Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….
National League Division Series, Game Three
FINAL — 10 innings
San Francisco 2
W: S. Romo (1-0)
L: J. Broxton (0-1)
Reds lead series, 2-1
–Homer Bailey was nothing short of brilliant tonight: 7 innings, one run allowed on one hit. He struck out ten and walked just one. Everyone was on the edge of their seats when Homer took a no-hitter into the sixth inning. Unfortunately, I jinxed it on Twitter and the Giants got a hit.
Still, a spectacular performance by Homer tonight.
–Sean Marshall and Aroldis Chapman were no less brilliant than Bailey, except for the fact that they only pitched one inning each.
–Jay Bruce had the only RBI for the Reds tonight.
–Wow, the offense was just bad tonight. Four hits in ten innings.
–In the tenth inning, Jonathan Broxton allowed the first two runners to reach base, before striking out the next two. Then a passed ball by Ryan Hanigan, of all things, allowed the runners to advance to second and third. Broxton induced a chopper to third by Joaquin Arias; Scott Rolen tried to short hop the ball, but booted it for an error.
To be fair to Rolen, it wasn’t a particularly easy play, but it was a play that Scott Rolen usually makes with no problem. Brutal way to lose.
–I don’t know whether this is a negative or not, but it was a curious situation. In the tenth, as I noted above, the Giants had runners on second and third with two outs. Arias was at the plate, and the pitcher (Sergio Romo) was on deck. The Reds pitched to Arias, and he hit the grounder to third. If Rolen makes the play, we aren’t even discussing this, no doubt.
But why didn’t Dusty walk Arias to get to the pitcher’s spot. There’s no downside to that move. First base was open, it would have created a force at any base. The Giants only had one remaining player available to hit for Romo; if Giants manager Bruce Bochy pinch-hits, it burns their last pinch-hitter and forces them to remove Romo from the game. If Bochy didn’t pinch hit, all Broxton has to do is retire Romo — a relief pitcher — in order to keep the game tied at one.
Seems like an obvious move in hindsight. But we all know what they say about hindsight.
–Brandon Phillips led off the game with a single. A bit later, he took off on a steal attempt of second. The pitch was actually a wild pitch, and Phillips rounded second and tried to advance to third. It was the type of aggressive base-running that the Reds — and BP in particular — have been known for. Unfortunately, BP was thrown out at third.
–Jonathan Broxton is going to give me a heart attack in the playoffs. At some point.
In that first inning, thanks to that play, the Reds got three hits and a walk, but they were only able to scratch across one run. That missed opportunity proved more costly than anyone could have known at the time.
–What can I say? The pitching was excellent (the Giants only had three hits), the offense was terrible. It’s a story that we’ve read before. Reds have a chance to win the series tomorrow.
–So what’s up with the Reds hitting well in a pitcher’s park, but being unable to score at GAB? I don’t like it.
–Attendance was 44,501, and it appeared to be a very raucous crowd. (The only larger crowd in Reds history was the 2010 NLDS game vs. Philly.) Let’s hope tomorrow’s crowd is even crazier.
–Wow, Homer Bailey was just flat dealing it tonight. In command the entire evening. He looks like an entirely different Homer than we’ve ever seen before. At one point, he struck out six Giants in a row, tying a Cincinnati post-season record.
–Some people will argue that Dusty took Homer out of the game too soon. After all, he had only thrown 88 pitches at that point. I find that a difficult argument to make. Homer probably had one more inning in him, and he was throwing well, no question. But the Reds needed runs, and I can’t argue with Dusty’s decision to pinch hit for him.
Also, how much grief has Baker gotten for leaving pitchers in for too long? I think his handling of the staff tonight was very defensible.
–The Reds had just one hit after the first inning.
–Scott Rolen is a Hall of Famer, but his defense in the playoffs for the Reds (2010/2012) leaves a lot to be desired. (Not even going to mention his bat.)
–The game started late because some idiot ran out onto the field…before the first pitch. That’s gotta be some kind of record. Anyway, here’s the moron.
–Some thoughts from Twitter:
Last 3 outings for Bailey: 20 innings, 5 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, 26 Ks. #reds
— John Fay (@johnfayman) October 10, 2012
Homer Bailey: 10 K sets Reds single-game postseason record. Old record of 9 was held by Hod Eller and Jose Rijo.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 10, 2012
More on Bailey: 4th pitcher in postseason history with 7 IP, 1 H or fewer, 10 K. (Clemens, El Duque, Mussina the others)
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 10, 2012
Chapman goes 100 100 99 100 for k.
— Will Carroll (@injuryexpert) October 10, 2012
–Tonight’s loss is likely to give Walt Jocketty and Dusty Baker a big headache. It certainly will force a difficult decision. We learned before the game that Johnny Cueto is suffering from a strained oblique (rather than just back spasms), and no one sounds confident that he’ll be able to pitch soon. So if Cueto can’t go tomorrow…who pitches?
It’s a tough call. Do they go with Mat Latos, on short rest again? The bullpen is fairly well-rested, if Latos isn’t able to go deep into the game.
Do they go with Mike Leake? That’s the toughest decision. If they remove Cueto from the roster and put Leake in his place, Cueto won’t be eligible for the NLCS roster. Do you want to play in the NLCS without Johnny Cueto? Me either, and I imagine that’s going to be an option of last resort for the Redlegs.
My opinion, based on the limited information I have before me, is that they have to go with Latos. I look forward to seeing what the Reds do.
A win tonight would have allowed the Reds to delay this decision until Sunday, giving Cueto more time to heal and the Reds more time to decide what’s best for the club. In the long run, tonight’s loss may end up stinging more than we know right now.
–Okay, keep those chins up, Reds fans. Cincinnati still leads 2-1, and they’ll have a chance to finish off the Giants tomorrow. Even better, I’m taking my son to the game, so that’s going to be a fun experience for us.
UPDATE: Homer Bailey says that Mike Leake is going to start tomorrow, which means Cueto will be removed from the roster for the NLCS too. I’ll wait for the Reds to announce this officially before I comment.
If I were the Reds, and I wanted to add Leake…I’d think outside the box here and remove Jose Arredondo from the roster. Who cares if he isn’t available for the NLCS? Can Arredondo fake an injury on such short notice?
Blame Chad for creating this mess.
Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.
You can email Chad at email@example.com.