Let’s recap today’s titanic struggle….
W: B. Arroyo (14-11)
L: J. Locke (10-7)
–Cincinnati went into Pittsburgh and did what they had to do, winning the series. The good guys are now tied with the Bucs for second place, 2.5 games behind St. Louis. The Cardinals will play later tonight.
–The Reds scored batted around in the first inning, scoring five runs. They never looked back.
–Billy Hamilton got another start, had a double, two singles (one bunt hit, one infield single), two runs scored, and two more stolen bases. He’s now 12 for 12 in SBs. It’s hard to overstate what Hamilton has done for this team in such a short time.
–Jay Bruce drove in four more runs, giving him 106 MVPs, err, I mean, RBIs on the season. Bruce cleared the bases with a double in the first, and added another single later.
–Chris Heisey was 3-5 with a double, three runs scored, and two RBI out of the #2 spot in the lineup. This team looks different with a productive hitter in that spot.
–Joey Votto was 2-4 with a double, a walk, two runs scored, and an RBI. Brandon Phillips was 2-3 with a walk and a sac fly RBI. Zack Cozart was 2-5 with a double and a run scored. Todd Frazier hit a line-drive two-run homer.
–Nice relief work by Alfredo Simon, Manny Parra, and Logan Ondrusek.
–Pittsburgh continued this HBP nonsense, throwing a ball behind Brandon Phillips. The Pirates just need to play baseball. This behavior is asinine. It’s not 1945 anymore.
–No errors defensively today, but there was one hiccup on the basepaths, if you can call it that. Votto was on first with two away in the second inning when Frazier hit a ball sharply up the middle. Votto took a wide angle to second because he thought it would get through and he’d be heading to third. Well, Clint Barmes made a nice play to keep the ball on the infield, then Votto didn’t slide into second. He was forced out, and what could have been an infield single for Frazier was erased.
–A huge win for the Reds, really. This club had to win this series in order to have a shot at the division title or, more realistically, hosting the one-game playoff. They took care of business this weekend. Kudos to the Cincinnati Reds National League Baseball Club.
–That’s 89 wins for the ol’ Redlegs. Think they’ll get 90? I do.
–Bronson Arroyo was under the weather, and he pitched like it. Staked to a big lead, he threw 30+ pitches in the first, and struggled the rest of the day. Just like you’d expect from Bronson, however, he battled, and ultimately made it through five innings, giving up three runs on five hits.
–Arroyo won his 14th game today, if you are into that sort of thing. The last time Cincinnati had three 14-game winners? 1975.
That was a good season, wasn’t it?
–I’m not sure Billy Hamilton could have scripted a better start to his big league career. All that kid has to do is slap the ball on the ground and run. He’s unlike any player I’ve ever seen.
–Reds pitching broke the club’s season record for strikeouts in a season (1,249). That record was set all the way back in 2012.
–The Reds have a magic number, I’m told, but we aren’t really quoting it here. It doesn’t really count unless it’s a magic number to win the division. Clinching a spot in a one-game playoff is a bit different.
–Okay, Reds go into Pittsburgh and win two of three. That’s what they needed to do. Things with the Pirates are all tied up with six games to go, and Pittsburgh has to come to the Queen City next weekend. The Reds have the advantage in hosting that Wild Card playoff, which could be huge.