What else could you ask for? Heading into the bottom of the 9th inning, the Good Guys held a 3-2 lead over the Houston Astros. Seemed like a given that a “W” was on the way.
The inning started out with an innocent pop-up behind the plate that catcher Dioner Navarro caught right before he got the the netting. A bleeder of a single by Tyler Greene followed by another bloop by J.D. Matinez (with Greene going to third) had Astros with runners at first and third with one out. Matt Domiguez to the plate.
Then, Matt Domniguez, known more for his defense, took a fastball and deposited it into the left field seats. Astros 5, Reds 3, and a very stunned crowd of 23,785 at Great American Ball Park.
Oh, I forgot. I didn’t tell you Aroldis Chapman was pitching. True statement. A string of 27 consecutive save conversions…gone.
The bottom of the 9th would not see a comeback as the Reds have done so many times in 2012. I also wonder how well, or not so well, this loss will sit with the Twitterverse. The last time the Reds dropped a “heartbreaker”, it was supposed to be the loss that sent Cincy into a tailspin.
Don’t see it happening after this game either.
There was an issue: Chapman and his velocity. Or shall I say, lack of velocity. After starting the inning throwing 98 MPH consistently all the way up to the Dominguez shot, Chapman never hit over 95 for the remainder of the inning. Concern? Maybe. Why? For the first time I can immediately recall, Chapman threw a pitch at 84 MPH. Sure it was a slider, but those are usually no slower than 88-89.
Quite honestly, Chapman didn’t look the same after the home run. Most breaking balls he tossed in an outing in a while.
The Reds lineup didn’t look the same in some spots either. Drew Stubbs, Zack Cozart and Scott Rolen were not in it. Cozart had his back tighten up on him Tuesday which, according to John Fay, was a scheduled day off. Even if he had felt better Wednesday, Dusty is a proponent for giving a player another day to error on the side of caution and Cozart would have been sitting anyway.
Plus, I was wanting Didi Gregorius to get the start tonight. Yes, purely selfish motives.
Rolen is battling a bad back as well, but his back issues are recurring. Fay noted that an MRI was performed yesterday and Rolen was prescribed medication. Thank goodness for it being September. Who knows how long the bench would be short. Todd Frazier, who I honestly did not expect to see in the starting nine, was over a third.
Stubbs may have been the one that caught most people off their guard. Why was Stubbs sitting? A change in his approach at the plate. I can hear it now. “About time”. And I can hear others. “Free Heisey”.
And Heisey, as he has been prone to do as of late, played well. A tremendous diving catch to go along with a 3-for-5 night night at the plate and add a pair runs scored could make it difficult for Dusty Baker to not give him another start tomorrow night. All Heisey has done since the beginning of August is hit .370 with 3 HR and 10 RBI. He has also scored 10 runs. This in 18 total games with 10 starts. His OPS during the same time is 1.013.
And those stats do not count tonight’s game.
Tough loss. Get ‘em tomorrow night.