This was a WILD one. I had the game on for much of it, and once again the Angels’ magical season rolls on through an improbable event. It was Albert Pujols’ 19th inning home run – the 514th of his illustrious career – that kept this game from running into some Sunday morning church services.
By the end of the game, Pujols had played five innings at his old position third base. Matt Shoemaker had thrown three scoreless innings as the final arm out of the Angels pen.
Of course I dozed off somewhere in the 16th or 17th inning, at 2:30 AM ET, a time when no normal human should still be up to see how a ballgame concludes.
This was one of the better games of the season and an incredible effort by the Angels.
The Angels turned around today and lost 3-1 in the series finale. Their only run coming on Mike Trout’s 26th home run of the season. These teams were dog tired, and today would have been a great under bet with your local book. Of course, we were out baby crib shopping all day; so we didn’t capitalize.
I saw most of it – and I have to give the Angels bullpen credit. The last three pitchers who appeared; Fernando Salas, Cory Rasmus, and Hector Santiago all got out of jams where I said to myself ‘they’re going to blow it right here’. As a whole, the Angels pen threw ten innings of shutout baseball after Jered Weaver left the game.
Mike Trout had three hits and scored the winning run. At almost 3:00 AM EST, I woke up to see good old Efren Navarro hit his seeing eye single back up the box to score Trout from second.
The Angels have some serious magic going this year. On Sirius MLB Network Radio this morning the host – and forgive me for not knowing his name – said if the Angels could just add one more starting pitcher he would pick them to be a World Series team out of the American League. I don’t know about that, but they’ve caught my interest this year.
The guy simply does not get enough run in these parts. His remarkable career is passing us by entirely too quickly, in part because the Pirates are blacked out in Columbus, Ohio by Major League Baseball. We only get to catch a handful of McCutchen games per year; and every time we do he does something that is absolutely one of a kind. Let’s preface the post by saying the Pirates weren’t blacked out tonight.
Mike Trout is the best player in the American League. If you hit the ‘freeze frame’ on the National League, right now it’s McCutchen.
Two innings later in the top of the 11th, the backbreaker. The kill shot. The death knell, and the dagger.
If you’ve watched as much baseball as we have; and lets be modest, if you’ve seen a lot of baseball you knew it was the type of home run that the opposing team just isn’t going to come back from. McCutchen ripped Cincinnati’s heart out and served it to them in their home stadium Saturday night.
McCutchen is the National League MVP again if things continue. He deserves the majority of the vote; even if the Pirates come up short. He’s also got 15 steals in 15 attempts, something no one is talking about enough. McCutchen is close to the perfect player right now; and you’re missing out if you’re not paying attention to the NL’s version of Trout.
Monster bomb by Yasiel Puig off a Jacob Turner hanging breaking ball. It lands in Giancarlo territory, way out over The Clevelander.
Puig might make his gaffes in the field and have a peanut for a brain, but you can’t sit here and tell me he’s not one of the most fun players in the big leagues in the same way that Manny Ramirez was fun. You know you don’t change your channel when he’s about to come to the plate and you definitely don’t leave the room. We’re all about guys like that.
And the bat flip is really a thing. It’s not going anywhere. Griffey had his thing when he homered, you can picture it in your head right now as you read these words. It was kind of ‘pimping’ a homer. Some of the other icons in the game had their thing when they homered (Sammy’s hop, McGwire’s bat toss, Bonds pimp job), why can’t the bat flip be Puig’s thing when he gets into one?
Yasiel Puig hits a walk-off home run against my favorite team to give the Dodgers a 1-0 win in extra innings, and he slides into home plate feet first to the arms of his awaiting teammates. I should hate this guy with every inch of my soul. But I don’t.
Puig is quickly becoming one of my favorite non-Reds players in baseball. He’s a flashy Cuban with a killer instinct that is too dumb to be fearless and too cocky to ever think he’s going to fail. The game is not too big for him. I think he’s going to be one of those few athletes in baseball who makes his arrogance work in his favor.
Here’s that walk-off that just went down at Chavez Ravine:
And there’s this, so you can get a good look at the bat flip. Curtis Partch never knew what hit him.
Manny-esque. This guy was meant to play near Hollywood. The Wild Horse. Indeed.
