June 2, 2006

Game 53: Reds 3, Cubs 2

The Reds finally did what they should have been doing all along on Wednesday when they beat the Cubs, 3-2.

Eric Milton took the mound and provided his second consecutive solid start since coming off the DL. This time, though, the team managed not to be shut out so the two runs he allowed (earned) on six hits through seven and two-thirds innings held up for the win.

Todd Coffey took over for the last out in the eighth and the ninth, holding the Cubs hitless for the save. This was the official changing of the guard: Coffey's first appearance as the Reds' closer.

To sum up:
Cubs closer Ryan Dempster: 25 IP, ERA 3.60, 9 saves, 3 blown saves, salary $15.5 million over three years
Reds closer Todd Coffey: 30 IP, ERA 1.20, 2 saves, 0 blown saves, salary league minimum or thereabouts

Just sayin'.

The Reds drew first blood in the sixth inning when Ken Griffey, Jr. led off the inning with a home run. Austin Kearns walked two batters later and Scott Hatteberg singled to send Kearns to third. Edwin Encarnación was hit by a pitch. Jason LaRue grounded out to the pitcher to yield one run from the bases-loaded situation. For a change.

In the seventh, Ryan Freel led off the inning with a triple and Griffey singled him in two batters later to score the Reds' third and final run.

Hardly the offensive clinic you'd like to see the Reds put on, but an adequate effort from the boys behind Milton. Javier Valentín didn't even try to throw out any runners stealing left field this time, so double-bonus there.

The win brings the Reds record to 29-24, still second in the NLC and one of only two teams above .500 in the division. After an off-day Thursday, they try to increase the 2.5 game distance between themselves and the third place Houston Astros. Aaron Harang faces off against Wandy Rodriguez.

1 comment to “Game 53: Reds 3, Cubs 2”

  1. KC2HMZ says:

    That “changing of the guard” stuff isn’t just RHM wisecracking, either. After Milton and Coffey combined to force Cubs fans to put away their brooms, somebody asked Narron if this meant Coffey gets the next opportunity in a save situation.

    “I believe he will,” Narron said. According to the official site, Narron also said, “We’ve been trying to get Coffey in a save situation over the last week or so and haven’t been able to find a way. It was good to give him that opportunity, and he responded well.”

    Here’s a hint, Jerry – Coffey will get more save situations if his teammates can manage to quit playing down to the level of the opposition and get to the ninth inning with a lead…especially against an outfit like the Cubs.

    Cubs’ pitcher Carlos Zambrano really came unglued in that sixth inning. The 1-2 pitch Griffey pulled into the seats in right for the first run of the game leading off the inning may have set the tone. But after Zambrano walked Kearns, he got upset when Hatteberg singled off Todd Walker’s glove. The catcher and pitching coach went out to try and settle him down. Instead of settling down, he plunked EE, then nearly muffed LaRue’s grounder, allowing Kearns to score on the play before he finally threw to first to erase LaRue. And after he fanned Milton to end the inning, he went into the dugout and (not kidding here) smacked a cooler.

    Now, RHM, being a female and thus a basically compassionate creature, wouldn’t have told you that. Not with Derrek Lee still ten days to two weeks away from providing a ray of hope for disillusioned Cubs fans by returning from his injury (his cast came off Wednesday). So, I’ve done the dirty work and given the Cubs another boot while they’re down. But only because after watching Zambrano serve as his own worst enemy in the sixth inning of Wednesday’s game, it’s hard to believe this is the same guy who took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Braves last Friday.

    And that, Reds fans, is it for May. We’ve seen a terrific April, a not-so-terrific May, but the Reds are still within striking distance of the division-leading Cardinals, and they’re still very much in the wild card hunt, too. In fact, if the Phillies’ Gavin Floyd hadn’t had his ass handed to him down in L.A. on Thursday (7 hits, 4 walks, two three-run homers, and 7 runs in four innings), the Reds would have woke up this morning tied with the Dodgers for the lead in the wild card race.

    So, GO REDS!

    John, KC2HMZ