Yes, some will term last night’s 2-1 loss to the Astros as a humiliating one. It will not keep the Reds from making the playoffs unless you feel it will be the one game that has this Reds team spiral to the depths of which it cannot recover. To me, stating this game will turn the season in a negative direction is downright absurd.
And don’t point your finger at any one specific reason as to why the Good Guys dropped the game last night. Baseball is a team sport for a reason. Last night’s loss is such a case. Here are the facts…
1. The Reds were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
If that would have been even 1-for-8, the Reds would be up by no less than a 2-1 margin and we see Aroldis Chapman in the 9th. The bats had their chances with runners in scoring position.
– 2nd inning: Todd Frazier begins the inning with a single. A Scott Rolen grounder has Frazier forced at second. Ryan Hanigan follows with a single. Homer Bailey grounds into a double play. Inning over
– 4th inning: With one out, Jay Bruce cranks a double. Frazier flies out and Rolen grounds out.
– 6th inning: With two outs, Ryan Ludwick gets on with a single and Bruce walks. Frazier grounds out to end the inning.
– 7th inning: Rolen starts the inning with a double. Hanigan hits a weak liner to second. Bailey grounds out to first as Rolen advances to third. Zack Cozart strikes out.
In those four innings, the Good Guys had a runner on second, In three of those, there was less than two outs. Nary a run crossed the plate.
2. The Astros bullpen was flat out nasty…in a way.
Yes, I actually said that. The Reds bats had a hand in this though. In the 2 innings for the Astros ‘pen, they gave up a walk. That’s it. A walk and no hits. And of the six outs the Astros bullpen recorded, five were by strikeout. One runner off one of the worst bullpens in baseball (8-28, 4.79 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, .280 BAA). Some may say it is the worst.
3. One argument…
If not for Brandon Phillips voicing his displeasure with home plate umpire Andy Fletcher, that’s not Wilson Valdez at second base either. To get tossed, you have to say those magic words. Apparently, BP did. I know on the telecast you could hear Phillips state his opinion. That doesn’t help either. BP apologized to Baker, then to his fans, teammates and the umps via Twitter.
4. The Astros rally was with two outs.
Give them some credit here. Houston was down to their last out. A double, an intentional walk, a HBP, then the Valdez error. Sorry, but despite what you might think, the Astros have pride, too. Those guys don’t like losing either despite what their record says.
And we can second guess as to why Baker left Sean Marshall in the game. On the telecast, Jeff Brantley and Jim Kelch were questioning why J.J. Hoover was not brought in to face Brandon Barnes, who was pinch-hitting for the lefty bat of Jordan Schafer, and Jose Altuve. That answer may be a simple one. Hoover might not have been warmed up yet. I have yet to see anything along these lines.
Homer Bailey pitched his guts out and left Minute Maid Park last night with nothing to show for his effort. People will point to the Valdez error as the reason why the Reds lost. In the end, it was, but the result could have been entirely different had things gone in a different direction in previous at-bats.