October 12, 2012
¡Ay, Caramba!, Redlegs!
Ach, what a difference a couple games makes.
Feel a bit discombobulated by the swift and sudden Reds' left turn and subsequent demise. Once up 2-0 in a best of five, soon deadlocked at 2-2, now out. Glad I didn't crow early to old boss Rick, a Giants fan. Lord knows in baseball it's never over till it's over. And worse, ace Cueto is out with a muscle injury. What a difference one pitcher makes but then he's 25% of 50% of the game. (Four starters as a rotation, with pitching representing at least half the game.) Mike Leake got leaky with runs in game 4. If the Reds could've pitched Cueto, Arroyo, Latos and Bailey they'd have won the series. But injuries are part of the game.
Most puzzling to me is why Dusty took Homer Bailey out after seven innings of one-hit ball the other day. The game was screaming "extra innings" so why would you go to the bullpen earlier than you have to? Baker's a very good manager but he contributed to that loss. If you say, "oh but he wanted to pinchhit for Bailey" I say Bailey's a good-hitting pitcher and even if your pinch-hitter is hitting .280, that's only .080 better than Bailey, which means he has less than a 1 in 10 chance of doing better than Bailey would do. Not good math, especially since pitching is the name of the game. Bailey's coming off a no-hitter, why not ride him? Instead we were left with one of the weaker members of the bullpen to start the 10th.
But ultimately no team can lose their ace pitcher and expect to do well in the playoffs. Totally unrealistic, which means you really can't blame the Reds for going "one and done". The marginal difference between playoff teams is small to begin with, so when you lose your best pitcher you're at a big disadvantage. It's almost like you're giving your competitors an extra game lead in every season.
It seemed pretty unlikely from the outset of game five that they'd win given the huge momentum swing of going from 2-0 to 2-2. Theoretically that last game is independent of what has gone before but that's to think of humans as robots or computers. We know what has gone before and it influences us.
So it's almost like it would've been better to have to play game 5 back in SF. Heck, they may as well have played all the games in SF given the results. Fr. Rob Kegron of "The Catholic Guy" radio show was ecstatic, which means there's one degree of separation between me and two Giants fans (once with ex-boss Rick and also with Fr. Rob).
I feel the prophet since I remember saying I didn't trust Latos or Leake in the playoffs. Latos looks the part of a troubled youth. Of course Latos proved me wrong in the first game, pitching four great innings. But to consider him your game five ace just made me miss Cueto. And with Leake I just thought all season he wasn't quite experienced enough.
In the end pitching wins championships and we got only two quality starts out of the five games so really the die was cast there.