May 14, 2012

The Daily Brief: Votto’s Walk-Off Grand Slam

Last Game
The Reds salvaged a single game from the series with the Nationals by winning yesterday in walk-off fashion. Since it was a grand slam that put it away, the final score of 6-9 makes it sound like the Reds looked a whole lot better than they really did. Even so, it couldn’t have been a bit more exciting than it was.

Next Game
The Reds (17-16) go to visit the NLE-leading Atlanta Braves (23-13). Didn’t they just face the NLE-leading team? Why, yes they did, but yesterday’s win knocked the Nats a half game behind the Braves, who just swept the Cardinals in a 3-game series. Atlanta scored 23 runs in that series, but at least they allowed 13, so I’m sure the Reds’ notoriously potential-fulfilling offense will get a run or two before it’s over.

Homer Bailey (1-3, 4.93 ERA) takes on Randall Delgado (2-3, 4.54 ERA) at 7:10 p.m.

A Smarter Guy Would Have Intentionally Blown the Save
The National League has a healthy respect for Joey Votto, as evidenced by his league-leading 31 walks. When Votto came up in the bottom of the ninth, the team was down by one with two outs and the bases loaded, setting up the most dramatic situation possible:

  • An out ends the game in a loss.
  • A walk ties it up.
  • A hit at least ties it and probably wins it.

At the time, the Nationals thought they were doing the right thing to pitch to the man, but in retrospect, they should have walked him–take your chances with Phillips, go into extras, and shut it down before Votto comes up again.

I predict that at some point this season, a team will make this very decision: blow the save with a walk rather than give the Most Dangerous Player anything to hit with the game on the line. Hopefully Bruce is batting clean-up by then.

What to Say to Sound Smart at the Water Cooler
The Reds are 10-1 in the last game of a series and 6-0 on Sundays. They are 5-6 in the first game of a series.

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