When we saw Johnny Cueto wince, we thought something might be up. When we saw him emphatically call for team trainer Paul Lassard, we thought “oh, oh”.
After throwing only 8 pitches, and possibly one notable non-pitch, Cueto was removed. He was obviously in pain and perturbed at his exit. During the at-bat to Giants center fielder Angel Pagan, as Cueto had his back to plate, Pagan called for time and was granted such by home pate umpire Phil Cuzzi. As Cueto spun back toward the plate, Cueto could see the arms of Cuzzi raised to signify timeout. Cueto abbreviated his motion and you could see he was in discomfort afterwards. He finished that AB and even tossed a couple of pitches to Marco Scutaro before calling for the masses.
The era of concern immediately followed. Later, that was asomewhat resolved when Tom Verducci told us that it was back spasms and that Reds GM Walt Jocketty did not see any pending roster move. There is even a chance that Cueto could start Game 3.
Wait. Isn’t Mat Latos supposed to start that game? Not any more. After Cueto was removed, Sam LeCure came to the immediate rescue and hurled 1.2 innings. After LeCure came out of the game, Latos entered. On three days rest, he went four innings (57 pitches) allowing only one run on four hits. The only run Latos allowed came on a Buster Posey home run. Two excellent efforts from LeCure and Latos.
But the Reds heroics were more than the duo of LeCure and Latos, although their quick calls to action were the lines of the evening and cannot be overlooked by any means.
Brandon Phillips had himself a ball game. He flashed his all-around game last night. He staked the Reds to a 2-0 with his 3rd inning home run. Bottom of the 5th, a bare-handed play to retire Pablo Sandoval to end the inning. In the bottom of the 6th, BP backing up a play prevented an extra base just when it looked like things could have been unraveling for the Good Guys. Top of teh 8th, the Matrix Move to avoid a double play. Top of the 9th, yet another hit (his third) to drive Ryan Hanigan for BP’s third RBI.
I’d say Phillips had a game…and led his team to the 5-2 win. It wasn’t easy as the Giants puts scares into Jonathan Broxton and Aroldis Chapman, even plating a run against the Cuban Missile, but the Reds, nonetheless, prevailed.
And while we will mention BP, LeCure and Latos for their games (and deservedly so), we cannot fail to acknowledge Dusty and pitching coach Bryan Price. While Cueto was being attended to on the mound by Baker and others, it was Price who aided in prepping Latos and LeCure for their remarkable outings. Those outings were bigger than we will ever know.
As for Baker, he did something Reds fans rarely see. Dusty visited the mound to have a chat with Chapman, not Price. While the ending still wasn’t the prettiest, whatever Dusty said had an effect. A positive effect. A win.
A not-so-positive effect was the broadcasting team of Brain Anderson (Brewers), Joe Simpson (Braves) and Ron Darling (Mets), all of whom are under the employ of TBS for the postseason.
I can understand having NL guys on the NL side of things. Makes sense, but they seemed a little…off. Could be that they don’t work together on a constant basis, but, man, this team was absolutely horrid. Maybe they all need a Joel Luckhaupt to help them. (You’ll see what I mean by that later.) I finished watching last night’s game with the following in mind:
1. Buster Posey is better than sliced bread, spreadable butter and any other “life-changing” event you wish to insert here. They showed the replay of his home run how many times? Did any of these three stooges mention that the score was 3-1 REDS after that home run? Did he receive any criticism when he permitted that passed ball in the top of the 9th inning?
2. Ron Darling needs people to do his homework. Here’s one example.
Darling stated something along the lines of Drew Stubbs having an on-base percentage under .300 for most of his career. Obviously, and as I tweeted last night, Darling, even though he’s an NL guy, has zero clue about Reds players. NL guy should know something about the Reds, right? I don’t think he was prepared as he even admitted to such later in the game as he didn’t have his “Latos stuff” upon Mat entering the game.
FYI: Before this season, Stubbs’ lowest OBP for a season was .321, which was last season, 2011. Yes, this year’s was a dismal .277. This year, Ron. Not Drew’s entire freakin’ career. Stubbs still owns a career OBP of .312.
And the Giants bullpen as one of the NL’s best? They ranked in the bottom third in practically every pitching category.
3. Joey Votto isn’t 100%. All the talk of Votto’s knee was simply detestable. We all know Votto isn’t 100%. Votto even said he wouldn’t be until next season. We’ve seen it more with his hitting than his defense.
Here’s one thought. Maybe those throws weren’t good throws. What? They weren’t? Reds fans know Votto can usually dig those out of the dirt. To say it’s because of the knee? Here’s another train of thought. Did it occur to anyone on that crew that maybe #19 simply had a bad game and it is not related to his knee? He’s human, ya know. It does happen to even the game’s best players.
Unless you’re Buster Posey, I guess.
Although, now that I think about it, Votto has a defense for any bad play he makes. Right. Like he’d ever use it. Votto doesn’t need you to make excuses for his play as he won’t himself.
4. The Giants were the better team. Was anything negative said about the Giants? Not really, you say. Then refresh my memory here. Who won the game?
Maybe Reds fans truly are spoiled by Thom and Welsh along with appearances from Kelch and Cowboy, and a sprinkling of George. I do gain a bit more appreciation of the guys the Reds have after watching last night’s game.
And one last thing. For those that voted in our latest poll (you can still vote, by the way) and said the Giants would sweep the Reds. Well, I needn’t say more.