The beat goes on for Cincinnati professional sports teams and the playoffs, this time after the Reds drop their postseason opener 1-0 to the Atlanta Braves after failing on what seemed like a million opportunities.
A million may be exaggerated just a bit, but the tune of 13 runners left on base in a 13-inning shutout doesn’t sound much better. Seriously, in a playoff game, the Reds really left 13 runners while failing to score a single run. I’ve written about Cincinnati’s misfortunes before, and if the Reds offense plays like that again tomorrow, it looks like I may need to update that old article and add another chapter.
Anyway, it all began in the first inning, both literally and figuratively. Nick Senzel and Nick Castellanos both ripped singles to open the game, leaving runners at first and third (something that later becomes a theme) with nobody out. Then the face of the franchise, Joey Votto hits into a ground ball out which doesn’t score the runner, followed up by a Suarez lineout plus an Aquino strikeout and the Reds don’t score.
To me, even with all the failed attempts later in the game, this spelled the end of the game already. In the first inning no less.
With the last 25 years of the franchise’s history going the way it has, the Reds absolutely had to capitalize in that first inning and go up at least 1-0, if not more. Even after the Votto groundout we were sitting pretty, runners on second and third, one out. Not driving the run(s) in seemed to kill any and all momentum they had. But there would be more chances…
How about later in the top of the third when Nick Senzel was on second base and Joey Votto was up to bat? Strike three. Or, in the top of the seventh when Cincinnati had runners in scoring position again? Nah, Aristides Aquino got thrown out at home after a pickle! Maybe that time in the 11th when the bases were loaded? Moose struck out. OK, but surely they capitalized in the 12th with runners at first and third and no outs, right? Nope, three straight K’s. Wow, but there’s no way another opportunity would’ve been blown in the 13th with the bases loaded again? Wrong.
They. Failed. Yet. Again.
All of this just to waste (yet again) another masterpeice of a start by Trevor Bauer (probably made his last start as a Red, by the way) who went 7.2 innings, allowed no runs and even fanned 12, apparently earning him this honor:
The pitching was fantastic as it has been most the season, but that really doesn’t matter if your stars on offense can’t produce. This will be a very unpopular opinion Reds fans, but possibly the most frustrating part of all this was the disappearance of Joey Votto when we needed him the most, something that’s becoming a part of his brief postseason tenure.
I don’t care if Joey Votto went 2-5 with a walk, his outs were some of the mostly costly outs of the entire game. I already mentioned how he grounded out in the first with Senzel at third and no out. I also already mentioned his strikeout in the third when Senzel was again in scoring position.
What I did not mention was the error he made on a relatively routine ground ball in the second inning. He got lucky though as that never came back to bite him. His base running (as we’ve seen countless times before) is was what came back to bite us.
After he singled to get on in the 13th, he advanced to second on a wild pitch. Then with Suarez up to bat, Suarez blasts a single into left field to former Red Adam Duvall, but for some reason, Joey Votto thought the ball was going to be fielded and retreated back to second base, before taking off to third base where he halted.
It’s easy to play the games of ifs, but if Joey Votto just immediately broke instead of retreating, one would think he would’ve been rounding third and then been safe at home to take the lead. But, he didn’t. Instead Votto hesitated and they didn’t score, causing the Reds to lose a game that they should’ve won already several different times.
But hey, that’s Cincinnati sports for ya.
The Reds have two more chances to take the series, but any Reds fan like me who was born in the 1980s or later know what’s in store, another more-than-likely early playoff exit. Let’s hope I’m wrong, but common sense tells me I won’t be.