The final month had a bit of an anti-climatic feel. When September began, the Reds were 9.5 games up in the NL Central. We were reminded, on some level, of what happened in 2011 to the Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves. Such a fate would not fall upon the Good Guys.
That said, it did have a feel that September was a bit of a sleepwalk. Sure, for September and the three games in October, the Reds posted a record of 16-13, but something was amiss. Whatever was with this team in July and August seemed to have vanished.
All told, the Reds were outscored 87 to 83 during this time. The starting pitching had to be “on” almost every game in order for the Reds to pull out a win.
The biggest news of the month didn’t concern the team and its pursuit of the NL Central title. That would revolve around manager Dusty Baker.
On Tuesday, September 18, Baker managed his 3,000th game of his MLB managerial career. It would be a while before his next game in the dugout. Prior to the game against on the 19th, Baker was taken to a Chicago-area hospital with what was reported at the time with an irregular heartbeat. This was an issue Baker had previously dealt with, so we had a feeling all was going to go well.
It didn’t. As Baker was in the process of being dismissed, he started to exhibit slurred speech. The diagnosis was a minor stroke and he would stay in the hospital for a couple extra days. It wouldn’t be until Sunday when Baker would be formally dismissed and return to Cincinnati. He would not return to the dugout until the final series of the season when the Reds were in St. Louis.
Here’s a highlight I’m sure we can all enjoy…
And following was this…
Pitcher of the Month: Homer Bailey
Like you didn’t see this coming. Bailey did suffer one bad outing during the season’s final month (Sept. 23 v. the Dodgers), but in his other five starts where Bailey went at least six innings, they were quality starts. Actually, he surrendered more than one run only once in a game against the Houston on the 7th of the month. He gave up two in that outing.
Here’s a bit about Bailey’s month…
Of course, the game that jumps out at you is his no-no against the Pirates, but Bailey was seriously “the man” of the starting staff for the season’s final month.
Here’s the final inning of the Bailey no-no…
One last thing about Homer’s no-no. He had a legitimate shot at a perfect game. There was an error on a Clint Barmes grounder in the third. Some will say it should have been ruled a hit, but the game was in Pittsburgh, so you can do away with the old “hometown official scorer” bit.) The only other runner to reach base was Andrew McCutchen on a walk. McCutchen was soon erased from the basepaths by Ryan Hanigan as McCutchen was attempting to steal third.
Player of the Month: Homer Bailey
Offensively, I was hard pressed to find one. Honestly, I couldn’t. Among the “everyday players”, only one owned a decent triple slash: Joey Votto, but it wasn’t Votto-like in that he hit no home runs (yes, fully aware of the return form the torn meniscus) and only drove in seven. His OBP was .505, but that was driven more by walks (28) than by hits (24). Opponents were still unwilling to let Votto-matic beat them.
So, I will gladly say the honor goes to Bailey. I don’t think I need to present any arguments as to why.
On to the end…
Yep. Being up 2-0 in the NLDS and dropping the series especially when you have the final three games of that series at home truly sucks. There’s simply no other way to put it.
2013 should bring much more to the Reds and their fans.
The others in the series of “Reds Recalls”: