UNSOLICITED OBSERVTIONS from The Man Cave while watching the Cincinnati Bengals whip the Houston Texans — well, it looked that way early in the Cincinnati Reds-Houston Astros runfest in Minute Made Park Saturday night.
IT WAS THE Good, the Bad and ugly Saturday night in Minute Maid Park, where they played for hours, not minutes.
The ugly is easy. The entire game was uglier than a homely pug.
The good? The Cincinnati Reds, despite their worst efforts, beat the Houston Astros, 12-9, scoring the most runs they’ve scored in a game this year.
The bad? Real bad. His name is Mat Latos and his pitching Saturday night was so subpar it gives subpar a bad name.
He was given an 8-2 lead and couldn’t hold it. He couldn’t get out of the fourth inning and left after 3 1/3, giving up seven runs and seven hits and the entire Cincinnati dugout acid indigestion.
Concern? Yes, we have a few — more than a few when one harkens back to the fact the Reds gave up four players for him — a former All-Star pitcher in Edinson Volquez and three top-shelf prospects in Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal and Brad Boxberger.
Can commissioner Bud Selig negate this trade by saying it was not in the best interests of the Cincinnati Reds, LLD.
So far, trading one of those guys for Latos is a mismatch.
AND THERE WAS The Real Good, the savior — Joey Votto. He had four hits, including a two-run homer. He treats Minute Park like his personal playpen. He is 41 for 83 in Minute Maid with six homers and 15 doubles.
The Reds whacked four home runs, the two-run shot by Votto, a three-run blast by Drew Stubbs and solo rips by Todd Frazier and Ryan Ludwick.
The Astros scored seven runs in the fourth inning, turning the 8-2 deficit into a 9-8 Houston lead.
It lasted only until Ludwick came to bat to lead off the fifth when he drilled his home run to tie it, 9-9.
The Reds had two outs and nobody on in the sixth when Votto singled and Brandon Phillips dropped a run-scoring double into shallow right field for a 10-9 lead.
A two-run eighth inning gave the Reds a comfort zone, a two-run bases-loaded single to right by Phillips after the Astros thought they did a wise thing by intentionally walking Votto.
THEY DIDN’T walk Votto Friday night with a runner on second and first base open and he drove home a run that turned a 3-1 lead into 4-1.
The Astros still hadn’t learned that lesson early Saturday. First base was open with a runner on second when Votto came up for the third time and again he singled home a run.
WHEN THE GAME reached the ninth inning and the Reds had a three-run lead, the game was over and they couldput it in the books, because it was Sir Aroldis Chapman time.
On Friday he struck out the side with 12 straight fastballs and the Astros didn’t even foul off a pitch.
He had to work a little harder Saturday, but not much. He again struck out the side, but he issued a two-out walk.
So his earned run average remains at 0.00 after 23 appearances. And he has struck out at least one batter in all 23. The record. Bruce Sutter struck out at least one batter in 39 straight appearances in 1977, but Sutter regularly pitched more than one inning. As a closer, Chapman appears in one inning.
And get this one. Of the last 29 batters he faced, Chapman retired 27 (two walks), the equivalent of a no-hitter.
He defies description.
THE ST. LOUIS Cardials, who were no-hit Friday by Johan Santana, got shut out by the New York Mets Saturday — 18 straight scorless innings for the fast-retreating Cardinals against the Mets.
So the Reds lead in the NL Central is now 3 ½ games and growing faster than weeds in an unmowed yard.Tweet