The location of the Reds Judgment Day has been determined. In what should be a wonderful Tuesday night right on the Allegheny River, the Redlegs and Pirates will lock horns one final time in 2013, with a spot in the division series up for grabs.
All this was settled after the Reds fell at home today, 8-3, after Bronson Arroyo, who may well have made his last start in his illustrious Reds career, gave up a career-high five homeruns to the bludgeoning Buccos. Neil Walker led the way with two solo shots, combined with Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez and Marlon Byrd, dealing blows of their own to chase Arroyo from the mound. Unfortunately for the Reds, it didn’t stop there as Andrew Lambo hit a no-doubter for his first Major League homerun off Logan Ondrusek, sealing the Reds fate.
The club did respond in the bottom of the third as Brandon Phillips drove in Shin-Soo Choo, followed by a two-RBI double off the bat of Jay Bruce and the Reds were ahead 3-2 against Charlie Morton. Staying true to Reds form as of late, the team left the sacks loaded in the first without cashing in, with the same story following in the fifth.
On what has been a historically successful day in recent Reds memory (Jay Bruce’s walk-off in 2010, Homer’s first no hitter in 2012), there was nothing lucky about what happened to Brandon Phillips in the bottom of the fifth inning. After Charlie Morton ran a sinker in on the hands, Phillips fouled the ball down off what looked to be his foot; replays showed that in actuality, it was his shin. A fantastic job was done by the FOX Sports cameramen to zoom in on the afflicted area of the Reds second baseman showing what seemed to be a baseball in itself grown where the ball had just hit. Being the absolute gamer that he is, Phillips refused to come out before the conclusion of his at-bat, but after singling into right-field, he had to be pinch-run for. While X-rays came out negative, Phillips has tweeted out that he “cannot walk on it,” and will do everything in his power to play on Tuesday. After the death blow that was the oblique strain of Johnny Cueto last season, Reds fans have to be wondering what they did wrong to deserve this.
Having lost today, rendering tomorrow meaningless, Johnny Cueto will no longer be matching up against Gerrit Cole in tomorrow’s season finale. Who the Reds start is still to be determined but Greg Reynolds would not be a bad guess. For what seemed to be a lock tight cinch; after hearing Mat Latos’ comments during the in-game interview, he even mentioned that he hasn’t been told he’ll be getting the ball Tuesday night. I think in an ideal world at the beginning of the season, you had told the organization they’d have to pick one pitcher to start a one-game playoff, it would be Johnny Cueto. While I would be hesitant to say that Cueto should get the start Tuesday, I don’t particularly see any downside, outside of a hit to Mat Latos’ ego. Should Cueto in anyway falter, or feel a twinge, Mat Latos should be waiting in the wings, just as he was last year, to save the day.
The sold-out crowd heading down to Great American Ball Park tomorrow should more than likely not expect to see the regulars play all nine innings, if any at all. It wouldn’t seem beneficial to give guys like Choo, Bruce and Votto the entire day off, as they do have a day off Monday as well, giving them ample time as it may be. No matter who is in the starting lineup, or who gets the ball in a start, all Reds fans will be glued to their screen hoping this isn’t the last time the Reds take the field at home this year.