The Reds have a chance today to win a series against the Cardinals and move into first place at the same time. Stakes high enough for you?

Okay, this isn’t really a make-or-break game; you don’t really have make-or-break games in May. With a win, however, the Reds would be making the emphatic point that they plan to battle the Cards all year for the NL Central title.

Bronson Arroyo will lead the team in staking their claim to a spot in the pennant race. St. Louis will counter with Brad Penny. I hope there will be a boisterous crowd at Great American Ballpark today, and an even more boisterous crowd in the game thread.

Here’s your game preview. Go Redlegs.

198 Responses

  1. Steve

    Does anyone know who Ramon Hernandez was pointing to in the dugout last night after the game? It was pretty emphatic.

  2. Steve

    Dusty just said on the radio that Cordero is in a pattern of throwing low pitches and the Cardinals had figured that out. He said Cordero is throwing well, but needs to do more to change the eye level of the batters.

  3. LVW

    I got a freaky little stat comp for you Chad, Steve, etal. Today’s matchup is Penny vs Arroyo- in his 13 starts since leaving Boston Penny is 7-4 2.12 ERA; Arroyo in his first 13 starts after leaving Boston 8-2 2.31 ERA.

  4. Steve

    Cabrera-run alert. Bronson has to work out of a jam because of it.

  5. LVW

    All is well though. It took the bat out of Albert’s hands and no harm done.

  6. Steve

    Votto really swings at a lot of first pitches. I read the other day that he swings at a much higher percentage, like over 30%, than any other player for the Reds.

  7. Steve

    Never mind. I looked it up and Votto is swinging at 37% of first pitches, which is really high. But in both 2008 and 2009 his percentage was 38% so I guess it works for him. Hard to complain about him.

    • LVW

      Never mind. I looked it up and Votto is swinging at 37% of first pitches, which is really high. But in both 2008 and 2009 his percentage was 38% so I guess it works for him. Hard to complain about him.

      look at this though- Out of zone swing% Votto:
      2008- 24.7
      2009- 24.5
      2010- 29.0

  8. Kyle

    Votto has struggled in this series, guess it had to happen eventually. Lets hope Rolen can get the run in.

  9. Chad Dotson

    @Steve: That’s really surprising. Votto is an excellent hitter, and has good plate discipline. You would expect tat number to be lower.

  10. Kyle

    Wow, the time machine continues to work for Scott Rolen!

  11. VTNReds

    Yes!!!!! Love the two-out, two-run homer
    from Rolen!

  12. VTNReds

    Let’s see if Gomes can get ahold of one…

  13. pinson343

    ROLEN !!! Do you think he enjoys making Tony LaRussa suffer ?

    And let’s appreciate having a leadoff hitter who occasionally gets on base.

    • VTNReds

      ROLEN !!! Do you think he enjoys making Tony LaRussa suffer ?And let’s appreciate having a leadoff hitter who occasionally gets on base.

      The lineup change seems to be working pretty well so far.

    • Steve

      ROLEN !!! Do you think he enjoys making Tony LaRussa suffer ?

      Absolutely!

  14. pinson343

    Ugh. Stubbs still has some work to do. Looked like he had never seen a curve ball. And last nite he was overmatched by Motte’s fastball.

  15. TheNatural

    @pinson343: Plenty of hitters are going to be overmatched by a 99 mph fastball haha

    • VTNReds

      @pinson343: Plenty of hitters are going to be overmatched by a 99 mph fastball haha

      Yeah, that was some nasty heat from Motte, wasn’t it?

  16. LVW

    Heads up play by Votto- even when he’s not hitting a lot he’s getting it done with the leather.

  17. renbutler

    Looked like a phantom tag by Cabrera, but the takeout slide was dirty and way to the side of the bag.

  18. pinson343

    @VTNReds: True. One of Motte’s fastballs hit 100 mph, according to GameDay.

  19. eastcoast redsfan

    I just heard on the radio that Willy T got DFA’d by Washington.

    • LVW

      I just heard on the radio that Willy T got DFA’d by Washington.

      Not surprising since one of their recent callups hit as many HRs in one game as Taveras has in his last 1124 ABs

      • BigRedMike

        Not surprising since one of their recent callups hit as many HRs in one game as Taveras has in his last 1124 ABs

        The fact that GM’s continue to give players like Taveras opportunities is amazing. He is just a bad player.

