Time for a recap of tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Houston 4
Cincinnati 1
WP: Sampson (2-0)
LP: Cordero (0-1)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Let’s start with Johnny Cueto, who was simply outstanding on the mound. Seven innings, 7 hits, one run, one BB, 5 K. He matched Oswalt pitch-for-pitch. Great stuff.

–Joey Votto is the man, and I will listen to no argument to the contrary. He’s a big winner; he’s so money, and he doesn’t even know it.

–Two more hits for Alex Gonzalez. He’s inching his way toward the Mendoza line.

–How good has Arthur Rhodes been? Another fine outing tonight.

NEGATIVES
–Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: the Reds’ offense is TERRIBLE! Yeah, it was Oswalt, but come on….one stupid run? It’s a crime to waste such a great start by Cueto.

–No no, CoCo.

–He’s my favorite Red, but I haven’t seen a player struggle like Edwin Encarnacion in a long, long time.

ETC.
–Houston has won 10 straight games at Great American Ballpark. That can’t be right, can it? Can it?

–I’m so sick of Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt, I could scream.

–Chris Dickerson bumped heads with Miguel Tejada in a play at second base. It was a fairly hard collision, and Dickerson ended up leaving the game. Hopefully, we’ll hear soon that he’s just fine.

–We’re quick to point out Dusty Baker’s shortcomings, so I want to praise him when he makes a particularly smart move. With the game tied in the top of the 9th inning, Dusty brought Francisco Cordero into the game. It was really important to hold the Astros there, so why not bring in your best reliever? Most managers won’t bring in their closer unless it’s a save situation.

Kudos to Dusty. He didn’t play it “by the book,” and it was the correct move. No, it didn’t work out, but that’s results-based analysis. It was the smart play.

–Laynce Nix hit his fourth double of the season and scored a run. I don’t know what his defense is like, but I’m really starting to wonder whether Nix shouldn’t be starting against all right-handers. I think he comes out pretty well in a comparison with Chris Dickerson, when you look at their minor league numbers. (Again, however, I know very little of Nix’s defensive reputation.)

–Free Adam Rosales! Give him 3-5 starts a week at 2B, 3B, SS, 1B…wherever you can get him into the lineup. He’s not going to be a star, but he can help this team right now.