I was having a nice, enjoyable evening at the ballpark last night. The beer was cold, the company was good, and the hot dogs weren't as salty as they were over the weekend. (The GABP hot dog has been as inconsistent as the Reds have been this season) Devin Mesoraco had just given the Reds a 1-zip lead, and the good guys were threatening to add another run in the second.
This was one of those plays you could see before it actually happened, kinda like how you'd sense impending death if a toddler wandered out onto the interstate. Brayan Pena is a lot of things, but fast is not one of them. Yet with the ball in Ender Inciarte's hand and his arm ready to throw it as Pena was rounding third, the Reds third base coach decided to be aggressive.
My reaction was a combination of this...
You get the point. The decision to send Brayan Pena from third base with one out on a ball hit right to the center fielder goes down as the single dumbest one of 2014, and that's saying something given both how poorly the Reds have run the bases this season - Mesoraco getting doubled off of second base was a typical Reds TOOTBLAN - and how bad Steve Smith's judgement from the third base coach's box has been this season.
The Reds would go on to play 13 more innings without scoring a run, the offense becoming more frustrating as the night wore on. A few times, it felt like I'd look up at the scoreboard and see a graphic showing an impossible line like "Jay Bruce: 0 for 7, 9 strikeouts."
They had a handful of chances, including one in the bottom of the 11th, when Ramon Santiago led off with a walk. Our group had arguably the most in-depth discussion of the merit of having Billy Hamilton bunt. I sided with him not bunting, Bryan Price had him lay one down. He moved the runner over, yet the Reds still stranded him.
(This is going to sound incredibly weak, but I would've had Billy swing in the hopes of hitting into a force out.)
The longer the game went, the more I started paying attention to and wondering about other stuff, like how close the girl who caught that foul ball in whatever inning it was came to being booted out of the stadium. A New York replay ump held that girl's fate in his hands. Either she was gonna be booed mercilessly and removed from the stadium, or she was going to meet Jim Day.
I watched as a kid LOUDLY protested as his mom told him they were leaving after the 11th inning. This young man will remember this - and resent his mother - for the rest of his life.
And I kept thinking about how crushing losing that game would feel like if they indeed lost it.
Which of course, they did.
Think about it, Bailey gives them eight good innings and they lose. The bullpen gets taxed for seven and they lose. They piss away their few scoring chances and giveaway outs and they lose. The Brewers lose again, and yet so do the Reds. They're now 1-9 since the All Star Break. No one likes to use the term "must-win" but that was as close to one as you can get in July, and the Reds didn't win.
It was just an awful loss during what's been an awful week and a half for the Reds, a team that looks like it's taking it's last collective breaths as a contending team.
I'm not really sure what else to say, or how else to finish this. I'm running out of things to say about a team that's running out of time and is quickly becoming very, very uninteresting.
Thank God for the beer, the hot dogs, and the company.