        Kearns is having a good season for the Indians up to this point.

  20. Steve

    Forgot to mention in my post about last night’s game that I absolutely LOVED the Reds uniforms yesterday, the throwbacks, including the dark caps with red C. I hope they decide to wear them more, maybe every Saturday night?

    • VTNReds

      Forgot to mention in my post about last night’s game that I absolutely LOVED the Reds uniforms yesterday, the throwbacks, including the dark caps with red C. I hope they decide to wear them more, maybe every Saturday night?

      Yeah, those were really cool. Especially the caps, as you said.

  21. Truman48

    From earlier comments: does it seem like Votto ever does not face a 2 strike count?

    I hope we gets a couple of more runs before Penny settles in.

  22. LVW

    I hope we get 5 in with the lead before the potential storms hit around 3 EDT.

  23. Kyle

    Great baserunning from Phillips there.

  24. LVW

    Key to those bloop hit is the pitcher getting the ball up. It’s not always bad luck.

  25. Steve

    Without looking it up, does anyone here know Tim Lincecum’s middle name?

  26. Barnes

    I’m sure Penny and Duncan will point out that these baseballs have exactly the wrong amount of mud rubbed on them.

  27. Kyle

    Way to get the run in, Gomes. Jay almost screwed that up badly.

  28. Barnes

    Stubbs in the 7 spot is working very well. It ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

  29. LVW

    Anyone noticed that of today’s starting RFers one’s 1st name is Jay and the other’s last name is Jay. Bet that kind of thing doesn’t happen too often.

  30. Jared

    65 pitches and 8 hits through 3 innings of Penny who’s been really good this year. Have a seat.

  31. Kyle

    Man, can’t believe they even pitched to Hanigan. Wish he had made them pay for it.

  32. Kyle

    @LVW: Yeah, odd. I should clarify my earlier comment. Although Bruce’s K didn’t help, I meant John Jay almost screwed up that Gomes line drive badly.

  33. pinson343

    LaRussa likes to show what a genius he is by sometimes not doing the obvious. The obvious thing there was to intentionally walk Hanigan. The strategy worked, but he took an unnecessary risk of the Reds going up by 6-0.

  34. pinson343

    According to GameDay, Jay Bruce struck out on a way inside fast ball. With a runner on 3rd and no outs, he may have been a little overeager.

  35. Truman48

    Kyle: As many pitches as he has already thrown they might have felt forced to throw to him

  36. Kyle

    What an inning from Bronson there. Nice.

  37. pinson343

    Whoa, dominant Arroyo there. Let’s hope he doesn’t have one of his bad innings.

  38. LVW

    Taveras is a 1960s and 70s player stuck in the 2000s

  39. CeeKeR

    Phillips is having a good game so far too. I really like him in the 2-spot rather than cleanup.

  40. mike

    as I sit here eating breakfast watching the game I had one simple thought
    win or lose this game I still think the last 3-6 games are the best I’ve seen the Reds play in nearly 10 years

    I keep trying to think back over the last 10 year, when the team has been awful and I just don’t remember them playing this good. Every starter keeping you in the game, bullpen being lights out (as a whole, Coco has looked shaky lately) and hitting!
    I think the only weakness over the last couple games has been defense. I swear the entire left side is playing in quicksand. Rolen, Cabrera and Gomes are lucky if they get more than 1 step on the ball…but that’s not what this post is about….I wanted it to be positive.

    they are playing good ball right now.

    • LVW

      as I sit here eating breakfast watching the game I had one simple thought
      win or lose this game I still think the last 3-6 games are the best I’ve seen the Reds play in nearly 10 years
      I keep trying to think back over the last 10 year, when the team has been awful and I just don’t remember them playing this good. Every starter keeping you in the game, bullpen being lights out (as a whole, Coco has looked shaky lately) and hitting!
      I think the only weakness over the last couple games has been defense. I swear the entire left side is playing in quicksand. Rolen, Cabrera and Gomes are lucky if they get more than 1 step on the ball…but that’s not what this post is about….I wanted it to be positive.
      they are playing good ball right now.

      For the 1st time in a looooooooooong time I feel the Reds have some traction to go with their .500 and/or above record.

  41. LVW

    5 LOB thru 4. 2 left on 3rd and 2 more left on 2nd of the 5.

  42. pinson343

    Let’s get Penny out of the game and turn this into a rout. Would allow us to rest the big 3 bullpen guys.

