Postgame: Reds in good shape

The postgame blog entry is coming to you from Lambert Airport because I had to make a fast getaway from the yard. I have a flight to Denver to catch.

*The bad news is the Reds lost two out of three. Considering the Cardinals starting pitching they faced, that’s not a bad outcome. Getting swept, thumped or both would have been the true debacle.

*The Reds have a seven-game lead in the NL Central over the Cardinals with 26 games left. St. Louis, in the midst of a stretch of 31-straight games to end the year, has the tougher schedule down the stretch and have played terrible lately. Is the division locked up? Not quite, but the Reds are in about as good of position as they could want. Give the Reds credit for not acting like they already playoff-bound.

*Fortunately for Cincinnati, Albert Pujols did not come to life during the series. He’s in a 1-for-23 skid, and was 1-for-10 in the series. He still figured prominently in the decisive moment.

*Homer Bailey intentionally walked Pujols to face Matt Holliday. I have no problem with that move and Baker’s rationale was spot on.

“It’s kind of a situation where you pick your poison,” Baker said. “The longer Albert goes without a hit, the more likely he’s about to get a hit.”

Later after the game, Baker also said this:

“Is he going to remain cold or is he due? And that’s the question. I chose the fact that he was due. We had the same situation here the last time. We chose to pitch to Albert with first base open and got burned.”

Bailey had a shot at Holliday since he had him in a 1-2 count. But Holliday got two foul tips. Then Bailey shook off Ryan Hanigan — twice. Holliday received a 96 mph fastball that tailed back over the plate.

Ballgame. Three-run homer for Holliday. 4-2 win for the Cardinals.

“It’s part of the learning process. You have to trust your catcher to direct you through the ballgame,” Baker said.

*Until the sixth, Bailey was enjoying one of the finest outings I’ve ever seen him have. Very efficient, he had 37 pitches through four innings. He threw a seven-pitch first inning, a six-pitch third and a nine-pitch fourth. He had two hits allowed through his first five innings.

More quotes —

“I wanted it black or off and didn’t get it black or off. I just kind of missed my spot there…
It wasn’t for a strike. It was to get off the plate but it didn’t get off the plate.” — Homer Bailey on the fateful pitch to Holliday.

“We came in and took one and that’s huge for us. You like where we stand. The way we’ve played as of late, even though we came in and lost two of three, I think we’re in a good position. Everybody is feeling good about themselves. It should be an interesting run down the stretch.” — Drew Stubbs

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