Thursday, April 19, 2012
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, watching the Cincinnati Reds finally use their bats for something other than shoulder decorations, then off to a Dayton Dragons game tonight to watch some grass roots baseball (if you see me there, say hello).
If ever the Reds were going to take advantage of somebody, Thursday afternoon was the time because the St. Louis Cardinals sent Adam Wainwright to the mound, he of the 0-2 record and 11-plus earned run average.
And they did just that against the Cardinals pitcher who missed all of last season after Tommy John surgery, recording a 6-3 victory. The Cardinals have lost four games and Wainwright has lost three of them.
FOR THOSE SCREAMING that Brandon Phillips and his sore hamstring should be on the DL or shouldn’t be playing or shouldn’t be batting clean-up, well, without Phillips in the lineup, batting fourth, the Reds don’t win this game.
Phillips, batting clean-up for the second straight day, torched a rally in the fourth inning with a home run and former Cardinal Ryan Ludwick punctuated the inning with a two-run home run.
Phillips, who didn’t have an RBI this season until his home run, added another RBI in the fifth with a two-out single to right field that made it 4-0.
So the Reds avoided a three-game sweep and are 2-5 on the trip, having lost three of four to first-place Washington and two of three to the first-place Cardinals.
Now comes the time when they have an opportunity to get healthy — three straight starting Friday afternoon in Wrigley Field against the last-place Chicago Cubs.
REDS STARTER BRONSON Arroyo showed his appreciation for the run support, pitching as free and easy as his free-flowing hair — for five innings.
Arroyo, who has more junk than Fred Sanford, held the Cardinals to two broken-bat bloop singles for five shutout innings. Then in the sixth, two more flare hits by Rafael Furcal and Jon Jay put two on and one out. Arroyo then hung one of his breaking balls to Matt Holliday, who had one hit in series, and Holliday ripped it into the left field seats for a three-run home run, slicing and dicing the Reds’ lead to 4-3.
Drew Stubbs gave the Reds and Arroyo a bit more breathing space with two outs in the seventh with his first home run, a long fly ball off relief pitcher Victor Marte over the center field wall and a 5-3 Reds lead.
MANAGER DUSTY BAKER permitted Arroyo to bat, leading off that seventh inning, and he trudged back to the mound for the bottom of the seventh.
Baker was rewarded when Arroyo went 1-2-3 with two strikeouts — and he had six strikeouts and no walks through seven innings.
Baker pushed the envelope again in the eighth with Arroyo and Arroyo looked the flap, sealed it, put a stamp on it and pitched another 1-2-3 inning, quickly and efficiently, retiring the last batter on only his 89th pitch of the game. After the home run to Holliday, Arroyo retired the final eight Cardinals he faced.
Joey Votto provided designated closer Sean Marshall with another run in the ninth, a two-out single to right field after singles by Ryan Hanigan and Drew Stubbs (three hits) for a 6-3 lead.
Arroyo turned it over to Marshall in the ninth after eight innings of three-run, five-hit, no-walk, six-strikeout performance.
Marhall gave up a leadoff single to Holliday, then struck out Carlos Beltran, Matt Carpenter and Tony Cruz, temporarily, at least, removing that huge gorilla off the Reds’ shoulders.Tweet