Dang, why couldn’t we have faced Jamie Moyer or Joe Blanton or something.
Well, the losing end of the second no-hitter in postseason history isn’t where we wanted to be after Game 1. But it is just one loss and hopefully we can beat Roy Oswalt – who started 23-1 against the Reds but hasn’t won against the Reds since 2008 and was 0-2 against the Reds this season (though you wouldn’t know it by reading this story and, yes, I know, he hasn’t faced us yet as a Phillie) – to earn a split in Philly and come back to Cincinnati tied at a game apiece. Just gotta shake it off; some guys have to go into Game 2 hoping to get some better at-bats than they got and realize they’re facing a different pitcher in Game 2 who (going out on a limb here) isn’t going to no-hit them.
Some (mostly painful) Game 1 observations:
• First, the silver lining. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again … this Travis Wood kid is just cool as a cucumber. Now that’s not to say he wouldn’t have had some nerves going (like Volquez did) if he’d have started the game instead, but he was just mowing them down and keeping the Reds in the game (well, if the Reds had brought their bats).
Wood got out of Volquez’s jam in the 2nd and sat down Ryan Howard on three pitches to start the 3rd. Struck out Jayson Werth twice. 3 1/3 innings, and all he allowed was a two-out double to Raul Ibanez (followed by an intentional walk of Carlos Ruiz). Got a bunch of fly outs (including one that scared me a little) and looked very sharp. Could this guy start Game 5 (back in Philly)? He obviously doesn’t mind pitching there. You may recall he took a perfect game into the 9th in Philly, throwing 9 scoreless innings against the aforementioned Halladay in just his third Major League start on July 10, allowing just one hit and striking out 8 (but failed to get the victory because Halladay also pitched 9 shutout innings). In fact, I was a little annoyed that it wasn’t mentioned (apologies if it was and I was letting the dog out or something) during tonight’s broadcast … something like Wood has now pitched 12 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings at Citizens Bank Park.
Ondrusek did a nice job settling down and getting three outs after he airmailed that throw way over Votto’s head. And he and Bray took care of business in the 7th. STRONG work by all three guys (Wood, Ondrusek and Bray). And don’t think the Phils weren’t trying to tack on a few insurance runs after they chased Volquez.
• Speaking of the TBS broadcast, Brian Anderson did a decent job (though I’m not sure how Werth can have “the key at-bat” in a 3-run inning just by seeing 9 pitches and getting out … I’d say even the walk by Ruiz was a more key at-bat in that inning than Werth’s, let alone the RBI hits that followed), but I can already tell Joe Simpson is going to get on my nerves. Saying the Halladay pitch to Cabrera in the first was strike three (pshhh). And I don’t know why I get so annoyed when people say Scott Rolen got traded for Edwin Encarnacion. (I remember there being two pitchers – Josh Roenicke and Zach Stewart – involved as well.) But I expected Simpson to sound very impressed with the Phillies throughout this series considering he’s much more familiar (as a Braves announcer) with them.
• Volquez’s crucial mistakes: Letting Vic Torino steal that base on him in the first. That was a huge jump he got. Walking Carlos Ruiz in the 2nd with two outs KILLED him too. He kinda regained his composure – after getting behind 3-0 to Rollins just after Ruiz, Valdez and Halladay got on with two outs – but then walked Rollins too before facing Vic Torino. Wheels are off at that point. All with two outs. What a shame.
• That was a great play by Jonny Gomes, though, to keep the ball in front of him on Halladay’s RBI single. Nice effort; if that ball gets past him it’s another run and Halladay advances too (not that that run and Halladay didn’t go on to score shortly thereafter, but on a night like tonight it’s worth applauding every small thing the Reds did right).
• When Volquez was exiting in the 2nd, did anyone else say, “WTF, is it raining??” That was kinda out of nowhere.
• Phils had four of their five hits with 2 outs. Ouch.
• Strike 3 call on Rolen for the first out in the 5th was garbage. But Rolen struck out two other times. It’s gotta be pretty deflating to see a veteran leader like Rolen who is usually a tougher out and doesn’t strike out much (especially for the 20-homerun guy he was this year) whiff in all three at-bats.
• GREAT patience by Bruce (of all people, right?) to become the Reds’ first (and only) baserunner with the walk in the 5th inning. He looked at a couple of very close pitches the Bruce we’ve known would’ve hacked at. (And again, we’re making mention of everything the Reds did right. While we’re at it, we should point out that Rolen, despite striking out in every at-bat, had a pair of nice defensive plays.)
• Stubbs got a great pitch to hit with a 1-1 count in the next at-bat (after Bruce), and he knew it.
• I was kinda surprised Juan Francisco was the pinch-hitter in the 6th instead of Heisey (a righty who hits righties well and has proven himself as a pinch-hitter) or maybe Nix. That being said, Francisco contributed the closest thing to a hit aside from Wood’s liner to Jayson Werth in his only at-bat.
• Cabrera had a nice at-bat leading off the 7th – at least fouling off some pitches – though he may have swung at ball four.
• Gomes and Stubbs didn’t even have a chance against him in the 8th. Stubbs looked particularly bad in his strikeout.
• Miguel Cairo was a good call by Dusty. Cairo is EXACTLY the type of guy you expect to break up a no-hitter. He had 11 at-bats against Halladay, had seen him plenty of times. Right idea, skip.