Reds display jitters in Game 1 playoff loss

Published 4:58 am Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — 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.

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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 it backfired in a 4-0 loss on Wednesday.

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.

While Halladay is perhaps the best pitcher going in baseball, 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.

Volquez was shaky from the first inning. He allowed a one-out double to Shane Victorino then gave the Flyin’ Hawaiian all of Maui to steal second base. He was ignored at second and turned a walking lead into a steal, then eventually a run.

Volquez allowed four runs in only 4 1-3 innings and labored through 56 pitches

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 stat that counts — but went down meekly against Halladay.

Scott Rolen argued a called strike three in the fifth, only to have fans mock him with a “cry baby” motion with their hands.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel 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 go over their nerves if they want to avoid a similar fate.