I took in Fox Sports Ohio’s replay of the Reds’ 5-4 win against the Nationals from Sun., June 6 and came away with the following observations:
Why it was particularly appropriate that FSN Ohio aired this particular replay on 2/3/11:
Laynce Nix played a significant role in the win. He didn’t have the go-ahead home run in the 9th or the go-ahead RBI single in the 10th, but Nix would’ve been neck-and-neck with Bronson Arroyo for third in MVP votes for this game. In case you missed it, the Washington Nationals (of course) announced Thursday afternoon that they agreed to terms with Nix on a minor-league contract that includes a Spring Training invitation. Well, as a matter of fact, the Reds probably don’t win this big game on 6/6/10 if not for Nix, who delivered three hits and made a stellar diving catch in left field in the 5th inning. Godspeed, Mr. Nix. When this coming June rolls around and Fred Lewis is hitting .240 with 2 home runs, we’ll think of you. (I’m kidding, Fred Lewis, no disrespect, best of luck and welcome aboard.) As an aside, did you know Nix ended up hitting .291 with 4 homers in 165 at-bats in 2010? Based on his 2009 numbers (.239/15/46), I’d bet anything most Reds fans would take the over in guessing how many homers he had in 2010, and the under in batting average. I digress …
Why this win against the Nats was so important:
Reds ended their 6-game homestand .500 (after they had lost 2 of 3 in St. Louis), instead of 2-4. If they had lost, they would’ve ended up losing the season series to a team that ended up 69-93. And if they had lost, they also would’ve ended up with a losing record in June (for what it’s worth). Instead, September was their only losing month of the regular season. And they survived a Cordero implosion, which is a rarity (there were only 3 other games he “blew” in 2010 that the Reds won).
What I didn’t remember that watching the replay made me remember:
Ohio native and former UD star Craig Stammen allowed just 1 earned run on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings just weeks before being demoted to the bullpen.
Tyler Clippard, who had pitched a scoreless 8th and struck out Nix to start the 9th, was lifted in favor of Matt Capps, which might have made sense against any team OTHER than the Reds. In Washington’s defense, Capps was the NL leader in saves at the time with 18, so Jim Riggleman’s move wasn’t exactly a head-scratcher. BUT Capps had given up runs in 6 of 9 appearances entering Sunday’s game and ENTERED the game (obviously it got much worse DURING this appearance) with a 6.33 ERA in 30 career appearances against the Reds.
Scott Rolen’s exciting 9th-inning pinch-hit home run was preceded by HUGE back-to-back doubles by Drew Stubbs and Jonny Gomes (his of the pinch-hit variety).
One pitch before Rolen’s homer, he checked his swing with two strikes, and many in the crowd disagreed with the result of the appeal to first.
Chris Welsh said, “How ’bout this Reds ball club!” at least three times.
During the bottom of the 9th, Paul Keels (who, by the way, we wish a continued strong recovery from the abdominal surgery he had in last Fall and who we wish no ill-will in mentioning this minor goof-up) referred to former Red Bob Wickman. Former quite a few teams, Voice o’ the Buckeyes, but never a Red.
Mike Morse, who had the quietest .289, 15-homer season (in just 266 at-bats) in recent memory – and, in 2010, had 5 RBIs (on a double and a triple) in just 3 ABs against the Reds – was the one who tied it against Cordero in the bottom of the 9th.
Miguel Batista (who, by the way, has played for even more teams than Bob Wickman) – who had been ejected the night before for hitting Brandon Phillips in retaliation for perceived showmanship – was the one who gave up Stubbs’ go-ahead single in the 10th.
Former Red Adam Dunn, who had struck out three times in four at-bats that day, would have hit in the bottom of the 10th against Nick Masset if he had not been lifted in the 9th for defensive replacement Adam Kennedy. Dunn, in case you were wondering, is hitting .182 with 2 homers and 5 RBIs in 55 career at-bats against the Reds.