“That one was the toughest one so far,” said manager Dusty Baker. “In my managerial career (San Francisco, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati) I’ve had more late losses here than anywhere.”
That one last night really hurt. As soon as the doomed double play ball was thrown away and the winning run scored I just immediately flipped over the channel. Throwing something was what we really felt like doing but after that many innings the energy just wasn’t there.
And when you’ve watched as much of these Reds over the years as I have, you get a feel for what they’re going to do on most nights. Last night was definitely one of those. You just knew that Josh Johnson (who is a legit stud in the making) was going to come out and overpower Reds hitters for as long as he was in the ballgame. But in typical Reds fashion they found a way to prove every doubter wrong and scratch enough across to tie the game and even chased Johnson from the mound in a tie ballgame. At that point, they had you sucked in. If you’re a diehard Reds fan you at that point got very greedy and would be satisfied with nothing less then them stealing a game they had no business winning. But the agony wouldn’t end there.
It would continue almost another full ballgame’s worth. When Danny Ray Herrera entered the ballgame I texted a friend and said “it ends here. Herrera shits his pants in pressure situations.” And he sure did. Immediately he walked Ronnie Paulino, and Hanley Ramirez singled for a 1st and 2nd, no outs situation with red hot Jorge Cantu at the plate. Cantu puts one in play, and for a split second you had the thought that: oh my God, they’re going to get out of it again.
Then Joey Votto double clutches, throws one unsmoothly to a guy barely covering the bag at second and the ball is thrown away for the Marlins to waltz home, winning in 14 innings on an error. It just didn’t seem right, but at the same time it’s something you’ve seen a hundred; maybe a thousand times with your beloved Redlegs. They’re heartbreakers. And this one was even more heartbreaking because we bet a few dollars on a parlay that would have hit a huge payout for us had they just ended up stealing one. Not to mention the Cardinals lost and they missed the rare chance to pick up a full game on the NL Central leading foes.
This team will amaze you sometimes. Brandon Phillips made dazzling play after play to save the ballgame defensively. The pitching was as fine of a group effort as I can remember in recent years in a single ballgame. From Aaron Harang to David Weathers to Jared Burton to even Mike Lincoln, the Reds really pitched well last night. They got big strikeouts and big pressure pitches to keep the game tied and continued.
But in the end this game ended up being a game you will remember for many years because of the heartbreak and not because of the great things. Just as we have so many times before.