Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….
W: M. Latos (8-3)
L: A. Burnett (4-7)
S: A. Chapman (22)
–Brandon Phillips had another good game, with two hits in four at-bats, with a run scored and yet another RBI, his 78th. Zack Cozart was 2-3 with a double, a run scored, and an RBI, though things weren’t completely rosy for him (see below). Shin-Soo Choo had a couple of hits and scored a run. Choo always has a couple of hits and scores, doesn’t he?
–Joey Votto reached base a couple of times, scored a run, and had two RBI. One of those RBI scored on a walk! But Joey Votto isn’t paid to walk, according to some! How could it have helped the Reds?
–Alfredo Simon struggled, but otherwise, it was another strong performance by the Cincinnati bullpen. JJ Hoover and Logan Ondrusek were perfect, and Sam LeCure and Aroldis Chapman were good enough.
–Cozart made two pretty bad errors. I’ve been saying for a while that I didn’t have any problem with Cozart in the lineup, as long as he batted eighth. Of course, that assumed he continued playing well defensively. Well, tonight wasn’t good. But at least he hit the ball!
–The Reds are unstoppable in the second half, clearly.
–Frankly, this was a terribly-played game, by both teams. Looked like a bunch of little leaguers out there.
–Mat Latos wasn’t sharp. I guess we can blame it on the rain delay, but the Reds spotted Latos a four-run lead and he didn’t take advantage of it. Overall, Latos threw five innings, giving up three runs (though only two of them were earned) on four hits and four walks.
Oh well. He got the win, and the Nation still loves Mat Latos.
–With the Reds up by one run, with two outs and the bases loaded, in the eighth inning, Dusty Baker was forced to make a call to the bullpen. Now, I’m fully willing to concede that Dusty knows more about baseball than I do. I hit .250 in Little League one year*, after all.
But in that situation, the most important moment in the entire game, with the game on the line against a team like the Pirates…wouldn’t you think that’s a good time to use your best reliever?
Well, Dusty used Logan Ondrusek, and Ondru the Giant recorded the final out. It worked. But I can’t help but think that this was a perfect opportunity to use Aroldis Chapman for a four-out save. Maybe I’m crazy.
–Chapman, however, did create a two-on, no-out mess in the top of the ninth. In classic Aroldis fashion, though, he blew a few 100+ mph fastballs by some batters, and this one belongs to the Reds.
–I guess there are reasons Reds fans don’t like Andrew McCutchen, and I understand that. But sheesh, that guy is good. Can you imagine him in center field next to Shin-Shoo Choo in left?
–Choo has gotten a hit in fourteen straight games, the longest such streak in the National League, and the longest of Choo’s career. It’s also the longest hitting streak by a Red this season.
–The Reds are only two games behind the second-place Pirates now, and I’d guess they are hearing footsteps behind them.
–Homer Bailey will go for the sweep tomorrow. Wouldn’t that be a great way to start the second half?
Pirates have lost 4 of their last 5 series. Remember, they have been in first at this point each of the last 2 years. They like to collapse.
— Redleg Nation (@redlegnation) July 21, 2013
I read too much into single games often, but that one felt big. #Reds
— JD Arney (@jdarney) July 21, 2013
By far the most important moment in this game and Dusty is comfortable going with Ondrusek instead of Chapman. Hope it works, but…why?
— Chad Dotson (@dotsonc) July 21, 2013
But for a robbed home run, the Reds would not have lost consecutive games since June 25-28. This team has played well in July.
— Jason Linden (@JasonLinden) July 21, 2013
This is not an effective use of Twitter. RT @Reds: Yes, Cozart leads the NL with 8 sac flies. Is tied for NL lead with 10 sac bunts.
— Aaron Haning (@a_haning) July 20, 2013
I'm confused, does Joey Votto get paid for that walk? #RBI
— ctrent (@ctrent) July 20, 2013
YOU CAN TELL IT'S THE SECOND HALF BECAUSE THE PIRATES ARE TERRIBLE AGAIN.
— NOT BUSTER OLNEY (@TRIPPINGOLNEY) July 20, 2013
*I don’t know if I really hit .250 one year. I wasn’t the best player in the league. That’s the point. Forgive me for not providing accurate stats.
Blame Chad for creating this mess.
Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.
You can email Chad at email@example.com.