Saturday, August 23, 2014

Game of the Day (8/22/14)

Braves 3, Reds 1 (12). Atlanta's Mike Minor and Cincinnati's Mat Latos have both had trying seasons - Latos due to injury, Minor by virtue of simple ineffectiveness.

Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman both singled in the top of the first, but Emilio Bonifacio grounded into a double play between the two hits, muting their impact. In the top of the second, Andrelton Simmons doubled with two outs, Gerald Laird was intentionally walked, and Minor walked as well to load the bases before Latos retired Heyward to strand all of them. The Braves finally scored in the third when Freeman, Justin Upton, and Chris Johnson singled to load the bases again and Tommy La Stella hit into an RBI force.

While his teammates were mounting regular threats, Minor retired the Reds in order in the first three innings. Latos threw a perfect fourth, and Minor finally allowed a baserunner, walking Todd Frazier in the bottom of the inning. Upton tripled in the top of the fifth, and Kristopher Negron walked and was caught stealing in the bottom half. La Stella and Simmons started the top of the sixth with singles; Latos then sandwiched a pair of popups around Minor's sac bunt to leave both men on. Billy Hamilton walked and stole second in the bottom of the sixth, but his teammates left him there.

Jumbo Diaz relieved Latos and retired the Braves in order in the seventh, and Minor matched that effort in the bottom of the inning. Jonathan Broxton worked around a La Stella walk in the eighth. In the bottom of the eighth, Minor walked Zack Cozart with one out; pinch hitter Chris Heisey's groundout moved Cozart to second, and Hamilton then singled him home with the tying run. It was the first hit Minor had allowed in the game - and it came against the last batter he faced, as Jordan Walden was summoned from the bullpen to close out the inning.

Aroldis Chapman and David Carpenter swapped flawless ninths, sending the game to extras. With two out in the tenth, Johnson singled, stole second, and took third on a wild pitch before being left there. Anthony Varvaro then worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the inning. Sam LeCure allowed a two-out walk in the eleventh and was pulled for Manny Parra, who retired Heyward to end the inning. David Hale threw the bottom of the eleventh for the Braves and allowed a Hamilton single with one out. Hamilton stole second, saw Frazier intentionally walked behind him, and moved to third on a two-out passed ball before Hale retired Devin Mesoraco to leave both runners on.

Atlanta finally struck in the top of the twelfth, when Freeman walked and Upton homered. Craig Kimbrel entered for the resultant save chance and allowed only a two-out Negron walk before finishing off the game.

When the Reds made Billy Hamilton their starting center fielder and leadoff man this year, I imagine they were planning on his being able to generate offense all by himself. He did quite a bit of that in this game, with two hits, three steals, a walk, and a game-tying eighth-inning RBI; his effort added up to a WPA of+.490, a season high in what has been a perfectly solid rookie year.

I doubt, however, that the Reds were hoping to be so reliant on Hamilton's one-man offensive abilities - but that was all they had in this game, as the speedster's two hits were two more than the entire rest of his team managed, combined. It would not be impossible to win a game under those circumstances - but it would be very difficult, and the 2014 Reds are probably not the team to pull it off.

No comments:

Post a Comment