When the Reds sent out a Sunday afternoon line-up that featured Wilson Valdez, Miguel Cairo, and Willy Harris, you could tell this was not the same team that’s been doing all the winning lately. That didn’t stop them, though, and the Reds took home the victory, 3-1.
Johnny Cueto took the mound for the Reds, which is always a good sign. He had a little weirdness though. Not only did he walk in the Mets’ only run in the second inning, he also suffered some light-headedness in the top of the third inning after hitting a double to lead off. The trainer got him some meds and he was OK after that. Maybe it was a little lingering flu-like symptoms.
When it was all said and done, he pitched 7.0 innings and allowed 1 run (earned) on 6 hits and a walk. He struck out a record-high 8 batters. Jose Arredondo put in the next .2 innings of work, allowing 0 runs on 1 hit. Sean Marshall got the 1.1 inning save by putting in a hitless performance.
For the offense, Zack Cozart is quietly making himself a Rookie-of-the-Year contender. Yesterday he went 3-for-5 with a run scored. Joey Votto was, of course, even better, going 3-for-4 with a walk. Watching Votto is kind of like watching the space shuttle take off: you know what’s going to happen, but you still can’t tear your eyes away, it seems so unbelievable.
But neither of those guys actually brought in the runs. Yesterday, that job was done by Valdez and Brandon Phillips. Apparently playing center field agrees with Valdez; either that or he’s a super-late bloomer–a sort of offensive sleeper cell. Whatever the case, I’m sure not complaining, since you know Dusty Baker’s personal OCD is that the center-fielder must bat second after the shortstop, no matter how he hits.
The win brings the Reds’ game record to 38-27 and their series record to 13-7-2. Tonight they head into Cleveland to continue the Battle for Ohio with the Indians. Mat Latos (5-2, 4.64 ERA) takes on Derek Lowe (7-4, 3.78 ERA). Whether there are fireworks after the game I don’t know, but there’s bound to be some during. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m.