LOS ANGELES — The scene was far too familiar for Alex Reyes.
Pitch out of his hand, bat linked upon ball, all he might do was enjoy it cruise well beyond the reach of his colleagues in the outfield. Reyes turned, took a couple of actions towards St. Louis’ dugout and positioned his face into the webbing of his Cardinal-red mitt — mind racing, ideas personal, hardship palpable.
For somebody who’s been through a lot in his profession — on the field looking for his top-prospect pedigree, off the field with injuries and individual challenge — discovering himself because area Wednesday, pitching with his group’s season on the line, is motivating. But that doesn’t assist ease its squashing outcome: A 3-1 walk-off loss to the Dodgers in the National League Wild Card Game.
When Reyes showed up back in the visitors’ clubhouse at Dodger Stadium, soon after his hanging slider was walloped into the left-field seats by Chris Taylor to end the Cardinals’ season, supervisor Mike Shildt offered him a hug. Adam Wainwright, older statesman of the pitching personnel, discovered the young right-hander and did so, too.
“We’re not here without Alex Reyes,” Shildt stated. “We’re just not.”
“We’re not here tonight without Alex Reyes,” Wainwright echoed.
Indeed, they would not have actually been. Reyes was an All-Star after taking the more detailed function in Spring Training, not simply carrying out with quality however setting a Major League record for successive conserves to open a profession.
But Reyes now needs to deal with the truth that the last pitch he included the 2021 season, no matter how far an imbalance it is with the rest of his year, resulted like it did on Wednesday. The Cardinals’ wonderful season ended and the Dodgers’ season-ending emphasize reel will include a clip with him on the mound.
“‘Hey, man, you walk out with your head up. You’ve got a lot to be pleased about with this year,’” Shildt informed Reyes. “Similar message to the club. ‘You’ve got a lot to feel good about and you’ve got a reason to hurt, too. I’m not going to take away the hurt, because the hurt is what motivates you to move forward.’”
The 27-year-old’s memory will need to be quick this offseason. Now completely healthy after 3 prolonged injuries to begin his profession, Reyes will contend for a rotation area next spring. That has actually been the strategy all year, after the Cardinals developed his innings and his arm strength once again.
“He was an All-Star closer the first half of the season, he put us on his back a lot of the time this year,” Wainwright stated. “We all completely believe he’s going to come back strong.”
Wednesday, given, may not have actually been an area appropriate for Reyes. In 2 previous circumstances this year — both coming in the middle of the August has a hard time that resulted in him being gotten rid of from the closer function — Reyes gone into in the ninth with a runner on base. He continued to fall under the very same fate each time: a walk-off 3 run homer in Pittsburgh on Aug. 29 and a walk-off grand slam in Milwaukee 7 days later on.
But Giovanny Gallegos had a nail problem turn up after pitching a scoreless 8th inning, and hence was unable to return for the ninth. Shildt went initially to T.J. McFarland after Dodgers supervisor Dave Roberts sent out up pinch-hitter Gavin Lux, getting Los Angeles to burn him as a bench bat and turn rather to Albert Pujols.
The video game depended upon McFarland’s walk to Cody Bellinger after he had actually retired Pujols and Steven Souza Jr. Shildt — with Dakota Hudson, Jack Flaherty and Génesis Cabrera in the bullpen — relied on Reyes in part due to the fact that of his performance history for most of the season however likewise due to the fact that of his fondness for the strikeout in such a circumstance.
It was not a mess that was entirely Reyes’, despite the fact that a solo crowning achievement would have welcomed a similar outcome. But it is a situation he was thrust into and one he will need to not let roam with him off the mound and into an offseason of asking “What if?”
“Each time he’s been dealt that hand,” Wainwright stated, “he’s come back even stronger.”