This was actually my first Opening Day that I haven’t been in the stands in Cincinnati since Joe Randa and Adam Dunn went back to back to walk off the Mets back in 2005. That’s a lot of Opening Days that I strung together. I doubt I ever make it back to that many consecutive Opening Days. I’m satisfied with the streak I put together. I’ve seen some unbelievable openers in the Queen City. From Randa’s walk-off, to Ramon Hernandez’s walk-off grand slam, to last year’s Cueto masterpiece with Bruce’s moonshot to seal it shut.
Here’s some notes from today’s ballgame, which was a long one.
The Reds really didn’t hit all spring long, and they didn’t hit today. Jay Bruce wore a golden sombrero in the middle of the order. Joey Votto went 0 for 4 but at least drew a few walks.
Shin-Soo Choo had two hits and Todd Frazier had one. And that’s all the Reds offense tallied. There weren’t even any hard hit balls.
Of the Angels fearsome three, Mike Trout was the only one with a hit. Trout went 1 for 6, Pujols and Hamilton went 0 for 4.
Chris Iannetta was the hero in this one, hitting a solo home run and doubling in the top of the 13th inning with two outs off J.J. Hoover.
The Angels pen just earned this game, though I would give it to the lack of Reds hitting. After Jered Weaver exited, six Angels relievers combined for seven scoreless innings. Ernesto Frieri was the final one and he earned the save.
I’m not too upset with this game. The Angels are a World Series contender, and the Reds are going to hit at some point. It hurts that they’ll miss Ryan Ludwick for the better part of a month with separated shoulder.
How could I forget Johnny Cueto. I feel like for the last year and a half, if you’ve seen Cueto throw once you’ve seen the same solid, dependable game. I love the effort this guy always brings to the mound with him.
Here’s some running total stats from today’s game, and from my most recent watched game:
Home Runs: 1 (Chris Iannetta 1)
Stolen bases: none
Official time watching baseball: 4 hours, 45 minutes
Times taking the dog out to pee: 2
Chores my wife asked me to do during (unofficial): one half
EDIT: I watched about two innings out of the Rockies Brewers game today, I watched Chris Sale’s entire start on and off, and I watched about five innings out of the Phillies-Braves game today. I’m not going to count it, because my totals aren’t exact. And I’m honestly ready to abandon the 2000-Inning Quest after just a night and a day. It’s too damn tedious. But still I press onward to go where no idiot has ever gone before.
STATS during the 2000-Inning Quest:
Home Runs: 4
Bryce Harper home runs: 2
Stolen bases: NONE
Official time watching baseball: 9 hours, 55 minutes
Times taking the dog out to pee: 6
Chores my wife asked me to do during (unofficial): .5
Innings left to go: 1,969
If I was in Las Vegas last night, I would have bet the Mets. And I would have lost.
I have a sneaking suspicion that the Mets; and not the Atlanta Braves, will be the team that poses the most threat down the stretch to the mighty Nationals. I thought last night was going to be the first chop of the axe. The Nationals showed some amazing resolve after Tyler Clippard gave up a 3-run bomb to some light hitting little infielder named Jordanny Valdespin hit a 3-run shot off Tyler Clippard to give the Mets a 3-2 lead. Things were just getting started.
The Nationals rallied to tie the game at 3-3 and send it to the 10th. The Mets reclaimed the lead again at 4-3. Bryce Harper hit a rocket triple to right field to tie the game. The Nationals won it on a wild pitch. It had all the ingredients of the type of game that teams like the 2012 Nationals get. The bounces go the way they need them to go. A game of inches gets handed to them not once, but twice after they surrender the lead.
I knew Bryce Harper couldn’t get out of town without dialing one long distance in Colorado. He waited until his final at-bat in the four game series to put another notch in his belt. This one tied the game at 10-10 off Rockies closer Rafael Betancourt. The Rockies escaped with an 11-10 victory in 10 innings.
It was almost 100 degrees in Colorado. Factor in the altitude; do you think that everyone was happy to see Harper serve one off the AT&T sign in the back of the Rockies bullpen and silently announce that more baseball was to be played?
