|Cleveland Indians (57-57)||3||7||0|
|Cincinnati Reds (58-56)
|W: Mat Latos (4-3) L: D. Salazar (4-5)|
|Box Score | Stats | Depth Chart | FanGraphs Win Probability|
Beginning with his three-run blast that knocked paint off the left field foul pole, to the humpback liner he snagged at the top of the next inning, Zack Cozart earned his keep tonight. Zack has taken a beating this season for his drop off in offense, but his defense has risen to another level. Cozart is now the best defensive shortstop in major league baseball with 19 Defensive Runs Saved. Among all fielders, he’s 4th. We’re fixated on offense because the Reds have so little. However, the Reds are where they are tonight in the NL Central race because of pitching and defense, the kind of defense we saw tonight and every night from Cozart. Take a look at these numbers.
Mat Latos gave another workmanlike performance. Since coming back from and injury-plagued season–like so many Reds–he’s had to adjust, to work on the fly while he attempts to get back to the Latos of last season. He’s mixing up his pitches more and relying on deception as he builds up his arm strength.
Kris Negron rose to the occasion tonight. He and Cozart slipped the surly bonds of earth early in them game, giving the club a comfortable early lead they would never look back on, which is especially important when an offense is struggling the way the Reds’ offense is struggling. Negron finished with 3 hits on the night and Brayan Pena added 2 of his own. I’m not one to bash these bench guys. They were never meant to play so many innings as they are having to do this year.
The Hammer of the Todd had two hits tonight.
Jay Bruce Bobblehead Night did nothing for the affable leftfielder tonight. Both he and Billy Hamilton went 0-4.
Not so random thoughts …
The second game in a row that the bullpen has largely gotten a rest thanks to Cueto last night in Cleveland and Latos tonight.
This team is hanging in there. What else could you possibly want? People keep trying to throw dirt on this team, but they keep getting up. I was at the game tonight. I raced to Dixie Chili in Newport to grab some wi-fi and get this recap. So, who is the Knob Creek Player of the Game? Cozart. But, I get an honorable mention, yeah?