks of Pittsburgh mourning an 0-4 start and a declaration by Big Ben that they are the worst team in the NFL. I know this is a baseball story, but how much does a Cincinnati sports fan have to love hearing the Steelers starting QB make such a pitiful claim? So Pirate fans, “Go enjoy your moment because the Cardinals are waiting to cut the celebration short!”
Back to the dugout before we wrap this post up… Another winter of “what if’s?” await the Reds. What if Joey Votto had hit like an MVP is supposed to hit? What if the Reds gad started Latos or Bailey? What if Ludwick had been the power hitter everyone had hoped he would be? What if Walk Jockety had made the trade to put them over the top? What if…
- Todd Frazier Makes Sick Catch to Save Reds from Big Inning (bleacherreport.com)
- Colin Dunlap: Pirates Fans Had A Huge Part In Wild Card Win (pittsburgh.cbslocal.com)
- National League Wild Card game: Reds-Pirates lineups (hardballtalk.nbcsports.com)
Carlos Gomez has done it to the Reds again!
In the 9th inning of Saturday’s game, Gomez tracked a well hit fly ball off the bat of Jay Bruce to the centerfield wall. At precisely the right moment Gomez elevated to catch the ball above the wall and rob Bruce of a three run homer. In the bottom of the 9th, Brewers infielder Sean Halton hit a walk off home run to defeat the Reds 6-5. With the Reds battling the Cardinals, Pirates, and Nationals for a play-off spot, the loss was especially painful for players and fans alike. At this point in the season ever game is critical and the Reds let a 5-1 lead after six innings slip away.
What makes this loss even more painful is that it mirrors a very similar loss to the Brewers on July 9th, 2013 when Carlos Gomez robbed Joey Votto of a potential game winning home run. In much the same way, Gomez ran down Votto’s centerfield shot and leaped above the wall to make the catch. Gomez went so far above the wall that Votto demanded to see the ball in his glove after the catch to confirm that he indeed caught the ball.
Both catches, and several others like them made by Gomez this season, are worthy of the highlight reel. The Brewers will not make the play-offs in 2013 but thanks to Carlos Gomez, the Reds may not either. They are currently 3.5 games out of first place in the National League Central and the Washington Nationals are stalking the Reds for the final Wild Card play-off spot. If the Reds miss the tournament by two games or less they can point to Carlos Gomez and the Miller Field centerfield fence to understand why.