Used to be that the name “Wandy Rodriguez” struck fear into the hearts of Reds everywhere, but lately his starts have been just another game against the worst team around. It was true last night, when the Reds beat the Astros 8-3.
It wasn’t for lack of hits from the Astros, though. In Mat Latos’s 5.0 inning start, he gave up 8 hits and 2 walks, resulting in 2 runs (earned). It took him 95 pitches to get through that many innings, so he probably was on his way out even if he hadn’t rolled his ankle partway through the fifth.
Jose Arredondo took over in the sixth and was the only pitcher for the Reds who didn’t give up a hit. Bill Bray gave up one in his 0.1 innings of work. Sam LeCure gave up one, plus two walks and a run in his 1.0 innings. Sean Marshall gave up one in the remaining 1.2.
Lucky for all of them, the Reds were putting up even more hits, and stringing them together for runs as well. Brandon Phillips, Ryan Ludwick, and Todd Frazier each went 3-for-6 on the night, and Chris Heisey went 2-for-4. Drew Stubbs went 2-for-6, which is pretty good…it just doesn’t look as impressive compared to the others. Even LeCure got on when he was hit by a pitch in the eighth inning.
It was exactly the sort of game you’d expect to see between a rising, first-place team and a bedraggled, last-place team. It was sort of hard to watch, though, both because I felt for the Astros and their fans and also because I remember so vividly what it was like watching games like that when my team was rebuilding.
The win brings the Reds’ record to 56-40. The Pirates lost last night, so the Reds’ lead in the division is extended to 1.5 games. The Cardinals lost last night, too, and are now 6.0 games back. The Reds continue the crusade against the Astros tonight at 8:05 p.m. Mike Leake (RHP, 3-6, 4.25 ERA) goes head-to-head with Lucas Harrell (RHP, 7-7, 4.24 ERA).