On this night the Cincinnati Reds beat a better ballclub than them. This was the type of game all season that the Reds have found ways to lose. Suddenly, somehow; one realizes how much talent this team really does posess.
Kelvim Escobar must have been shocked to not walk away from this game with the win; he struck out 14 hitters in just 6 innings of work. This is how this Reds team plays and has been what they’ve done for the past few seasons. Get a quality start, strike out a ton, not hit in key situations with 2 outs and runners in scoring position, and wait for that big 3-run homerun. They danced in and out of trouble all night long.
The Reds spotted the Angels a 2-0 early lead on a homerun by Casey Kotchman, whom is an impressive young ballplayer. He reminds me of Sean Casey with a bit more pop. Things looked bleak and then all the sudden Griffey and Dunn reached base with singles off the seemingly unhittable Escobar. One batter later Josh Hamilton had the at-bat of the game, showing what he is made of.
Hamilton worked the count full, fouling off several tough pitches and lining an RBI double that could have scored both runners into the right field corner. Moments later Hamilton (pictured above) slid headfirst into third base avoiding a tag that would have been an inning killer, allowing the Reds to tie the game without giving up an out on a groundball to shortstop by Alex Gonzalez. The Reds tied the game at 2 a piece and from then on looked focused on winning this ballgame. David Ross perfectly executed a squeeze play to score Hamilton and give the Reds a 3-2 lead.
Hamilton would add another hit and Ken Griffey Jr. would add a sacrifice fly that would break a 3-3 tie. David Weathers entered the game to pick up the save, a save in which he would collect more than 3 outs. That is the 6th time this season Weathers has successfully recorded a save in which he came on before the 9th inning. We have a closer in Cincinnati. He’s not dominant but steady and solid. He throws strikes and gets ahead. He makes the big break even pitches and strikes out good hitters. He does everything to be successful that most of the Reds bullpen has failed to do all season long.
When watching this team every night, you just feel like they’re not even close to as bad as they’ve played thus far. They just took a good Indians team to the limit in a 3 game series, and now are a win away from winning a series against a very strong Anaheim ballclub. The road back to respectability will not be an easy one for these Reds, but they are simply a run away from climbing back in the thick of a weak NL Central division. They picked up a game on the Brewers who were busy getting no-hit tonight. Call me hopeless, foolish, whatever you may. There is something about this Reds team that makes me believe they’ve got a run left in them. Even if they ship off some veteran talent, even if they shake up the clubhouse by trading a fixture in Adam Dunn, I don’t think we’ve heard the last of this squad for 2007.