This game represents the perfect case in point of how you never know what may happen on any given day down at the ball yard.
Combining for 10 home runs, the Pirates and Reds made Great American Ball Park history—and they’re not done yet. Calling the game due to dreadful weather in the Cincinnati area, the Reds will play a suspended game for the second consecutive year. Last April, they won in the bottom of the ninth of a scoreless game against the Phillies.
Even though the win-loss record hasn’t changed, tonight was too incredible of a night to bypass. Certainly, the addition of dogs to the ballpark did not mellow out the drama.
Looking to get back on the right track was Homer Bailey, who was hammered around the yard in both outings against the St. Louis Cardinals. Essentially, Bailey did get back to pitching how he has in the past. Those that will simply take a gander at the box score may make that out to be a ludicrous statement, but watching all five innings that he threw on this night; it is without question that Bailey ran into a stretch of bad luck.
Starting early and often, balls were rocketing all over the place. Reigning National League MVP Andrew McCutchen had an RBI single in the first that was blistered, yet it barely alluded the sure-handed Zack Cozart, morphing under his arm and rolling into center for the first run of the contest. The rest of the runs Bailey would allow were not harmful singles into centerfield.
Presenting Homer Bailey with a lead may not be the method to success. Both of his previous starts, he was staked to leads a pitcher in his tax bracket is expected to nail down. After being given a 2-1 advantage through one, he promptly spit it right back as Neil Walker and Gaby Sanchez clobbered back-to-back home runs to put the Bucs on top. After that, Bailey seemed to take it up a notch.
Of course, it’s difficult to quantify a pitcher throwing well when he allows four home runs. But in Bailey’s case, he pitched efficiently. When he wasn’t jerking his head around to see how far the home runs were landing, he was punching out Pirates batters. Finishing the night with a unique stat line of five innings pitched, eight hits, five earned runs, four home runs allowed, zero walks and nine strikeouts, there was at the very least improvement.
The final two home runs Bailey allowed, off the bats of Starling Marte and Travis Snider, may have as well been practical jokes to Homer. He seemed at a loss for words after both balls became souvenirs, stunned they had escaped into the seats.
For those of you at home who are off-the-beaten-path statistics hunters, the Pirates for a third time in the game (with a few more innings remaining tomorrow!) hit back-to-back home runs to lead off an inning in the top of the sixth. This time, their victim was J.J. Hoover, who is once again coming out of the gate as slow as can be. The same combination of Walker and Sanchez sent a crowd, and a team, that was seemingly in place for a victory after five innings, into a stunned silence.
This whole debate of “official game” has to be the shining example of baseball’s egalitarian ways of refusing to accept change. One of the oldest axioms in the sport has always been, “it ain’t over until it’s over.” Unless of course, there’s rain—in which case, you had your shot through five innings, suck it up. As far as I understand, the reason baseball has added instant replay is to get the call the right. Why is this so imperative? Because the regular season is of the utmost importance in baseball. Games should not simply be ending due to rain; the contest could have easily been stopped and resumed tomorrow afternoon.
It was not just Pittsburgh supplying the thunder, as the Reds cranked out four long balls of their own–all of the critical variety.
Even though he came into the game in a 1-for-19 slump, Todd Frazier was inserted into the cleanup spot, mostly due to the inefficiencies Jay Bruce had against southpaw Wandy Rodriguez. The sabermatrician baseball gods (who are clearly different from the regular baseball gods) smiled down upon the ballpark as Joey Votto drew a walk from the two hole, and then trotted home as Todd Frazier cranked one halfway to Northern Kentucky.
After an unlikely turn of events that featured the Reds first successful use of replay on the year, the inning was extended for Ryan Ludwick, who collided with a fastball for his second home run of the year. Watching Chris Heisey deliver a pinch-hit Grand Slam the day before, this was Ludwick’s way of answering.
Those that claimed Joey Votto would have a drastic dip in power numbers simply because he was opting not to drive the ball out of the ballpark have to be hanging their heads in shame. For the third time in the last four days, the former MVP went deep. This time, he annihilated a first-pitch hanging curveball from Wandy Rodriguez and deposited it into the moon deck quicker than a snap of the fingers. Where the significance of his third home run lied, was in its timing. With the rain coming down hard enough to make even the dogs in attendance run for cover, Votto seemed to steal a victory right before the Buccos eyes. Alas, the game was astoundingly continued.
While Votto’s crank in the bottom of the fifth may have been impactful, none was more so than Devin Mesoraco’s third of the year, which came with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. Connecting and knowing it was gone, Mesoraco continues to stay “en fuego” (on fire, for those that lack the language of love; Spanish). Correctly deciding to delay the game, now neither team would be able to cry foul over its suspension to tomorrow afternoon.
Be sure to tune in early at 5:30 P.M., as the conclusion of the first game will begin in the top of the seventh inning with the score knotted at seven.
The night game portion will feature a brilliant pitching matchup, as Mike Leake looks to build off his phenomenal start against the St. Louis Cardinals the last time out, while the Reds bats look to continue hitting against Pittsburgh’s young gun, Gerrit Cole. While the start time is scheduled for 7:10 P.M., the Reds have had some downright miserable confrontations with Mother Nature thus far. With dreadful conditions expected in Reds Country, it may be time to light up the fireplace, grab some cocoa and tune in to some Reds baseball.