It was a game I expected the Cincinnati Reds to lose, but then ended up feeling disappointed when they did so.
The Detroit Tigers sent the reigning AL MVP and Cy Young award winner Justin Verlander to the mound last night, and everybody knew it was going to be tough for the Reds to win. Sure Verlander had a personal 3-game losing streak, but he’s about the best pitcher in the majors and no one on the Reds had much, if any, experience against him.
But then the Reds eschewed manager Dusty Baker’s “Swing at everything so the umpire doesn’t have to sort it out” mantra and were making incredible at-bat after incredible at-bat. It’s like everyone paid attention to the plate approaches of Joey Votto and Ryan Hanigan. More often than not, the count was going full, and Verlander was throwing 6 or more pitches per batter.
After 5 innings, the patience had worked. Verlander had thrown 113 pitches and the game was tied at 2-2. Verlander pitched one more inning, leaving the game after 127 pitches, and the game was still tied.
Bronson Arroyo had been far more pitch-efficient and had kept the game close. Over 7 innings, he threw 87 pitches and allowed just 2 runs–both solo home runs–while allowing 5 hits, no walks, and striking out 4. But the bullpen couldn’t keep the potent Tigers’ offense scoreless. Sean Marshall allowed an RBI single to Prince Fielder that scored Detroit’s 3rd run. And the Reds were never able to score against the Tigers’ bullpen.
The Reds tied the game in the 4th, thanks to a 2-RBI single from Todd Frazier. Chris Heisey and Joey Votto–of course–scored on his hit. Votto extended his hitting streak to 15 games.
The Reds played great, and I hope to see more of that patient plate approach in the future. I know they have it in them now.
The win by the Tigers evened the series at 1 game apiece. Homer Bailey tries to win the series for the Reds tonight, while the Tigers counter with Drew Smyly. The first pitch will be at 8:00 pm EDT, and it will be televised on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball.