July 25, 2012
W: Leake (4-6)
L: Cordero (3-6)
S: Chapman (18)
It was really looking like Mike Leake was going to be taking home a quality, innings-eating start with a hard-luck loss last night. But then in came the cavalry and suddenly he’s got the W in the 4-2 defeat of the Astros.
Leake worked 8.0 innings and allowed just 2 runs (earned) on 7 hits and a walk. That’s not much to give up, but the Reds didn’t manage to muster that many runs until the top of the ninth. Aroldis Chapman pitched an excellent bottom of the ninth: 0 runs, 1 hit, 3 strikeouts. You might even say that Chapman fella is an upgrade over last year’s closer, Fransisco Cordero who, coincidentally, was pitching for the Astros last night in the top of the ninth.
Recent call-up Xavier Paul got the Reds on the board in the sixth by knocking in Brandon Phillips, plus he tacked on the insurance run in the ninth. Paul was 3-for-5 on the night. He’s hitting .375 in his 8 ABs this season.
Drew Stubbs was the big, dramatic hero, though. With one out and Zack Cozart already on first, he hit a home run over the left-field wall to take a 3-2 lead. He went 3-for-4 with a walk, but who’s going to remember anything but that homer?
Also notable: Phillips went 2-for-4 with a walk and a run scored and Jay Bruce drew 3 walks.
The win brings the Reds’ record to 57-40: a beautiful 17 games over .500 if only 2.5 games over the Pirates. They go for the sweep of the Astros tonight in Houston. Homer Bailey (RHP, 9-6, 3.74 ERA) looks pretty good in his matchup against Bud Norris (RHP, 5-8, 5.33 ERA). First pitch at 8:05 p.m.
July 25, 2012
The Astros struck first with a 2-run home run in the fourth inning. The Reds did put a run on the board but they were still trailing going into the ninth. It wasn’t looking good until Drew Stubbs came up with a man on and knocked the ball outta there. There’s always someone being the hero, isn’t there? The Reds ended up beating the Astros in the second game of the series, 4-2
The Reds go for the 3-game sweep tonight at 8:05 p.m. Homer Bailey (RHP, 9-6, 3.74 ERA) takes on Bud Norris (RHP, 5-8, 5.33 ERA). Bailey has been on fire lately, while Norris has been walking people.
It’s Not Goodbye; It’s See You Later
During the game last night, the Astros announced that they had traded Wandy Rodriguez to the Pittsburgh Pirates for left-handed pitcher Rudy Owens, outfielder Robbie Grossman (a particularly valuable piece to give away), and left-handed pitcher Colton Cain. Houston is helping out with Rodriguez’s $13M salary.
It’s sort of a strange move, since the Pirates starters have been pretty solid lately. But Kevin Correia and Jeff Karstens have relief experience and could offer a little insurance against injury and fatigue. Plus, there aren’t that many good bats available right now.
Rodriguez’s next start is scheduled for Saturday when the Pirates will be in Houston playing the Astros. That ought to be dramatic. Meaning, the emotions will be dramatic; the game’s more likely to be a blow-out. Five days after that is the Pirates’ off-day before starting the series in Cincinnati.
What to Say to Sound Smart at the Water Cooler
The Reds are 6-2 since July 16 when Joey Votto left the line-up for arthroscopic knee surgery. At this rate, he’ll have to earn his job back.