UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave as the 2012 Cincinnati Reds continue to win at the pace of The Big Red Machine — minus the offense.
It is like Groundhog Day every day these days for the Cincinnati Reds — and that’s a good thing.
They seem to win every day the same way — not much offense, but superb starting pitching and lock-the-gates bullpen work.
It was that way once again Friday night. Bronson Arroyo furnished the starting pitching, Alfredo Simon and Aroldis Chapan furnished the bullpen work and the Reds put together just enough offense for a 3-0 win over the Colorado Rockies.
SO THE POSITIVE numbers mount: eight straight wins, 19 games over .500, 15 wins in 17 games, a two-game lead over the Pittsburgh Pirates, who absolutely refuse to shrivel up and die.
ARROYO’S NIGHT was significant because Coors Field has been a House of Horrors for him during his career.
He had never won a game in Coors, mostly because he is a breaking ball pitcher and breaking balls just don’t break much in the thin Denver air. But he used mid-80s fastballs and a slew of changeups to befuddle the Rockies.
But on this night, against a good-hitting Rockies team, he pitched 6 2/3 innings, giving up no runs, six hits, no walks and struck out three.
And he knew his limitations. When he put two runners on with two outs in the seventh pitching coach Bryan Price came to the mound. Arroyo had thrown only 85 pitches, but was out of petrol in the thin Denver air and told Price, “Enough.”
SIMON CAME ON to get the last out of the seventh, pitched a scoreless eighth and then Chapman cleaned up with his usual alacrity.
He struck out the first two batters on six pitches, gave up a single, then struck out the last batter for his 20th save.
And the amazing numbers continue. Thirty-four of his last 43 outs are strikeouts. He has 11 straight saves without giving up a run since a blew a save against Minnesota June 24.
Remember when manager Dusty Baker was reluctant to use Chapman in back-to-back games? Well, he has appeared in 10 of the 14 games since the All-Star break and he has been untouchable.
OFFENSE? NOT much of it, but more than enough because of the rare Coors shutout.
The Reds broke a 0-0 tie in the fourth on Ryan Ludwick’s run-scoring double and a sacrifice fly by Todd Frazier. They added the other run in the sixth when Ludwick walked and ended up scoring on back-to-back wild pitches.
Ludwick finished with a double, single, walk and an RBI. Catcher Ryan Hanigan had three hits.
But Ludwick knows where the success is coming from. “If we keep getting pitching like this we are going to be very dangerous.” Armed and dangerous.
And as general manager Walt Jocketty kiddingly said the other day: “Joey who?” Yes, the Reds are 9-2 since Votto went on the disabled list.Tweet