Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….
FINAL — 16 innings
St. Louis 5
W: C. Martinez (2-1)
L: L. Ondrusek (3-1)
–Bronson Arroyo had a good start: seven innings, two earned runs on seven hits and no walks. Who doesn’t love Bronson?
–Aroldis Chapman was simply dominant again, throwing a perfect ninth inning, striking out two hitters. The velocity was just as good as last night. This guy is so much fun to watch when he’s on his game.
–Brandon Phillips doubled and homered. The solo homer represented BP’s 100th RBI, the first Reds second baseman to collect 100 since Joe Morgan. But Dusty had him bunting in the fifteenth inning.
–Zach Duke struck out the only batter he faced. He had no business being in the game in that situation, but he absolutely delivered, and I tip my cap to him.
–JJ Hoover pitched a perfect tenth inning, then allowed a hit and a walk, but prevented the Cards from scoring in the 11th. Hoover has been up and down this season, but I love that guy. He’s a future closer. And he has a great beard.
–Joey Votto made his thirteenth error of the season. As we noted on the podcast, Votto has been very shaky defensively this season.
And Votto also went 0-7 at the plate. One of the worst games of his career, no doubt.
–Dusty Baker ordered the Reds to bunt ninety-three times tonight. Approximately.
–A suicide squeeze with two outs in the fifteenth inning. Just imagine that for a moment. How insane is that decision? (If, in fact, it was actually a suicide. There’s a possibility that Heisey and/or Choo were just doing something dumb. Let’s consider the possibility that Dusty didn’t actually call for that.)
–Are you kidding me?
–Someone, please, explain this to me. In the eighth inning, the game was tied, 3-3. Sam LeCure had allowed a walk and a hit, and runners were at the corners with two out. With a left-hander coming to the plate, Dusty needed to use a LH reliever. Isn’t this a great situation to use Aroldis Chapman?
Well, you’d think so. Instead, Dusty Baker brought in Zach Duke. Sure, Duke made an All-Star team once upon a time. I don’t mind having him on the roster. He’s been pretty good in AAA this year. But in a tie game, in an extremely tight spot in the middle of a pennant race, against one of your division rivals…does it make any sense whatsoever to use a guy who was brought up from AAA one week ago? Why not use Aroldis Chapman in that situation???
Duke got the job done, and I’m appreciative of that. I like Duke, and he should have been in Cincinnati instead of Logan Ondrusek months ago. But he had no business pitching in that spot. Period.
–More Dusty absurdity. In the bottom of the 14th, with the Reds down one, Ryan Ludwick singled. On comes Billy Hamilton to pinch-run. That was a fine decision by our manager. But then he orders Zack Cozart to bunt!!! After three pitches where Cozart fails to lay down a bunt and waste one of the three precious outs Cincinnati has left, Hamilton steals second. Then Cozart singles up the middle and brings Hamilton home.
Let me make this clear: it is completely moronic to bunt with Billy Hamilton on first. Managerial malpractice, as Joe Sheehan puts it. And then Dusty immediately asks Devin Mesoraco to bunt. That’s just poor managerial strategy, but ol’ Dusty loves him some bunts. Ugh.
–BP collected his 100th RBI, but Dusty had him bunting in the 15th inning.
–And then Dusty bunts again on a suicide squeeze with two outs in the 15th inning because STOP BUNTING, DUSTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(Again, I want to believe that even Dusty isn’t crazy enough to call for a suicide in that spot. So maybe he didn’t. But there’s no question that Dusty has taught his team that bunts are the greatest thing ever invented. He doesn’t escape all responsibility.)
–Tonight’s game was the longest in Great American Ballpark history, but it felt even longer than that.
–Okay, I’m done. If the Reds can win tomorrow, it’ll be 3 of 4, and all will be forgiven.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.