Well, that didn’t go as planned.
In case you missed it, J.J. Hoover served up a cement mixer to Ike Davis for the first walk-off grand slam the Reds have encountered since 2010 when Francisco Cordero was still closing games. It’s times like these when Aroldis Chapman is missed most.
Showing chinks in his armor first was Gee when Ryan Ludwick connected with a lined shot that crash-landed in the left field stands to push the Reds ahead 1-0. At the time, it seemed Ludwick’s lone display of strength may have been enough to beat the Mets single-handedly, but a former New York Yankee had something to say about that.
After the Reds were unable to turn a double play with David Wright at the dish, Curtis Granderson had an extended at-bat that ultimately concluded in a fastball that caught too much of the plate being deposited for a two-run home run. Catcher Tucker Barnhart had set up inside and couldn’t react quick enough to watch as the moving fastball slid right across the heart of the plate before becoming a souvenir. Yet again, an outstanding effort from Cueto, but one bad pitch put a damper over the outing.
Heading into the top of the eighth inning, it seemed that the Reds were destined to fall by just one single run yet again. In addition, Cueto would be tacked with a loss he truly didn’t deserve. Leading off the inning was Chris Heisey, who slashed a single to right, and never stopped motoring. Catching Granderson somewhere in between napping and having a soft arm, the Reds spark plug lit a fire under his club by grabbing an extra base that seemed to make all the difference in the world.
Before divulging into the occurrence of the following moments, let’s take a second to admire and appreciate Chris Heisey. Not every player that contributes always has to fill a starting role; Heisey’s niche with this ballclub may make him the most valuable bench player in the entire league. Everything from his hustle, to his ability to play all three outfield spots, to his tremendous pinch-hitting ability, Heisey provides an element not many other players in the game can bring.
A Roger Bernadina sacrifice bunt later, Brandon Phillips unleashed his first long ball of the season on a hanging change-up from Dillon Gee, just about a few feet to the left of me. When just a sacrifice fly would have done, Phillips went the extra mile, putting the Reds ahead by a run and seemingly on the verge of victory.
Should Bryan Price have deemed Sam LeCure his “closer,” it was absolutely the right decision for him to have pitched the eighth inning against the heart of the Mets order. In an ideal world, this would have been one of those situations where if Aroldis Chapman were healthy, he would be used for a multiple inning appearance. The new era sabermatricians harp constantly on how the best reliever should be facing the best hitters, and agree with it or not, Price managed the situation to a tee.
Applying Murphy’s Law to perfection in the bottom of what became a near freezing cold ninth inning, J.J. Hoover did not record an out against four batters that would not manage to make the Reds 25-man roster. Mouthing to no one in particular, I stated, “If Lagares reaches base here, there’s going to be trouble.” By now, you surely know he does reach base.
Criticizing Joey Votto for a momentary lapse in judgment seems like an illogical request of one of the game’s most intelligent players. This may be a new concept for some to understand, but just because they make it look easy on a daily basis, does not mean that’s the case; players can make calculated mistakes, no matter who they are.
After two walks and an overturned replay, Ike Davis mashed a J.J. Hoover curveball into the Pepsi Porch in right field, sealing the Reds fate and sending them tail spinning to a 1-4 record.
Usually known as their streak stopper, Johnny Cueto may have performed his part, but the team could not get the victory. Sputtering and having lost three in a row, Alfredo Simon takes to the hill on what should be a picturesque Sunday afternoon. The Mets send lefthander Jon Niese to the hill, who battled chronic shoulder injuries this off-season, experience “dead” arm just before the opening of the season.
It’s not a popular answer, and it doesn’t lessen the blows of losses any better, but sample size is an important aspect to comprehend. No one wants to be swept from a team longing for playoff contention, but in the words of Dusty Baker, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”