The Reds flat out stole that win last night from the Braves. In case you haven’t felt the excitement aftershocks radiating through the city, the Reds were behind the entire game and were able to pull out the win with back to back HRs in the bottom of the 9th. The win marked Dusty’s 1600th career victory.
Homer led off the game looking a little wild. With the help of a very well placed hit to lead off the game, (I still think that Xavier Paul should have been calling off Cozart) the Braves came around to score 3 runs. It was deflating to see Homer battle and get it to bases loaded 2 outs with no runs scored only to allow a pair of 2 out hits to plate the 3 runs. But to Homer’s credit, he settled in. His line of 5IP and 4ER wasn’t spectacular, but like Bronson’s outing the night before, his team was in the game.
The offense was slow. But they were adding runs. I can only think of one real opportunity that this offense had to score last night but didn’t. Choo hit a dinger in the 3rd to get on the board. Sure there was a big inning or two that could have been bigger, but they at least plated a run here and there. Jay Bruce struck out with Votto standing at 3rd with 1 out. That one hurt. The run would have brought the lead to 1 run and given the team a better feeling heading into the late innings.
The Reds added a run in the 8th but it could have been a bigger inning. The Braves pen was able to fend off the rally and hold the damage to 1. In the 9th, the Reds faced Craig Kimbrell down 1. After two quick outs (Baker let Corky hit…more on this) to start the 9th, Devin Mesoraco pinch hit for the pitcher. With a full count and 2 outs, he hit a line drive into the seats below the smoke stacks. The crowd who had been on their feet in one of those “I’m supporting the team, yet, stretching to leave” stances was rocking. Choo then stepped up and ended the game with a homer into the Reds’ bullpen.
The first hit of the game was in no mans land. Cozart gave it a try and Paul couldn’t quite get there. STILL, I will take a sliding outfielder over a “Willie Mays” IF any day. Paul should have called him off.
Votto went from looking foolish and overmatched to looking comfortable and ready to hit as the night progressed. He still was guessing pitches wrong, but by the end of the night was putting up quality swings.
Corky hit a laser off the fence in left field. But overall he has struggled. I was very confused as to why Dusty was letting him hit with 2 down in the 9th. Derrick Robinson was available. With his speed and the quality AB’s that we’ve seen out of him lately, why not let him hit for Corky? Shoot, I would have let Mike Leake bat for Corky. It all worked out, but it’s just another “What is Dusty thinking” moment.
Mesoraco was absolutely clutch. BUT remember that it was a full count, 2 outs in the 9th. I would have probably piped a fastball to him also in that situation. Not taking ANYTHING away from the guy, but hold off on these calls of “put Mesoraco in the 2 hole.”
Shin Soo Choo was phenomenal. In the field he made a couple good grabs and at the plate he hit 2 dingers. He continues to be the most consistent spark on this team. What’s not to love there?
So Dusty left Derrick Robinson on the bench last night. Perhaps he was expecting the LONG game in extras where you need that last bench guy. That’s ridiculous, but maybe that is what he was thinking. I was listening to Marc Amazon last night on the long drive home (since I don’t live in the big city). A called (who sounded a little drunk) mentioned Mesoraco in the 2 hole. Which was stupid. But then he mentioned letting Robinson play more. Amazon dismissed the idea like it was not worth considering. Hold on a second Marc. I believe a paraphrase was something to the effect of, “well he isn’t a proven player at all and you just don’t know what you’ll get from him.” So…. With injuries running rampant in our outfield and Xavier Paul being mediocre, you don’t think that now is a good time to find out what this kid can do? Set aside for just a second that I apparently have a serious man crush on Derrick Robinson. He’s hitting .286 in limited action. But he’s a switch hitter. He has wheels. He has a chance to be a legitimate big league outfielder. If I am Dusty Baker, I am sliding this guy in the lineup half the time right now to see what he’s made of. Maybe not in the 2 hole, but get him some more AB’s! Actually, MAYBE in the 2 hole. Why not? Cozart has been there most of the season and he’s basically a slower Drew Subbs with not as much pop. Of course he doesn’t strike out as much… Anyway, the point is with a struggling offense, why not give a guy some AB’s. Who knows? He could be a hidden talent that could really help this team.