The Reds dropped a game to the Mets last night. Mike Leake struggled big time in the beginning and the offense never recovered. For the second straight night, the Reds offense was held to only 2 runs in the 9 innings. (they mustered the game winner in the 10th on Monday)
Mike Leake demonstrated what we saw from Mat Latos last weekend. He looked like he was just a little too amped up for the big start. While I’ve been saying all season that I would like to see a little more emotion from this team, I can say that I would like to see a little less on the mound. This pitching staff has been spectacular all season long and in crucial times like this, they need to stay relaxed and do what they’ve done all season. If Mat Latos is really going to start the first game in the post season, then let’s hope that he will reign it in and focus on being the Mat Latos that we all love.
The safety net for the Reds will be the wild card game. Had they won every game this week and through the weekend, then they would have a chance at tying the Cardinals. But with a Reds loss and another Cardinals win, 3 games is near impossible to overcome with only 4 to go. The same goes for the Pirates sitting 2 back with 4 to go. So it will be the Reds and Pirates squaring off for the wild card game with the winner moving on to face either Atlanta or St Louis. But where will the game be held? That seems to be the only unanswered question.
The Pirates come to town Friday and with the last 3 games of the season, they will face the Reds to determine who hosts the one game that really matters. In a way, this whole thing is ridiculous. These two teams face each other 10 games out of the last 13 in the season and that last one is the only one that truly matters. Consider this: One of these two teams could sweep this weekend and it wouldn’t matter because if they lose the WC game then their season is over. Strange. All three games are going to be viewed as “must win” this weekend, but if I am the skipper of this team, the more important thing here would be winning that last game, not making sure that I host. The Reds have played well in Pittsburgh the last few seasons. That doesn’t scare me to play in Pittsburgh as it would St Louis. So as we enter the final series of the season on Friday, I hope to see this team win, but also set themselves up to win the most important game: the last one.
Who would you throw in the WC game if it were up to you? The answer was tougher if someone asked 2 weeks ago. Or 1 week ago. It wasn’t clear if the Reds would be a part of that game or who their opponent might be. So if someone asked before, it was a stupid question or a waste of your time. But this morning, we can safely assume the most likely scenario. I would like to see Homer Bailey get the ball if the game is in Pittsburgh. He thrives against the Pirates and has no issue pitching on the road. In a playoff atmosphere, I like Homer’s attitude much more than anyone else on the staff. His hard headedness would shut out the pressure and the thousands of screaming fans. It might be a little tough to do it now, but I would save Homer back, throw Reynolds this weekend and let Homer start the only game that matters: the last one.