Walk-off wins are, in a word, awesome. Even more awesome when the Good Guys are the benefactors of such. When you’re on the opposite side (and therefore, on the road), not so much.
For the third time in five road games, the Reds were the victims of their home opponent orchestrating a win in walk-off fashion. This time, it was Matt Carpenter with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th. Another extra innings loss? On the verge of depressing even. This is a developing pattern that only trends to the negative side, isn’t it? Thing is, last night’s 2-1 loss to division rival St. Louis could have been much different. Actually, it should have been different.
The one chord that strikes me is that if you watched or listened to the game, it’s hard to fathom that the Reds “made” it a game at all. The Cards explosive offense only accounted for two runs, one of which came off starter Johnny Cueto. That was in the form of a first-inning homer by Carlos Beltran.
Here’s some facts:
- Cueto hurled seven innings. So did Cards starter Kyle Lohse.
- Cueto tossed 113 pitches. Lohse, 90.
- Cueto retired the Cards in order twice. For Lohse, that was four.
- Where it seemed Cueto was constantly pitching out of trouble, Lohse appeared calm.
Even with these obvious contrasts, the Reds stayed in the game. The Cards had many an opportunity to strap a loss on Cueto (something the home crowd would have thoroughly enjoyed) while the Reds only mustered one real threat against Lohse. That occurred in the fourth inning.
Zack Cozart started off the inning with a walk, the only free pass Lohse provided the Reds. Joey Votto followed with a single. First and second, no outs. Lohse would strike out Scott Rolen and Jay Bruce, bith looking…and staring, or so it seemed. Ryan Ludwick would strike out swinging. When the bats are dormant, those situations throttle you.
In the previous inning (top 3rd), a potential rally was thwarted due to a poor call by third base umpire Larry Vanover. Drew Stubbs led off with a single and Ryan Hanigan followed with his own. In an attempt to get to third, Stubbs was called out when the throw from Beltran arrived off line and late. Vanover saw the play completely different than the Reds dugout…and those of us that watched at home were in utter disbelief as Vanover made the out call.
Last night was a gut-check effort for Cueto…and for that, he passed. When he exited, the score was 1-0 Cards. Even then, the bats were quieted. Despite scoring a run in the top of the 8th, the Cards defense helped with two fielding errors. But the end result was one run scored where it could have been more. If not for Cozart coming through with a two-out RBI producing hit, another goose egg would have found its way to the line.
So how did the Reds manage to stay in this game? The Cards stranded 14 runners and were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. That’s how. Reds pitchers allowed the runners, but refused to let them score. If you started the game with a roll of Rolaids, they are undoubtedly now gone.
The bats? Again, mysteriously quiet. Look at the totals: 10 strikeouts (6 looking), 1 walk. For the Cards batters: 6 strikeouts, 7 walks. As we see on the big board at GABP, walks will haunt. They did in the 10th.
“With Brandon up, if I don’t run Mesoraco and Brandon hits the ball on the ground — with his leg [a sore left hamstring], it’s a double play,” Baker said. “If you run him and he strikes out, it’s a double play. You’re between a rock and a hard place.”
While I will by no means cast this single decision as one that lost the game, I do feel as if Dusty simply gave up a base-runner here. Start your catcher when the guy behind the plate (Yadier Molina) is viewed as the best in the game (not the best in history, Mr. LaRussa)? I would rather see a “legit” double play there then what we witnessed. Honestly, I would.
And there’s this..
“We’re playing just good enough to lose right now. We just have to execute better because we practice and practice and preach and talk about things. It’s just not happening right now.”
I don’t believe I need to go into detail on this…
The pitching was all right aside from all the walks. If you surrender a mere two runs, you should win. Is there a flaw to that logic? If you think about it, it was only one run as the second run came in the extra frame. You have to find ways win those games.
Not on this night. For the fifth time in 11 games, the Reds only managed to score one run. Three of those five come from the rival arms of the Cardinals.
While the end game shows the pitching lost this game due to three walks (one intentional) in the bottom of the 10th, it didn’t. Shouldn’t have gotten to that point. You have to hit.
And think about how frustrating it would have been for the Cards and their faithful if the Reds had found the means to win this game.
Losing in extra innings is bad enough, but knowing your rival has completely stymied your bats and even created some brain cramps doesn’t exactly create positive vibes.