These Reds and Yankee hitters were a swing away from being heroes

The Reds shockingly blew a 2-0 series lead where the Giants were on the ropes.
The Yankees almost as shockingly are playing for their lives in a Game Five this afternoon against Baltimore.

Both teams not only were in control but there were several moments where a single swing of the bat could have made an instant legend out of a player and send their team to the LCS.

A walk off home run would have clinched it. In a few cases, a home run would not have been necessary.

The Reds are going to be stewing over a very long winter wondering what could have been.
If the Yankees lose today, they will be tormented by missed opportunity after missed opportunity.

But we here at Sully Baseball don’t just think about things like the players who could have clinched a playoff series with one swing.

We list them in alphabetical order (because some hitters had more than one shot!)

Reds hitters who could have clinched the Division Series with one swing
Game 5 Giants leading 6-4, one out, bottom 9 against Sergio Romo. Runners on first and second. Home run would have clinched the series.
Hit a fly ball to left field.
Game 3 tied 1-1, one out, bottom 9 against Sergio Romo. Bases empty. Home run would have clinched the series.
Hit a deep fly ball to center field that was caught.
Game 3 tied 1-1, nobody out, bottom 9 against Sergio Romo. Bases empty. Home run would have clinched the series.
Hit a deep foul ball that was caught in left field.
Game 5 Giants leading 6-4, two outs, bottom 9 against Sergio Romo. Runners on first and second. Home run would have clinched the series.
Struckout swinging.

Game 3 tied 1-1, two outs, bottom 9 against Sergio Romo. Bases empty. Home run would have clinched the series.
Hit a pop up to the second baseman.
Yankees hitters who could have clinched the Division Series with one swing
Game 4 tied 1-1, two outs, bottom 10 against Darren O’Day. Runner on first. Extra base hit would have clinched the series.
Popped up to shortstop.

Curtis Granderson
Game 4 tied 1-1, one out, bottom 9 against Darren O’Day. Bases empty. Home run would have clinched the series.
Flew out to deep center field.

Game 4 tied 1-1, no outs, bottom 12 against Pedro Strop. Bases empty. Home run would have clinched the series.

Struck out swinging, catcher to first after dropped ball.

Raul Ibanez
Game 4 tied 1-1, two outs, bottom 9 against Darren O’Day. Bases empty. Home run would have clinched the series.
Grounded to first base.

Derek Jeter
Game 4 tied 1-1, no outs, bottom 10 against Darren O’Day. Bases empty. Home run would have clinched the series.
Grounded to third base.

Game 4 tied 1-1, two outs, bottom 12 against Pedro Strop. Bases empty. Home run would have clinched the series.
Groundout to third.

Russell Martin
Game 4 tied 1-1, no outs, bottom 9 against Darren O’Day. Bases empty. Home run would have clinched the series.
Grounded to third base.

Game 4 tied 1-1, two out, bottom 11 against Pedro Strop. Bases empty. Home run would have clinched the series.
Struck out swinging, catcher to first after dropped ball.

Eduardo Nunez

Game 4 tied 1-1, one outs, bottom 12 against Pedro Strop. Bases empty. Home run would have clinched the series.
Groundout to third.

Alex Rodriguez
Game 4 tied 1-1, no outs, bottom 11 against Pedro Strop. Bases empty. Home run would have clinched the series.
Grounded out to shortstop.

Ichiro Suzuki
Game 4 tied 1-1, one out, bottom 10 against Darren O’Day. Bases empty. Home run would have clinched the series.
Grounded out to first base.

Game 4 tied 1-1, two outs, bottom 12 against Pedro Strop. Runner on first. Extra base hit would have clinched the series.
Grounded out to first base.

Nick Swisher
Game 4 tied 1-1, one out, bottom 11 against Pedro Strop. Bases empty. Home run would have clinched the series.
Flyball out to deep left field.

Mark Teixeira
Game 4 tied 1-1, two outs, bottom 10 against Darren O’Day. Bases empty. Home run would have clinched the series.
Walked.

So four Reds hitters went a combined 0-5 in potential series clinching at bats.
Ten Yankee hitters went a combined 1-13 with a walk in potential series clinching at bats.

If the Yankees join the Reds on the golf course, then they will be wondering what could have been if their at bats went a little differently.

If a drive out of the ballpark would have turned them into instant legends instead of post season footnotes.

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I can’t help but feel partially responsible for the brawl tonight

I thought it was fun that Brandon Phillips wants to get the Cardinals’ goat.
Why not put a little electricity into a potential rivalry. I mean have the Cardinals and Reds, two of the oldest franchises in baseball, EVER been considered rivals?
Why not start now?
What I DIDN’T expect is to see an all out brawl in the first inning.
But I guess that’s what a rivalry is like. It’s bad blood. It’s “I want to beat you because I don’t like you.”
I tell you something I found very interesting… not that Brandon Phillips got under the Cardinals skin or that LaRussa and Dusty Baker were at each other (there is no love lost between them.)
It was Scott Rolen going after Chris Carpenter.

Carpenter said something to Dusty that got an f— you from Baker.

And then Rolen, who earlier was trying to be a peacemaker, went right after his former teammate and fellow 2006 World Series winner.
So Rolen, the former Cardinal and current Red, is smack dab in the middle of this rivalry. And to quote Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi… There is no conflict!
They play tomorrow, 9:30 AM Pacific time, and three more times in September.
This could be good folks.

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Beating Cardinals with Cardinals

The first thought I had when I heard the Reds picked up Jim Edmonds from the Brewers was “I wonder why the White Sox didn’t deal for Edmonds when the trade for Adam Dunn fell through.

But next of course I thought of the Cardinals of the 2000s. In the 2004 NLCS, Pujols may have been the Series MVP, but it was Edmonds and Rolen who supplied the dramatic homers.

Edmonds hit the walk off homer in the 12th inning of game 6 to tie the series and Rolen’s 2 run homer off Roger Clemens in the 6th inning of Game 7 gave the Cardinals the lead that they wouldn’t give up.

And in the 2006 World Series, Rolen batted .421 with an OPS of 1.213 and Jim Edmonds got a key go ahead double in the critical Game 3 of the World Series.

Now these huge Cardinals heroes have one duty… take down the Cardinals.

It is an ingenious strategy… get guys who are not intimidated by the Cardinals.

“Am I afraid of the Cardinals recent success? We ARE the Cardinals recent success.”

It will be interesting to see the Cardinal fans reaction. The supposed nicest fans in the game will see some of their own trying to beat them.

If the Reds get Pujols, I’ll be impressed.

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