The Real McCoy

Hall of Fame baseball writer Hal McCoy shares his thoughts on the Cincinnati Reds
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McCoy: Game 1 of National League Division Series doesn’t disappoint

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave while watching and waiting for the offensive explosions and fireworks from offensive-minded Colorado and Milwaukee in Game 1 of the National League Division Series. (It didn’t happen).

Another incredible postseason game unfolded in raucous Miller Park. Mike Moustakas drilled a two-out, two-strike line drive single to right field, a walk-off base hit to give the Brewers a 3-2 victory in the 10th inning. Moustakas was 0 for 32 this season with a 0-and-2 count.

Now he is 1 for 33 and the Brewers rescued Game 1 when they almost gave it away.

A pitcher’s duel replaced any slugfest and the Rockies had only one hit in eight innings against four Brewers relief pitchers on a Bullpen Day. Then the Rockies scored two runs in the top of the ninth against Brewers closer Jeremy Jeffress, tying the game, 2-2.
» More on that after some words about the managerial “search” by the Cincinnati Reds, a search that probably involves just looking inside the system at John Farrell.

Joe Girardi, the former New York Yankees manager, indeed has interviewed.

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For the Girardi advocates, it is not time to celebrate, even if the Reds offter him the job. Just because he took an interview doesn’t mean he will take the job, if offered.
In addition to the Reds looking for a manager, there are managerial openings in Toronto, Minnesota, Los Angeles (Anaheim) and Baltimore. It is high probability that Girardi’s name is on every team’s list and he will be on a personal Interview Tour.

Turning down a job is not foreign to Girardi. In June of 2007, after the Baltimore Orioles fired manager Sam Perlozzo (former Reds third base coach), Girardi interviewed for and was offered the position with the Orioles but turned it down. He later accepted the Yankees job.

Former Boston manager Farrell and former Louisville manager David Bell remain 1-2 in The McCoy Rankings and Farrell is the likely choice, and it will happen soon.

While the Reds have interviewed some experienced former big league managers, all have been fired from other jobs. So has Farrell (Boston), but he has been in the Reds organization for a couple of years and knows the system and the players. Somebody coming in from the outside is coming in cold. 

»You see something different in baseball all the time. For example, the top of the first ended with Colorado’s D.J. LeMaheiu thrown out at second trying to steal and the bottom of the first ending with Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun thrown out at home trying to score from second on a wild pitch. Colorado starter Antonio Senzatela threw one wild pitch all season, then threw two in the first inning.

»Is Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich the National League MVP? Of course he is. After winning the NL batting title and hitting 36 home runs during the season, Yelich took his first step toward proving it in the third inning.

After Lorenzo Cain walked, Yelich picked on Senzatela’s first pitch, a tantalizing change-up, and drilled it 413 feet into the left center seats for a two-run home run and a 2-0 Brewers lead.

» Ryan McMahon, pinch-hitting for Rockies starter Antonio Senzatela, drew a one-out walk in the sixth. He tried to steal second with two outs and was called safe. A replay/review revealed he was out, the second time in the game Milwaukee catcher Manny Pina threw out a would-be stealer to end the inning.

Senzatela was workmanlike, giving up only two runs and three hits in five innings, but one of the three hits was the two-run bomb detonated by Yelich.

» Milwaukee’s bullpen game worked perfectly for eight innings for manager Craig Counsell. After Woodruff’s three scoreless, bespectacled Corbin Burnes pitched two scoreless innings, giving up a two-out triple to Carlos Gonzalez in the fifth, Colorado’s one and only lonely hit until the ninth inning.

Burnes, a 23-year-old rookie, was 7-and-0 with a 2.61 ERA in 38 relief innings this season. His two scoreless innings set it up for Milwaukee’s three-headed closer system of Corey Knebel, Josh Hader and Jeremy Jeffress.

Knebel pitched 1 2/3 innings and gave up no runs, no hits and a walk. He was replaced with two out in the seventh by Hader. Hader, 6-and-1 out of the bullpen this year, had 143 strikeouts in 81 1/3 innings, a record number of strikeouts for a left-handed relief pitcher. Hader did was Hader does. He struck out the first three and retired his final hitter on a fly ball, turning a 2-0 lead over to Jeffress in the ninth. And Jeffress couldn’t finish it.

» The Brewers flummoxed an opportunity to put the game in the storage bin in the eighth when they left the bases loaded.

That set it up for Colorado’s incredible comeback in the ninth. The first two batters were pinch-hitters, Gerardo Parra and Matt Holiday and both singled on Jeffress’ first pitches. Charlie Blackmon made it three singles in a row to make it 2-1 and Nolan Arenado hit a sacrifice fly to tie it, 2-2. 

» Yelich opened the ninth against Colorado’s Adam Ottavino on a 3-and-2 pitch after he was down 0-and-2. Yelich took second on a wild pitch.

But Ottavino struck out Ryan Braun and Curtis Granderson hit into a fielder’s choice for the second out. Moustakas foul tipped a 0-and-2 pitch that bounced out of the glove of catcher Tony Wolters that would have been strike three. The next pitch was the game-ender, a rifle crack single to right field.

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