Look, the awful Phillies were already pressing their luck. Joey Votto has played in over 1100 major league games and only nine times had he been struck out three times by one pitcher. Jeremy Helickson (!) had accomplished that today.
Joey Votto hadn’t struck out four times in a game since 2009.
He still hasn’t.
The Reds first baseman strode to the plate with bases loaded in a tie game in the bottom of the eighth. We knew what was coming. Seriously, did you have the slightest doubt that Votto was going to get a hit? If the Phillies could have walked Votto without sending the go-ahead run across the plate, they would have done it in a heartbeat.
But the Phillies pitched to Joey Votto. The superstar did what superstars are supposed to do. JoeyMVP drilled a pitch into left field, scoring two go-ahead runs. The largest regular season crowd in GABP history went home happy.
Last night, the Royals and Mets played a rematch of the 2015 World Series. In this series, the Reds and Phillies are engaged in a battle of the two teams that competed last year for the first pick in the 2016 amateur draft. It’s the exact opposite of KC and the NYM.
So yes, it’s the Phillies and it’s only one game. Anyone with a lick of common sense would tell you not to get carried away by this one. I say ignore that advice. Get carried away, Reds fans. Enjoy these wins, each and every one. In fact, there’s an off-day tomorrow, so celebrate for 47 hours!
And blast out this song that Freddie Mercury recorded for these 1-0 occasions.
Hey Raisel 90 pitches was the stated pre-game target for Raisel Iglesias and that’s exactly how many the Cuban right-hander threw over six impressive innings. It wasn’t exactly the 2010 Phillies lineup he was facing, yet all he gave up was a fluke home run to Freddie Galvis. To evaluate Iglesias’ start, here are the two advanced stats you need to know: 7 strikeouts and 0 walks. Remember that Iglesias didn’t start a game in spring training until March 14. More of this, please.
Welcome Back Zack It’s really hard to imagine how long and hard the rehab process was for Zack Cozart. At age 30, he had to return from torn knee ligaments (plural) and tendon. On a severity scale, that’s 10 out of 10. Not only was Cozart in the starting lineup today, he was assigned the leadoff position in the batting order. No problem, as he lined two doubles and a single in his first three at bats. On top of that, he played solid defense at short. Keep this up Zack, and you’ll earn yourself a deadline trade to a contender.
Fateful Eighth With the Reds trailing 2-1, Adam Duvall led off the bottom of the eighth doing something he hadn’t done in 67 at bats in spring training – he took a walk. Tyler Holt, who pinch ran for Duvall, reached third on pinch hitter Scott Schebler’s double that bounced over the head of the Phillies first baseman who was playing in holding on Holt. Billy Hamilton (!) walked to load the bases. Zack Cozart lofted a fly ball deep enough to right field to score Holt from third base to tie the game. After Eugenio Suarez walked, Joey Votto lined his game-winning hit into left center. After Brandon Phillips got hit by a pitch to reload the bases, affable Jay Bruce
bunted lined a two-run single to right center. The score stood at 6-2. Praise the power of walks and line drives.
Defensive Gems Carlos Ruiz led off the ninth inning for the Phillies and hit a dying fly ball down the left field line that looked ticketed for extra bases. But Tyler Holt, who was in the game as a defensive substitute, made an outstanding lay-out catch. Billy Hamilton followed that play up with an equally impressive catch in right center on the next batter. Outfield defense = run prevention.
Solid Bullpen Jumbo Diaz retired all four batters that he faced. Tony Cingrani and Ross Ohlendorf followed Diaz by recording strikeouts to finish the eighth. J.J. Hoover retired the side in the ninth. Altogether, Reds pitchers had 10 strikeouts and only 1 walk. That’s a winning formula.
Small Steps Thirteen years after the publication of Moneyball, Fox Sports Ohio joined most of the rest of the regional sports networks by showing the on-base percentage for every batter as part of the standard player graphic. There’s little doubt, based on this Twitter promise, that broadcaster Chris Welsh was behind this welcome move. Now that our television network values OBP, the next step is to get the front office and manager to do the same. Chris?