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August 18, 2012

Game 119: Cubs 3, Reds 7

Cubs (46-71)0102000003112
Reds (72-47)01051000-7101
W: Arroyo (9-7) L: Wood (4-9)


Frazier swinging

And just like that, the Cincinnati Reds are on the verge of another winning streak.

The Reds opened a 4-game series with the Chicago Cubs yesterday, facing their old teammate Travis Wood. The last time they faced Wood, he held them to 1 run over 7 innings. This time, things were different.

The Cubs took the early lead in the second inning, but the Reds tied it in the bottom of the inning when Wood misplayed a ground ball off the bat of Ryan Hanigan. Hanigan was safe at first, and Todd Frazier scored.

Then in the 4th inning, the offense exploded. Ryan Ludwick lead off the inning with his 23rd home run. Wood hit Jay Bruce and then served up a pitch to Frazier that he deposited in the seats in left field for his 16th home run. That gave the Reds a lead they would not relinquish, but they weren’t finished. Bronson Arroyo reached on a double, and was knocked in by Zack Cozart. Drew Stubbs drove in the 5th run of the inning with a triple that scored Cozart.

Arroyo wasn’t at his best in his start, but he kept the team in it and turned in a quality start. In 6 1/3 innings, he allowed 3 runs on 9 hits, 3 walks, and 3 strikeouts. When the bullpen entered, the Reds had a 4-run lead, and Jose Arredondo, Jonathan Broxton, and Aroldis Chapman kept the Cubs off the board the rest of the way.

The Pittsburgh Pirates beat the St. Louis Cardinals, keeping the Reds’ lead at 6 games.

Today, the Reds play a double-header. Johnny Cueto will take on Jeff Samardzija in the first game at 1:10pm EDT. And then in the second game, the Reds’ streak of using only 5 starting pitchers this season will be broken when Todd Redmond is called up to start against Brooks Raley at 7:10pm EDT.

August 12, 2012

Game 115: Reds 3, Cubs 0

Reds (69-46)000021000360
Cubs (44-69)000000000040
W: Cueto (15-6) L: Raley (0-2) S: Chapman (28)


Johnny Cueto won his 15th game Sunday, giving the Cincinnati Reds the series win over the Chicago Cubs and improving the Reds’ winning streak to 3.

Cueto pitched 8 innings of 3-hit, shutout ball. He walked 2 and struck out 3. Aroldis Chapman was brought in for the 9th to close the game out and succeeded in getting his 28th save. He allowed 1 hit and struck out 1.

The game was scoreless until the 5th, with Cubs rookie starter Brooks Raley matching Cueto’s excellent effort. With one out, Todd Frazier singled to left field. Then Jay Bruce stepped to the plate and broke his 0-13 slump with his 22nd home run.

Those two runs were more than the Reds needed with how well Cueto was dealing, but Ryan Ludwick added on another run in the 6th inning. With 2 outs, he homered to left field for his 21st of the season.

The Reds maintained their 4.5 game lead over the Pittsburgh Pirates, who also won. The St. Louis Cardinals lost and are now 7 games back.

The Reds have Monday off. On Tuesday, they start a home stand when the New York Mets come to town. Chris Young is scheduled to start against Mat Latos at 7:10pm EDT.

August 11, 2012

Game 113: Reds 10, Cubs 8

Reds (67-46)02300301110150
Cubs (44-67)1020012208135
W: Bailey (10-7) L: Germano (1-2) S: Chapman (26)


Aroldis Chapman about to throw. Fast

In a game that took 3 hours and 56 minutes to play, a game that saw the Chicago Cubs commit 5 errors and a game with 18 combined runs scored, the Cincinnati Reds won to snap their 5-game losing streak.

It was an ugly game.

Homer Bailey started and ended up going 5 2/3 innings before being pulled. He loaded the bases in the first with no outs–an important harbinger of the day to come–and allowed a run before finishing the inning. Still, the 4 runs on 9 hits and 2 walks that he allowed over that time were somehow enough to get him his career-high 10th win.

The wind at Wrigley Field was doing crazy things to the ball yesterday, which contributed to the high-scoring affair. Ryan Ludwick and Todd Frazier were the offensive heros, with Ludwick going 3-5 with a walk, 4 runs scored, and 2 RBI from the game’s only home run. Frazier drove in 4 and scored a run, and had himself a 3-4 day with a walk.

The real star of the game, though, was Aroldis Chapman. After two consecutive losses due to late leads given up by the bullpen, it looked like it was about to happen again.

Jonathan Broxton started the 8th inning, but was again completely ineffective. He allowed 2 runs and the 3-run lead that the Reds had fought so hard for was in danger of slipping away. A 6th loss in a row would have been hard to swallow. Manager Dusty Baker made the right call, though, and with 2 outs in the 8th, he brought in Chapman for the 4-out, 1-run save.

