2016 has been a painful season for Reds fans. Not only is the team’s record poor, but we’ve felt the loss of Todd Frazier, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake and, just a week ago today, Jay Bruce.
We’ve taken solace wherever we can find it. Until recently, that’s meant individual performances like Votto’s hitting rampage, Billy Hamilton’s stolen bases and Adam Duvall’s home runs. After being worst ever, the Reds pitching staff has come around thanks to promotions and better health. The post-ASG streak of six series wins was also a thrill.
Yes, the hated Tony LaRussa and Chris Carpenter are long gone. I’ve got no particular complaints with Mike Matheny and Stephen Piscotty. But nothing provides me greater visceral enjoyment than watching the Reds beat the St. Louis Cardinals.
When we last saw the Cardinals, our Reds were pounding them 7-0 behind Brandon Finnegan. Heading into the 9th inning tonight, the Reds had shut out the Cardinals for 21 innings.
With two outs in the bottom of the 9th and the Reds holding a 4-run lead, their odds of winning stood at 99.5 percent.
A 4-pitch walk, a hit batter, a single, another single, another walk and a hit batter later and the Cardinals had won.
Tony Cingrani was responsible for most of that. But he’s been reasonably solid for most of this season. Every closer blows saves.
Ross Ohlendorf, on the other hand, is having a terrible season. For a while that was disguised by a luck-aided ERA. He’s a 34-year-old washed-up veteran who has no business being on the Reds roster now, let alone being used in high leverage situations. Yet that’s how Bryan Price continues to use him.
Apparently Michael Lorenzen can’t be used more than one night in a row. He hadn’t pitched on Saturday and only threw one inning yesterday. Keyvius Sampson has been fantastic in the past few weeks and had thrown 20 pitches in the past two weeks.
Yet Bryan Price, still stuck in his habits or “roles” established months ago instinctively used Ross Ohlendorf with the game on the line. Ohlendorf again was an unmitigated disaster.
Ross Ohlendorf should be shown the door and right this moment, it wouldn’t break my heart to see Bryan Price follow him out.
The rest of the game was pretty great, does that count?
Cody Reed put together his best performance for the Reds, an accomplishment all the more impressive on the road in St. Louis. Over 6 innings, Reed gave up four hits and just one walk. He struck out four, throwing 100 pitches.
Blake Wood induced a crucial inning-ending double play in the 7th with Cardinals runners at first and second. Jumbo Diaz had allowed the runners. Wood returned to pitch the 8th. After giving up a leadoff double, Wood induced a weak ground ball and then struck out two St. Louis hitters. It was an impressive performance by Wood.
The good guys jumped into a 3-0 lead on a two-out Zack Cozart double in the 2nd inning, driving in Eugenio Suarez and Tucker Barnhart who had each singled. Joey Votto followed with his first triple of the season, scoring Cozart. The Reds came within a foot of taking a 5-0 lead when Adam Duvall‘s long blast curved just outside the left-field foul pole. The Reds added a fourth run on a double by Brandon Phillips and two ground balls. Duvall had two walks in four plate appearances.
Billy Hamilton stole two bases and now leads the majors in that category with 45. His 88 percent success rate, the same percentage he had last year, is an important part in the value of those SB.
Scott Schebler is 2-22 since his game-winning home run a week ago and has gone 43 plate appearances without a walk. He also spun around like a top misplaying a fly ball on the warning track in the 8th inning.
Robert Stephenson pitched for the Bats tonight. He loaded the bases in the 7th inning without recording an out: 6 IP, 10 hits, 6 ER, 2 BB and just 3 strikeouts. He threw 96 pitches.