GAME 93: Back And Forth
Jake Westbrook defied the odds in Cincinnati by holding the Reds close while the offense battled Johnny Cueto, with both offenses coming alive in the late innings. The back and forth battle ended on a two run walk off home run by Brandon Phillips off of Fernando Salas with two outs led to a 6-5 Reds win over the Cards. A tough loss.
BETTERBROOK: Nobody expected anything out of Jake Westbrook tonight. The best hope involved Westy keeping it close and going six innings, and that’s exactly what happened. Westbrook had early troubles, but he corrected himself and held the Reds to two runs through five innings. He wasn’t masterful, but given his recent outings, it could’ve been much worse.
FIRST PITCH SWINGING: How do you only score three runs when you have the bases loaded and nobody out? YOU SWING AT THE FIRST PITCH AND GROUND OUT. That’s what happened in the Cardinals’ sixth inning, when David Freese decided to do what every Little League batter can tell you is a bad idea – he swung at the first pitch and grounded into a fielder’s choice. DUMB. A big inning turned into a decent inning.
CRUZING: Let’s just take a moment to tip our hats to young Tony Cruz, who is rapidly becoming one of my favorite players. He ripped a single to score an important third run in the sixth. How many big hits has this kid already had this year? Quite a few. He’s becoming very important for this team.
BOGGED DOWN: After the Cards took a 3-2 lead, TLR called on Mitchell Boggs to provide a strong inning to hold them. Instead, he came unglued, allowing the Reds to load the bases. Frustrating. What a way to ruin the momentum!!
I HATE TREVER F. MILLER: After Boggs failed, TLR brought in lefty Trever Miller to face Joey Votto with the bases loaded. As we all know, Miller has never retired a batter in this situation (the name on his official birth certificate reads: “Trever Never Records An Out Miller”), so he of course gives up a double to Votto to give the Reds the lead. After it didn’t matter anymore, Miller managed to strike out Jay Bruce. Thanks, Miller!! You’re awesome!!
BRINGING THE (APPLE) SAUCE: Jason Motte came on to relieve Miller’s incompetence, and he induced an incredible double play once more. This is the second or third time Motte has done this recently, and it never fails to take my breath away. It’s a scary but effective way to eliminate a threat.
FULLY HEALED: How about that monstrous two-run homer from Albert Pujols? He crushed a 100 MPH fastball from Aroldis Chapman, depositing it somewhere in the Ohio River. It was one of several call-and-response moments in this game, and one of the most important. Is the big guy back? It is sure starting to feel like it.
WALK OFF: When the Reds got a single with one out in the ninth, a strange feeling swept over me. But Fernando Salas got a strikeout to bring the game to the brink of victory. But then Salas grooved a low fastball, and Brandon Phillips stroked it over the wall for a game-winner. Brutal end to a tough, scrappy game.
CONCLUSION: Either team deserved the win. The Reds played better early, and the Cards were playing better late in the game. However, the Reds had the last laugh of the day. You tip your hat to them and move on.