Cole Hamels celebrates his 5 hit shut out of the Reds (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Well it went down like I said. I predicted that the Reds might win one game but thought that the Phillies just might sweep and the Phillies delivered. Cole Hamels the number three man in a three man playoff rotation for the Phillies dominated the Reds not quite as much as Roy Halladay who pitched the no-hitter against the Reds in game one, but still an absolutely dominating performance. Reds pitchers were also good but were not helped by their defense in the 1st inning when Orlando Cabrera’s errant throw on a routine ground ball pulled first baseman Joey Votto off the bag allowing Placido Polanco to score.
The score would remain 1-0 until the top of the 5th inning when Chase Utley hit a solo home run to center field to make the score 2-0. The play was reviewed by the umpiring crew for possible fan interference but the home run stood as there was no interference. The closet the Reds came to scoring was Brandon Phillips almost hit one in the gap to left center with no outs and a runner on first but was robbed on a brilliant catch by Shane Victorino. They had one more opportunity with 2 outs in the bottom of the 7th Ramon Hernandez doubled and the Reds put Bronson Arroyo into the game as a pinch runner. Arroyo was left stranded when Jay Bruce lined out to right.
Drew Stubbs cannot grab Chase Utley’s 5th Inning home run (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
Hamels remained in the game to get the complete game shutout as the Phillies pitching absolutely dominated the Reds. Phillies starters allowed just 10 hits and just four runs, all of which came in game two against Roy Oswalt. The Phillies hitters were not overpowering getting just 6 earned runs but their defense which had been the best in the National League was abysmal. They had 7 errors, 6 in games two and three which cost them 7 runs, the difference in the series. They should have at least gained a victory in game two but blew it defensively.
The series came down to fundamentals in the field and pitching. Both teams had pitching though the Phillies had the better of the two teams but for a team which had a .988 fielding percentage in the regular season to give up 7 errors in three games was unimaginable. I expected that the Phillies would dominate Reds hitters but I did not see the defensive collapse coming. The Phillies will now wait to see the victor of the Braves and Giants series which might be as early as this evening.
Jay Bruce misses a fly ball in the 7th inning (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
The Cincinnati Reds looked like that they had cracked the code on how to beat the Phillies after having been no-hit by Roy Halladay on Wednesday. Tonight they went up against Roy Oswalt and drove the Phillies veteran out of the game after 5 innings. Combining solo home runs by Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce as well as some “small ball” took a 4-0 lead and looked like they were going to cruise to victory in game two of their NLDS series against the Phillies. Then someone somewhere flipped the self-destruct switch.
Once that happened in the 5th inning the Phillies got on the board with 2 runs. In that inning the with 2 outs and Bronson Arroyo in control the Phillies were aided by back to back errors on Brandon Phillips and Scott Rolen to load the bases giving Chase Utley the chance to drive in 2 runs with a two out single.
The pain continued for the Reds in the 6th inning when Jayson Werth walked to lead off the inning and after Jimmy Rollins popped out Arroyo left being relieved by Arthur Rhodes who struck out Raul Ibanez for the second out. Werth stole second then Rhodes hit Carlos Ruiz in the knee to put runners at first and second. Ben Francisco came in as a pinch hitter and Logan Ondrusek relieved Rhodes. Ondrusek then hit Francisco in the bill of his batting helmet just about an inch from his head in what could have been a tragic play. Instead it loaded the bases to bring up Shane Victorino. Ondrusek then walked Victorino to make the score 4-3.
Jayson Werth Scores (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Things got worse for the Reds in the 7th inning. They brought out rookie fireball pitcher Aroldis Chapman to face Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Chapman hit Utley in the forearm with a 101 mile an hour fastball to put the lead runner aboard. Chapman sent Howard down on strikes. This brought Jayson Werth to the plate; he hit a ground ball that Utley beat out at second to put two aboard. Jimmy Rollins came to the plate and hit a line drive to right field that Jay Bruce who committed an error simply missing the ball to score Utley while Werth scored when Brandon Phillips dropped the relay with Rollins taking . Raul Ibanez singled Rollins to third and Carlos Ruiz hit into a fielder’s choice to score Rollins. Chapman then gave up a single to Mike Sweeney before being relieved by Nick Masset who got Shane Victorino to ground out leaving the Reds behind by a 6-4 score.
The Phillies got an insurance run in the bottom of the 8th when with 1 out Chase Utley singled and stole second. Masset intentionally walked Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth singled to score Utley before Masset retired the side.
The Phillies brought in closer Brad Lidge and after walking the leadoff batter sent the next three batters down in order to secure the victory and get the save. Phillies reliever Jose Contreras got the win while rookie Aroldis Chapman got the loss.
The Reds meltdown which included 4 errors which led to 5 unearned runs and 3 hit batters who all scored.
The Phillies now go to the Great American Ballpark where on Sunday Cole Hamels (12-11 3.06 ERA) will try to get the sweep against Johnny Cueto (12-7 3.64 ERA). The last time Hamels faced the Reds he won the game giving up 6 hits and allowing no runs in 7.2 innings work. Things do not look promising for the Big Red Machine.