Entering the day the Cincinnati Reds needed to lose on Sunday against the Chicago Cubs and get some help from several other teams in order to draft #2 overall for the second straight year. I wrote all about it late on Saturday night and how big of a difference there could be for the future of the franchise between one meaningless game to end the 2016 season.
Things didn’t start out well from a draft aspect as the Reds took an early 3-0 lead over the Cubs and they held the lead into the 9th inning. With a 4-3 lead, Bryan Price turned the game over to his best reliever. Raisel Iglesias got the first two batters of the inning out. Then the wheels fell off. A walk was followed by a single, which was followed by a fluke, slap-at-the-ball and it went the opposite way down the line for a double that scored both runners. The next batter homered and it was 7-4 Cubs. Chicago held on for the win.
Atlanta had won earlier in the day, which gave them the same record as the Reds. Cincinnati owns the tie-breaker because their record was worse in the previous season. That left only the Tampa Bay Rays, who entered the day with 67 wins. The outcome of the game by Tampa Bay would leave the Reds drafting either 2nd (Tampa win) or 3rd (Tampa loss).
They, like the Reds, entered the 9th inning with a lead. And like the Reds, they blew it. Unlike the Reds, they didn’t lose the game in the 9th despite the first three batters reaching. They held on for the inning, keeping it tied before it went to extras. In the 10th the Rays got to work and scored twice to jump out to a 6-4 lead against the Texas Rangers. The bottom of the 10th went much smoother than the 9th did and the Tampa Bay held on to win and clinched the #2 spot in the draft for the Cincinnati Reds.
The day could have played out a lot differently. The loss by the Reds and the wins by everyone else will give the Reds nearly 50% more money to spend on the draft in 2017. All for game #162 in a season where the team lost 94 games and the team they were playing locked up home field advantage in the playoffs a week ago.