Brad's Blog - 09/19/13
We in the media are prone to hyperbole. Still, after what I've seen from Billy Hamilton, I'm not sure I can exaggerate enough. What a difference maker he's been. It's a team game, and the Reds have now won 3 games because of Billy since his call-up on September 1st. He pinch ran for Ryan Ludwick on September 3rd, stole 2nd and scored the 1-0 game winner. He pinch ran for Ludwick on September 7th, stole 2nd and scored in a walk-off against the Dodgers. Last night, he walked, stole 2nd and scored one of two runs knocked in by Jay Bruce in the 13th to sweep the Astros. That win keeps the Reds 2 1/2 games back of the Cards in the race for the Central title, and a half-game back of Pittsburgh for second place. I realize someone has to knock Billy in to win all those games, but the Reds somehow find a way to get Billy in a lot easier than they got anyone else in before he arrived. The 3 wins in a September pennant race is rather significant. That's not hyperbole. He stole four bases Wednesday night. That's the first time any player has done that in his first start in the live-ball era (since 1920). He has stolen 9 bases in 9 plate appearances. He stole 2 bases Wednesday on pitchouts. If you know what someone's going to do before they do it, you would seem to have the advantage. Not so with Billy. If Billy's on, he's going to run-- and so far no pitcher or catcher in the majors has been able to do anything to stop him. You can't call him a secret weapon because there's no secret to him. He's fast. He's too fast for you. Oh, but the way, he got 3 hits in his first 3 at-bats in his first start. He also walked twice. The Reds magic number to make the playoffs is now 5 with 10 games remaining. Advancing in the playoffs may come down to one game. That one game may come down to one run. It may come down to one extra base. Billy Hamilton is THE BEST chance to get one extra base, one extra run, one extra win. Eventually, someone's going to throw Billy out, right? But, this kid changes the game. He changes the players around him on both teams. Speed kills? Speed wins! Billy HAS TO be on the 25 man playoff roster. That's not hyperbole.
HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 18: Billy Hamilton #6 of the Cincinnati Reds steals second base as Jonathan Villar #6 of the Houston Astros misses with the tag at Minute Maid Park on September 18, 2013 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)