If you are left asking “what if” right now after the Cincinnati Reds 1-0 loss in 13 innings to the Atlanta Braves, take comfort in knowing you are only one of every Reds fan alive with that going on in their head right now.
What if with runners on 1st and 3rd with no outs in the 1st inning the Reds could have found a way to get that run in? They put three straight balls in play, but none of them got the job done.
What if Joey Votto didn’t strike out with Nick Senzel on second base to end the third inning and instead had come through with a hit?
What if Adam Duvall didn’t make a perfect throw in the 6th inning and get Nick Castellanos at third base? That play didn’t end the inning, but it erased a runner at third with what would have been one out instead of a situation with two outs and a runner at first.
What if the double steal, or whatever you want to call it, situation in the top of the 7th inning didn’t happen and have the inning end with Aristides Aquino being tagged out near home plate in a run down? That play would go on to waste Matt Davidson, who was pinch hitting for Curt Casali, and never even got a chance to swing the bat.
What if the Reds came through with the bases loaded in the 11th inning?
What if the Reds came through in the 12th inning after having the first two batters reach, including getting Aristides Aquino to third base? Pinch runner Travis Jankowski would steal second base later to put two runners in scoring position in the inning.
What if in the top of the 13th inning when Joey Votto was on second base he didn’t hold up and ran from the point of contact on a single by Eugenio Suárez and instead of not scoring on the play, he rounded third and went to the plate? Instead he held up to make sure the ball wasn’t caught on a dive at third and have himself get doubled up.
What if following that the Reds came through with a hit with the bases loaded and one out instead of striking out and grounding out to end the inning and strand the bases loaded?
What if the Reds chose to load the bases by intentionally walking Freddie Freeman and put Marcell Ozuna at the plate? The option could have been to keep Archie Bradley in to face Ozuna in a righty-righty match up, setting up a potential force out at home – but also leaving you open to a walk or hit batter to end the game, while also facing arguably the best hitter in the league. Instead the Reds opted to bring in Amir Garrett to set up a lefty-lefty match up against Freddie Freeman – also arguably the best hitter in the league. We’ll never know how the alternate situation would have played out, but neither option was a good one given who you had to face in both.
What if just one of those things happened? There’s a lot of scenarios today where “what if” changes the game for the Reds. Every last one of them, however, didn’t change the outcome. Cincinnati had more than enough opportunities to come through on the day. The pitching staff should be as unhappy as humanly possible with how the game played out. The hitting, the base running, THE HITTING – it all failed, and it failed miserably. In a short series, that one opportune play that works out is huge. Cincinnati had about 10 of those plays on Wednesday afternoon and not a single one of them worked out for them. Thursday could be the final game of the season if the Reds can’t pull out a win. If they want to do that, they better play a game that leaves a lot fewer “what ifs” than the one they played on Wednesday.