Cincinnati Reds 5
Stupid Chicago Cubs 3
WP: Cueto (16-6, 2.44 ERA)
LP: Samardzija (8-11, 4.17 ERA)
S: Chapman (29)
• The Reds won their second game in a row, moving their record to 73-47. They are 26 games above .500 for the first time this season. For a few hours, they’ll be 6.5 games ahead of Pittsburgh and (much more importantly) 8.5 games ahead of the WLB. They trail the Washington Harpers by 1.5 games for the best record in the NL. Their record of 23-9 without JoeyMVP is the best in the major leagues over that time.
• After surrendering a two-run homer in the first inning, Johnny Cueto stated his case for the NL Cy Young Award by throwing seven shutout innings, giving up three hits, no walks and striking out eight stupid Cubs. Cueto is the first NL pitcher to reach 16 wins and has the lowest ERA of any NL pitcher with at least 10 wins.
• Dusty Baker’s use of Xavier Paul‘s left-handed bat in this game proved providential. XP drilled a two-run homer to right field in the second inning to tie the game. Not only is he hitting well (.333/.429/.472) but his walk-rate (14.3%) is outstanding. He has six walks in 42 plate appearances. Compare that to Wilson Valdez and Miguel Cairo, who have combined for 8 walks in 250 PA. XP has been what a bench player should be.
• Super Todd ROY hit his 17th HR and drove in two runs. In 330 PA, Frazier has 17 HR and 53 RBI. For some perspective, in 370 PA, Joey Votto has 14 HR and 52 RBI. Read that again.
• Jay Bruce continued his streak of extra base hits, legging out a rocket blast of a triple to the opposite field. In the last six games, he’s had three doubles, a triple and four home runs.
• None (seriously)
• This game ends the streak of 120 games to start the season using only five starting pitchers. Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey and Mike Leake have been sturdy and for the most part have pitched well. The last time a major league pitching staff accomplished this was the 2003 Seattle Mariners. The Mariners’ pitching coach then was Bryan Price.
• See you in a few hours.
TOP GAME THREAD COMMENTS (afternoon shift)
• redsfanman: Rolen gets off for the first game because he doesn’t play the day game after a night game. Xavier Paul hasn’t shown himself to be an easy out, and he’s probably better defensively than Ryan Ludwick (at least without weird Wrigley Field winds blowing around). Dusty’s lineups of backup players always get questioned but usually the same fans are happy with the results.
• steveschoen: Never carry a left handed bat, much less play a left handed bat, for the sole sake that they are a left handed bat.
• BRM5: Do you think a win today makes Cueto the frontrunner for the Cy Young? He would be the first to 16 wins in the NL. National coverage loves talking about “First to X wins”.
• Jmac84: I’m a big fan of (Super) Todd (ROY) coming up to bat to Sinatra. Just seems fitting.