And Chapman did it. He struck out 3 of the 4 batters he faced, picking up his 26th save. He’s been amazing this year, and I was very happy to see him enter. It’s hard for the wind in Wrigley to do crazy things to the ball when the batters can’t put it in play.

Thanks to losses from both the Pirates and Cardinals, the Reds’ first win in a week increases their lead in the standings by a game. They try to make this winning thing a streak today when Bronson Arroyo takes on former Red Travis Wood at 4:05pm EDT.

August 10, 2012

Game 112: Reds 3, Cubs 5

Reds (66-46)200100000381
Cubs (44-66)10000202-571
W: Camp (3-5) L: Marshall (4-4) S: Marmol (14)


Sometimes, I’m not sure who’s more infuriating. After last night’s loss, Jocketty is edging out Baker.

The Cincinnati Reds continued going off the rails on their losing train last night, losing to the Chicago Cubs. Entering the game, both teams had losing streaks. I didn’t expect the Cubs’ streak to be the one to end. This is the Reds’ 5th consecutive loss, and their longest losing streak of the season.

Mike Leake started for Cincinnati and turned in a quality start: 6 innings and 3 runs. He also allowed 6 hits, walked 2, and struck out 5. The bullpen was ineffective for a second straight night, though, allowing 2 more runs in the 8th.

The Reds took the lead early, with Zack Cozart leading off the game with his 13th home run. Another run scored when a Ryan Ludwick ground out scored Drew Stubbs. The Reds stopped scoring in the 4th after Todd Frazier hit his 14th home run. But it wasn’t enough to get the win.

Winning streaks gloss over weaknesses of a team. It’s unfortunate that the Reds’ last streak coincided with the non-waiver trading deadline. General Manager Walt Jocketty has already shown his preference of inactivity. That combined with the team playing so well hid the black hole of ineptitude that manager Dusty Baker has available to him every game on his bench. Jocketty has given Baker nothing, and it showed last night, when Wilson Valdez batted in the 9th with a runner on and grounded into a double play to kill any chance of a comeback. That’s not the batter you want in that situation, but the Reds had no one better on the bench.

Joey Votto can’t come back soon enough.

The Reds try to stop the bleeding and maintain their 2 1/2 game lead over the Pittsburgh Pirates this afternoon. Homer Bailey will start against former Red Justin Germano at 2:20pm EDT.

May 4, 2012

Game 24: Cubs 3, Reds 4

W: Ondrusek (2-0) L: Dolis (1-2)


The Reds’ offense, after being absent for the first eight innings, finally made an appearance yesterday afternoon. They changed a 3-0 score to a 3-3 score and took the game into the tenth, where they finally won the split in the shortened 2-game series.

It was Homer Bailey on the mound, celebrating his 26th birthday, facing off against Ryan Dempster, who was celebrating his 35th. Bailey put in an Arroyo-like performance, giving up 3 runs (earned) on 9 hits and 1 walk through his 6 innings of service. He also served up three home run balls to various Cubs. The Cubs, as a team, had 9 home runs for the season before coming to Cincinnati this week. That wind blowing in must be a bitch.

Ludwick doesn't quite catch oneJose Arredondo, Aroldis Chapman, Sean Marshall, and Logan Ondrusek each put in a scoreless inning of relief. Marshall gave up a hit and Ondrusek walked a guy, but the pitching continues to not be the problem. Chapman, of course, struck out 2.

On the offensive side, Joey Votto was the only one doing anything for the first couple times through the order. All-in-all, he ended up going 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.

It was a drastically boring game through most of it. I even fell asleep for a while during the fourth inning. But then the ninth inning and Carlos Marmol happened. Willie Harris got thing started (!!) by taking a walk, and Votto followed suit. Brandon Phillips reached on an error that also scored Harris. Score 1-3.

Jay Bruce got the first proper hit of the inning with a single to right, which loaded the bases for Ryan Ludwick, who worked a walk. Score 2-3, thanks, and goodbye Marmol.

The Cubs brought in Rafael Dolis. Dolis got Mesoraco to ground into a double play, which normally would be a great thing, except the Reds had three outs left in the inning and so it turned into a sac double play that allowed Phillips to score. Score 3-3. Dolis also got Wilson Valdez to strike out swinging. Induce a GIDP and a K and get the loss: what a raw deal for Dolis.

In the top of the tenth, Scott Rolen replaced Willie Harris and Zack Cozart took over for Valdez at SS. Remember: both Harris and Valdez batted in the bottom of the ninth. I find Dusty Baker’s decisions so baffling so much of the time.

But the top of the tenth isn’t the point; it’s the bottom that matters. Cozart singled, Chris Heisey laid down the sac bunt, and then Rolen sent the sac fly to right field. Reds win 3-4, and all those folks who left in the 7th to go back to work missed the only interesting part.

The win brings the Reds’ record to 12-12: back to .500. Tonight they visit the Pirates–who have just finished being beaten up on my the Cardinals–at 7:05 p.m. Johnny Cueto takes on Kevin Correia.