Reds overmatched by Halladay
Edinson Volquez looked as if he was making his first postseason
start, and the jittery Cincinnati Reds played as if they hadn’t
been there in a while, either.
Unlike Phillies ace Roy Halladay, Volquez couldn’t sink much
lower. The Reds’ righty fidgeted on the mound, took deep breaths
between pitches and played with his hair and hat like a nervous
schoolboy – when he wasn’t getting hit hard.
Volquez symbolized all that went wrong for the Reds in their
first playoff game since 1995. He was the surprise choice by Dusty
Baker to start Game 1 of the NL division series and the move
backfired in a 4-0 loss on Wednesday.
While Halladay is perhaps the best pitcher going in baseball and
the NL Cy Young Award favorite, the Reds never made adjustments and
let him pump in first-pitch strikes in at-bat after every futile
at-bat during his no-hitter.
”He threw a no-hitter today. I don’t think anything that we did
would have mattered,” first baseman Joey Votto said.
Maybe so – Halladay threw a perfect game this season and won 21
But the NL Central champion Reds inexperience showed.
”So what, it’s only one game,” second baseman Brandon Phillips
said. ”How many teams have bounced back from one game to still win
the series. If you’re going to lose, we should lose the way we did
today. That’s how I look at it.”
Postseason history is against the Reds. In the 60 previous
division series, the team that won Game 1 advanced 43 times (72
They’ll send Bronson Arroyo to the mound for Game 2 on Friday.
Arroyo was the only member of the playoff rotation who had pitched
in the postseason before Wednesday. Catcher Ramon Hernandez, third
baseman Scott Rolen and shortstop Orlando Cabrera are the only
starting position players to get there.
Volquez flopped from the first inning in front of the
third-largest crowd in Citizens Bank Park history. He allowed a
one-out double to Shane Victorino then gave the Flyin’ Hawaiian all
of Maui to steal second base. Victorino was ignored at second,
turned a walking lead into a steal and eventually a run.
Volquez allowed four runs in only 4 1-3 innings and labored
through 56 pitches (24 balls) in an ugly outing. He tugged at his
cap and growing dreadlocks, and catcher Hernandez put his palms
down to try and calm his struggling starter.
Volquez came back from right elbow surgery and went 4-3 with a
4.31 ERA in 12 starts.
He chilled out in the clubhouse like he tossed a shutout.
Volquez rested his clasped hands on his stomach and rocked in his
chair, showing more poise in answering questions than he did on the
”I wanted to pitch like he did tonight,” Volquez said of
He wasn’t alone in having some first-game jitters. Left fielder
Jonny Gomes let Halladay’s blooper fall in front of him in the
first inning, then bobbled the ball for an RBI single
”Edinson’s done a great job for us up to this point,” Gomes
said. ”He couldn’t command his pitches tonight. He was throwing
hard, his velocity was there, his change was there. They just did a
good job of waiting him out.”
The Reds were an unlikely candidate to get no-hit. They led the
NL in batting average, runs, hits, total bases, home runs, RBIs and
slugging percentage – just about every offensive stat that counts –
and had 13 hits against Halladay in his first start against them
The punchless Reds went down meekly this time against
”It was like a situation where you’re almost helpless because
the guy was dealing,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.
Rolen argued a called strike three in the fifth, only to have
fans mock him with a ”cry baby” motion with their hands.
Jay Bruce was the only Red to reach base against Halladay on a
two-out walk in the fifth.
”There’s a little shock factor right now, but we’ll be ready to
go,” Bruce said.
The Reds were no-hit for the first time since Phillies pitcher
Rick Wise threw one June 23, 1971, at Cincinnati.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel had compared the Reds to the
2007 Phillies. That mostly young, inexperienced team led the
Phillies to the playoffs for the first time since 1993. The first
four hitters in Philadelphia’s batting order combined to go 0 for
15 with 12 Ks in a Game 1 loss against Colorado.
They were swept.
The Reds need to get over their nerves if they want to avoid a