Reflecting on 2010: The Final Month, Sort Of


In BRM’s final look back at the Cincinnati Reds and the 2010 season, we reach the final months of September and October. The frenzy that had engulfed the city was just in its infancy.

Oops. Almost forgot. If you’ve missed any of our other posts relating to 2010, you can read those by clicking on the corresponding link.

April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010

One last reminder for 2010…

Quick reminder. 89 days until Opening Day!

September began with a 6-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. Coupled with another Cards loss propelled the Reds to their largest division lead of the season at eight games. A lead that would never go below five games.

The Reds traveled to St. Louis for the first time since the brawl in August. And as was expected, the greeting was not a welcome one. Cards fans were presented an opportunity to express their feelings toward Johnny Cueto. Brandon Phillips was booed every time he was at-bat and every time he fielded a ball. Fans were throwing back balls he fouled into the stands. Yes, there was mighty disdain for the Reds second baseman.

The entered St. Louis with an eight game lead and left with a seven game cushion as the Cards once again took a series from the Reds, 2-1. The highlight of that series took place in the middle game. Rookie Travis Wood was dueling with Cards ace #2 Adam Wainwright. The Reds placed a three spot on the board right off the bat. The Cards countered by pating one of their own in the bottom of the first inning. Two more Reds highlights to go…

Amid a chorus of boos, Phillips temporarily silenced the Busch Stadium crowd in the second. BP stroked a single to center field scoring Chris Heisey to put the Reds back up by three, 4-1. Then, it happened…

Travis Freakin’ Wood knocked an Adam Wainwright pitch into the left field seats for his first ML homer. Reds 5, Cards 1. The final of that game, in front of a FOX national audience, would be 6-1. Maybe people would really now take the Reds seriously.

That may not have lasted too long. After dropping the last game in St. Louis, Cincy flew to Coors Field. Very unfriendly hosts were the Colorado Rockies. In the first three games of the four game series, the Rox pummeled the Reds by scores of 10-5, 4-3 and 9-2. OK. The second wasn’t a pummeling. It was the final game of the set where the Reds let one get away.

Leading 5-0 after three and a half, the Rockies began to chip away at the lead. We all know the saying…no lead is safe at Coors Field. Well, teh Reds fell victim to that as in the bottom of the eighth with the Reds clinging to a 5-4 lead, the big hit…and a steal.

With Nick Masset on the mound, Colorado shortstop and MVP candidate Troy Tulowitzki drove a Masset pitch into the right filed seats to tie the game at 5. What happened next should be part of Rockies lore forever.

Masset walked Jason Giambi and Rox skipper Jim Tracy sent in Chris Nelson to pinch run for the slow footed Giambi. After a Joey Votto error, Nelson was at third. Someway, somehow, Masset fell asleep. So deep a sleep that Nelson stole home for the game’s winning run.

However…a “bad” loss once again motivated the team. They returned to GABP to take two of three from the Pirates and a four game split with the D’backs. That’s the one difference between teh Reds and Cards for 2010. Beat the teams you should.

The final road trip of the season would cover a lot of miles. First, to Houston for three (1-2). Then to Milwaukee for another three (2-1) and the final west coast trip to San Diego (1-2). The Reds returned home on September 28 to begin three games against the Astros.

September 28th. Three months ago. The Reds entered the bottom of the ninth in a tie game. Astros lefty specialist Tim Byrdak is on the hill to face Jay Bruce.

I could watch that over and over…

The NL Central title would belong the Cincinnati Reds. And despite being run out of the playoffs in three straight to the Philadelphia Phillies, Reds fans still celebrated. They celebrated a season where not too much was expected on them. The only “baseball expert” that I heard publicly predict the Reds would win the NL Central was former Red and ESPN analyst Aaron Boone.

The final NL Central standings looked as so:

Reds players managed to collect a little bit of hardware for the 2010 efforts:

Three Reds snared Gold Gloves. Scott Rolen won his 8th, Phillips was awarded his 2nd. And Bronson Arroyo, coming off his best season in the bigs, grabbed his first.

Joey Votto was selected as the National League’s winner of the Hank Aaron award. But Votto’s big prize came in the form of a landslide NL MVP win. Of the 32 ballots cast, Votto was first on 31 of those. The only dissension was that of St. Louis Cards writer Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who voted Albert Pujols as his top NL player. Did anyone tell Strauss that while Pujols was blazing the NL in August and on the way to NL Player of the Month, the Cards were leaking in the standings? Did even bother to look?

2010 was a memorable year for the Cincinnati Reds and their fans.

On behalf of Alex, John and myself, we here at BRM wish everyone a Happy New Year and may 2011 be prosperous for you…and the Reds!