Sunday's 18 inning nightmare may well prove to be the watershed moment of the 2008 season for the Reds. After winning 6 in a row, then losing four in a row, the Reds needed a win on Sunday to finish their west coast trip a respectable 3-4. A win would have sent them home closer to the Cubs than when they left town. Obviously, losing the game in 18 innings isn't what anyone had in mind, but there were several issues in this game that made the result particularly frustrating.
The first occurred in the 4th inning. The Reds were down 3-1 with the pitcher's spot up and two outs with the bases loaded. Matt Belisle, who is not really a major league quality starter, had already pitched poorly. The Reds had an off day scheduled for Monday. Instead of pulling him for a pinch hitter and using a long reliever, Dusty decided that he didn't really need runs to win and let the pitcher hit. Now, I realize that pinch hitting in the 4th inning is unorthodox, but considering who was on the mound, the subsequent off day, and the relative importance of the game, Baker should never have let Belisle head to the plate. Belisle obviously made the third out of the inning and went on to pitch 1.3 more innings, giving up two more runs before leaving with runners at 2nd and 3rd and 1 out in the 5th. By not lifting Belisle, Dusty not only crapped all over a prime scoring chance, but left in an awful pitcher who was throwing poorly. Granted the Reds had three other chances to win that were squandered by various bullpen pitchers, but this exchange in the 4th doomed the club that day.
Dusty also pulled Dunn in a double switch in the 9th inning. I suppose it was for defensive reasons, but with a one run lead and a closer working his third game in a row, it didn't make a ton of sense. Dunn's spot would come up 3 more times that game. Sure would have been nice to get the team's hottest hitter up.
The only bright spot for the Reds was that Corey Patterson went 0-8. Why might this turn out to be the game that saved the season? Because Corey (I'm the worst player in baseball) Patterson is almost sure to get cut before tonight's game, making way for Jay "They traded Josh "Hambone" Hamilton over me" Bruce to get his call up as an everyday outfielder. Granted, I have a feeling that Sunday's game was the end of the 08 Reds, but if Bruce is what they say he is, it might prove to be a blessing in disguise. Personally, I see no way that in 10 years trading Hamilton instead of Bruce and/or Votto will be viewed positively, but I have no recourse but to hope.
UPDATE: So the Reds designate Hatteberg and NOT Patterson? What does a guy have to do to get cut on this team?
Jr. wants to go to Indy. They need to make him Grand Marshal.
Prisco gets it right for the Colts at least. Nobody is saying AV is bad, but he's not elite anymore.
If you like soccer at all, this is a fun but time consuming list. Thanks to Tim Who Doesn't Read Blogs for the link.