Despite the Civil War-era reference and the presence of the Pirates, there was no fighting in this final game of the season. Maybe the loss of the Pirates general, Clint Hurdle, before the game neutered their especially pugnacious nature. Or maybe one last game between a fourth and fifth place team just didn’t mean that much to anyone involved.All I know: This season had to end in Pittsburgh. Even though the Reds 2019 will be defined on paper by the lackluster offense and stellar pitching, the thrust of the season has always been the storylines of the Reds playing the Pirates. Derek Dietrich’s heroics in game 1. The beanball wars that followed, culminating in Yasiel Puig’s final act as a Cincinnati Red: Fighting for a team he no longer played for and receiving a standing ovation as a result.The end of baseball season always lends itself to poetry. Maybe it’s the spreading summer heat crisping along the edges into the more reflective fall. Or maybe it’s just that ends are so final, so non-negotiable that poetry feels like the only way to turn the last fleeting moment into an expanse of time.
I know for the last month or so, I’ve been apathetic toward the Reds, engaging with them as nothing more than background noise to the other mechanisms of life. But as the various September call-ups cycle through the batters box, taking one last cut, I can’t help but wish this team, this horribly mediocre team, would just keep playing until the snow started falling and the logistics of finding a white ball in a pile of fluff became impossible.It’s been a long road, but compared to recent years, it was rarely dull. Until the summer starts anew.
|Pittsburgh Pirates (69-93)||1||5||0|
|Cincinnati Reds (75-87)||3||6||0|
|W: Mahle (3-12) L: Williams (7-9) S: Iglesias (1)|
|FanGraphs Win Probability | Statcast| Box Score | Game Thread|
— After a horrid outing last time, Tyler Mahle bounced back in a big way, throwing 5.0 innings of three-hit, shutout baseball. Mahle also struck out five in the effort.
— After an especially quick 1-2-3 inning in the top of the first, Aristides Aquino got the Reds on the board first in the top of the second with his 19th home run. Think about that: 19 home runs since August 1. Aquino added two walks as the game went on, a rash of patience that we haven’t seen from the rookie this September. As we look to 2020, Aquino will be a make-or-break piece of that team and more patience at the plate is encouraging.
— Brian O’Grady extended the Reds lead with a solo shot of his own in the top of the fifth. My internet cut out right before O’Grady hit this one, so I have to assume it was long, majestic, and the best home run anyone has ever seen. Luckily in the intervening ten minutes it took me to walk to the Starbucks up the street, nothing of interest happened.
— Alex Blandino would love to have another crack at 2019 I’m sure. Even if this season is in the rearview for him, Blandino did get a couple more at-bats and took advantage, sending an opposite field solo shot for some Reds insurance.
— Robert Stephenson and Michael Lorenzen finished off the final two innings of this one with scoreless frames. Really, those two and Raisel Iglesias are the only confirmed bullpen arms for next year. The rest of the Reds success may depend on how many other changes are in store.
— With a 2-0 lead and runners at second and third, Kyle Farmer couldn’t quite get the job done to add more. Farmer popped out to first base stranding Eugenio Suarez, who walked, and Josh VanMeter, who doubled.
— In the top of the next inning, Amir Garrett walked a batter who then moved to second on a wild pitch, third on a hit, and home on a sacrifice fly. Repeat after me: Walks will haunt.
— Eugenio Suarez — O Captain, my captain — was not able to hit his 50th home run of the season today. A spectacular run of a 2019 season comes just one dinger short. Here’s to next year, with Geno hitting 50 and the Reds making it to October.
NOT SO RANDOM THOUGHTS
— 75 wins! SevENty-FIvE WinS!!! 7! 5! And guess what?! The No. 12 pick in the draft! Oh, how I love mediocrity.
— Truly, this is such an incredible image. Hang it in The Louvre. Or at least outside The Louvre. Or maybe just have Derek Dietrich drop it into the Allegheny. That works too.
— Getty Images Sport (@GettySport) September 29, 2019
— The Reds made some coaching changes of their own today, most notably parting ways with Billy Hatcher. It’s been weird not having Hatcher in the coach’s box this year as he had been for nearly the entirety of my Reds-watching life. But the moves are for the best and part of the Reds new way forward. Onward 2020.
— Bobby Nightengale (@nightengalejr) September 29, 2019
— Last but not least in NL Central coaching changes: the Cubs dismissed Joe Maddon before today’s game. In a season that started with PECOTA projecting the Cubs to underperform, the Cubs starting the season hot with a lot of performative outrage, and then subsequently underperforming, Maddon’s exit might be the most telling nail. The Cubs of 2016 are no more. What briefly felt like a dynasty now just looks like the start of another 108 years. Cubs gonnna Cub after all.
— COINCIDENCE???? Probably…
If the Reds win today, they will finish with 75 wins in 2019. The last time the Reds were 75-87was 1989. That was the year before they won the World Series.
Why is no one talking about this?
— Steve Mancuso (@spmancuso) September 29, 2019
Playoffs start Tuesday. I’m passively cheering for the Twins I guess? Braves-Twins would be fun. Just please, no more Dodgers in the Series. I beg of you.