This was one of those really weird games where the baseball Gods were just determined to have their way. It seemed like the Mets delivered the death blow in the 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th innings. Instead, the Nationals just kept getting chances and when Harper came up to the plate with the bases juiced and two out in the 12th, you knew high drama was around the corner.
I was hoping to see something like a walk-off grand slam. With the way Mets reliever Elvin Ramirez was throwing, I was pretty certain that the game would end on something anti-climactic like a bases-loaded walk.
Instead there was a happy medium: a nice piece of hitting that resulted in a soft line drive to the opposite field.
The Nats are a team on a mission right now and Harper is providing the electricity. If you watched how the Mets continually let victory slip through their fingers, you start to realize that things like that only happen to teams like the 2012 Nationals who are putting together a special little season here. The win allowed them to stay in sole possession of first place too.
And I’m just wonder what Harper is going to do next. The good news is that at the rate he’s going it’s likely going to happen tonight.
Coincidentally, I ran across the quote that serves as the title of this post and had an epiphany of sorts.
At the same time I found the quote, the Reds were throwing up 5 runs on the Cardinals before the home team could ever record an out in the top of the 1st inning of last night’s game. This came off the heels of two of the flattest performances I can ever remember watching out of a Cincinnati team.
It didn’t end until late into the night, four hours and change after the first pitch had been thrown. It certainly didn’t end how we wanted it to–having to use every pitcher in the bullpen and needing Aroldis Chapman to lock down the save in the bottom of the 13th. But the Reds won. They didn’t quit, they didn’t roll over and they didn’t get swept. And they continue on as the same as they’ve done all season long. Doing just enough to keep us all interested. I’m not sure what “Razor” Ramon Hernandez’s double means to this season or if it’s a turning point. But it was a big hit in a big game that allows the Reds to keep on playing, three games out. Back to .500 we go.
I’ll admit–had the collapse not happened or had they went into St. Louis and taken the series–this post would have been all filled with all the jingoistic praise surrounding the post that Calcaterra wrote. That the Reds are our current day Mickey Mantle’s and they’re making stories that we’re watching every night that we just someday might tell our kids about like our parents talk about The Mick.
I thought last night’s performance was pretty heroic. As mad as I was two nights ago, and on my 4th of July holiday, I came away feeling pretty impressed before the collapse that led to an 8-8 tie between these two rivals.
The Reds served up a turd burger to two things:
1) C.B. Bucknor
You lousy, yellow, good for nothing arrogant asshole of an umpire. I’m not one to complain about umpires. On most nights I don’t even pay attention to who is doing the duty. But this guy is awful in every shape and form.
Bucknor; an asshole, has no semblance of what it’s like to call a good ballgame. He is there to show up ballplayers and make a name for himself which is the opposite of what most decent umpires do intentionally or unintentionally.
Give yourself a hand you jackass.
2) Pujols’ return
Luckily, Pujols garnered only a single in six trips to the plate on this evening and the Reds were able to sneak out of town before he began destroying buildings, pillaging food supplies and generally taking shits on small towns like he usually does against Cincinnati. See above video for footage of Pujols vs. Cincinnati (career).
This game. Oh man what a game. This surely is an instant classic, and it’s a game that Reds fans will never forget. It is a game that went 6 hours and 11 minutes into the night. A position player ended up getting the win; the first time this happened since August 22nd, 2000 (Brent Mayne).
This post should have been about the continued heroics of Jay Bruce, who had two more huge hits in this one. He tied the game at 3-3 with a two run, two-out single off of Roy Halladay and then later homered off of nasty lefty Antonio Bastardo in the 10th inning. Instead, Coco Cordero blew the save and we all watched a 2nd ballgame and then some.
I have so many questions. It was also obvious to me that the Reds were going to lose this game on a couple fronts. It’s like they began to press, swing at a ton of pitches and hurriedly waste at-bats in extra frames. They allowed Danys Baez to shut them down for four innings. By the time Wilson Valdez came around in the top of the 19th, it was a foregone conclusion. But why did Dusty Baker trot out an obviously tired Carlos Fisher in the bottom of the 19th with two guys in the pen that were somewhat fresh in Sam Lecure and Matt Maloney sitting down in the pen? It makes no sense, no matter what the Reds manager will say.
