Here’s the recap of tonight’s titanic struggle…
— The Reds picked themselves up after a disastrous road-trip, played solid defense and rallied for scores in the seventh and eighth innings. They now stand at 6-7.
— Bronson Arroyo pitched eight strong innings. Other than a home run to Clark Kent Utley, he kept the Phillies in check. He gave up five hits and no walks while striking out three.
— Brandon Phillips came through with sparkling defense and the game winning hit in the bottom of the eighth. The Phillies had intentionally walked Joey Votto ahead of the Reds’ second baseman, to load the bases. Phillips lined a sharp single to the right side, just past second baseman Freddy Galvis. Phillips also had a key double in the seventh inning.
— Joey Votto had two hits and a walk, raising — raising — his OBP to .556 for the season.
— Pinch hitter Derrick Robinson started the rally in the eighth inning with a swinging bunt down the third base line. He ended up scoring the game winning run.
— Jay Bruce had two hits and a walk in four AB.
— Chris Heisey and Ryan Hanigan went a combined 0-7, lowering their batting averages to .152 and .063 respectively.
— This was an important win, setting up the possibility of an outstanding home stand. Cliff Lee is one of the top three pitchers in the NL and Bronson Arroyo battled him to a draw and the offense came up with two runs in the seventh inning.
— Super Todd Frazier fell victim to what might possibly be the best defensive play of the entire 2013 season. In the second inning, with Jay Bruce on first base, Frazier sent a rocket to the right of Philly center fielder Ben Revere. Revere lept from his feet running backwards and caught the ball at full extension.
— Dusty Baker moved to the top step of the first-base end of the Reds dugout during the bottom halves of the seventh and eighth innings, something I’ve never seen him do before. Not sure why he did that other than just to change things up. Coincidentally, the Reds scored two runs in each of those innings. I hope someone asks him about it.
— I’m not one to shy away from criticizing moves by Dusty Baker, so tonight I thought I’d offer some support on two calls where he may have been questioned. I would not have had Shin-Soo Choo bunt in the bottom of the eighth inning, but the one factor that makes it a reasonable call is that Choo was facing a left-handed pitcher. His career splits are dramatically worse with a lefty on the mound. Regarding leaving Arroyo in the game for the eighth inning, I thought that was a reasonable move, too. The single to lead off the inning was a weak hit (one that I thought Choo should have caught). Otherwise, prior to Utley’s AB, Arroyo had pitched lights out. This was not one of those “wheels coming off” moments. Sure, if Sean Marshall was available, I’d have used him against Utley. Manny Parra? Uh, no way. I suppose there might have been a case for bringing Chapman in to face Utley, but now we’re getting pretty far out of the box.
TOP GAME THREAD COMMENTS
— RedForever: Marty had a good point. As long as Cozart, Heisey and hanigan are not hitting, you essentially have 4 automatic outs. You aren’t going to win many games with 4 automatic outs in your lineup.
— CharlotteNCRedsFan: 7th inning has been a killer during the 5-game losing streak. Surrendered runs in all of them.
— beavertucky: (regarding Baker moving to the other end of the dugout) The game situation dictated that move.
— Hank Aarons Teammate: Votto now has 5 more walks than the Chicago White Sox.