As well–the umpires increasingly screwed the Reds as the game went on. They pushed this game in favor of the Phillies until the bitter end, which ended with me having to listen to MLB radio because Time Warner cable froze (and we were at a friends house).
This was the best game I’ve seen in over a decade, and probably the best I’ve ever seen in my life with all things considered. It was well played, had a ton of dramatic moments, and had everything you want in a ballgame. It’s the kind of game that I can only dream that someday I’ll be present for. The only thing it missed was a nice finish where the Reds scraped out a ‘W’. That would have made it all worth it. It just wasn’t in the cards.
Brian McCann had the big moment yesterday, as Wandy Rodriguez had shut the Braves down for 8 innings. In the 9th inning with two outs, Mcann pinch hit and homered off Astros closer Mark Melancon. This tied the game at 1-1 and sent the game into extra innings.
In the 11th inning, McCann homered again off Jeff Fulchino to give the Braves a 3-1 walkoff victory at Turner Field. This also happened to be a game in which Jason Heyward (1 for 3, two walks) and Chipper Jones (1 for 5) returned from injury. The Braves now head out to Arizona to play a Diamondbacks team that plenty of teams are making hay against. This is a time in which the Braves can really make a move in the NL East.
Early in the season I heard a fair share of Atlanta Braves fans say that they didn’t think that they could catch the Phillies so they were actually rooting for the Phillies if the Phillies’ opponent was anyone that could be considered a threat in the Wild Card race. With the way Philadelphia is having trouble scoring runs, and the fact the surging Braves are just 1 and 1/2 games behind the leaders of the division with Florida sandwiched in between.
I went to last night’s game with my boy from work, T.J. who is a pretty big Cardinals fan. We saw a great game that might be a season-changing win for the Cincinnati Reds. It was the type of game where they just kept coming back, and coming back, and grinding until they reached their final goal. When Joey Votto singled Chris Heisey in to home plate in the 10th inning, the entire team stormed the field and was genuinely pumped. It was a team victory earned that they probably had no business in getting. Teams like the Cardinals–true first place teams–don’t blow leads like the one they let slip away last night.
Kyle Lohse was throwing a pretty good game and the Cardinals were stringing together hits off Bronson Arroyo and Mike Leake. Then for some reason, the Cardinals pulled Lohse maybe an inning or a few hitters too early in favor of Miguel Batista. When they did this, I told my buddy that I thought if the Reds were going to get to one guy in the Cardinals bullpen, it was going to be Batista. I was right.
I have to hand it to the Cincinnati crowd last night. This was the loudest that I’ve ever heard it save for last year’s postseason game against the Philadelphia Phillies. The rally towels were handed out to everyone in attendance before the game, and while it took the Reds about half the game to get the crowd into it, they had a 10th man last night in the form of their home fans. The crowd was great. It was a playoff atmosphere. And despite not being a sell out crowd, they got loud and got behind the Reds and most of the crowd hung around until the conclusion of this one. It wasn’t without it’s big moments to reward them.
Brandon Phillips had a nice ballgame last night. The box score only will show two of his hits and an RBI, but he had good at-bats, made great plays in the field all night and generally was the driving force in the middle of the Reds lineup aside from Votto. You get the feeling that BP just loves these games against the Cardinals. This is truly one of the most fun guys to watch that the Reds have ever had in my lifetime. My love affair with Phillips is at an all-time high right now. I have a feeling he’ll go yard today on FOX Saturday baseball.
Then there’s the MVP Joey Votto. He got his MVP chants. He had great at-bats all night long, grinding against one Cardinals pitcher after another. He doubled off the wall, moved a runner over in a critical spot in the game, and of course had the game winning death blow that he delivered to the Cards in the 10th.
Here’s an advertisement at random that made me want to eat a cheeseburger.
Jay Bruce had a single, a run, and an RBI and just narrowly missed hitting a ball out to left center field. He was being intentionally walked in this at-bat.
This was the first time I’ve gotten to see Eduardo Sanchez live and in the flesh. He was throwing 92-94 MPH and was all over the place. By the time he settled in, he had walked Edgar Renteria and allowed him to score in blowing his first save. The guy has big time talent and I’m glad I got to see him pitch against the Reds. It made the rally even sweeter.