  43. Truman48

    Not a good start. Walking the .143 hitting catcher. You have to throw strikes to Larue.

  44. LVW

    I have to watch this game on the Cards network and I find it funny they’re talking about the pads cathcers use to help on the wear and tear with a backup catcher playing.

  45. Kyle

    Unbelievable. Arroyo goes 1-2-3 against Pujols, Holliday, and Freese and now can’t get Shumacher, Larue, or Penny out. You can’t walk Larue there.

  46. Barnes

    Bear down, Bronson. Get that good groundball.

  47. Steve

    Of course it took the Reds 400+ at bats and $6.5 million to figure out Taveras couldn’t play. If he hadn’t got hurt, Dusty Baker would still be putting him in the leadoff spot today. The Nationals figured it out in 37 plate appearances and a minor league deal (.243 OBP).

    • LVW

      Of course it took the Reds 400+ at bats and $6.5 million to figure out Taveras couldn’t play. If he hadn’t got hurt, Dusty Baker would still be putting him in the leadoff spot today. The Nationals figured it out in 37 plate appearances and a minor league deal (.243 OBP).

      Maybe Dusty thought they would make a rule where you could steal 1st, haha.

  48. Barnes

    Little bit of rain starting to fall.

  49. Barnes

    Joe West is pushing to get this half inning in.

  50. Steve

    BOOM! Good job Bronson limiting to one run. Now it’s an official game and Pujols will bat with no one on base.

  51. Kyle

    Wow, close call on the third strike there. Way to get out of it.
    Question: Is this game official since the Reds are winning or do they have to actually bat in the 5th?

    I would guess it is official but I’m not sure.

    • LVW

      Wow, close call on the third strike there. Way to get out of it.
      Question: Is this game official since the Reds are winning or do they have to actually bat in the 5th?I would guess it is official but I’m not sure.

      Yes, 4 1/2 with the home team ahead is an official game.

  52. Chad Dotson

    It occurs to me that Bronson Arroyo might be my favorite Red. I really enjoy watching him do his thing.

  53. Kyle

    @Barnes: Nevermind. I’m thinking that answered my question. Thanks.

  54. pinson343

    Whew !!!! Does Bronson lose concentration on their weaker hitters ? Walking LaRue was asking for big trouble. According to GameDay, ball 4 was a strike, but in any case, why not just after him ?

    • LVW

      Whew !!!! Does Bronson lose concentration on their weaker hitters ? Walking LaRue was asking for big trouble.According to GameDay, ball 4 was a strike, but in any case, why not just after him ?

      IMO he has a tendency to try and to outthink the weaker hitters.

  55. CeeKeR

    Good work by Bronson – that could easily have spiraled out of control.

  56. LVW

    I was kind of surprised Larussa didn’t hit for Greene with Ludwick considering the score and the threat of storms looming.

  57. Kyle

    Bad AB for Stubbs with guys on 2nd and 3rd. Two terrible ABs from him, one good one. Not a lot of in between.

  58. Truman48

    Another K for Stubbs. Man, good thing he is not going to get 600 PA this year or imagine what his season total would be.

  59. Kyle

    Assuming Arroyo get outs, the Reds have really blown some chances to break this game open.

  60. Chad Dotson

    Hanigan isn’t clutch. A clutch hitter would have driven in those runs instead of accepting an intentional walk.

  61. Kyle

    Ha, should have waited on that post. Great job Arroyo!

  62. LVW

    When you want something done right do it yourself………right BRONSON!

  63. Kyle

    And Cabrera gets in on the act as well. 7-1 Reds.

  64. Bill Lack

    Anyone notice the ad for the book by Frank Pastore on the site ads? Anyone read it?

  65. LVW

    The Reds- the best in the majors going from 1st to 3rd on a single.

  66. pinson343

    I love Arroyo as a hitter (for a pitcher). His average is only .105 after that, but he always bears down with runners in scoring position. And he owed Penny.

  67. Truman48

    Wouldn’t you pull Penny by now?

    • LVW

      Wouldn’t you pull Penny by now?

      Phillips is his last batter. Reyes will come in with 2 of the next 3 being lefty.

  68. LVW

    So much for Penny and his 5-0 1.80 career at GAB.

  69. pinson343

    @Bill Lack: I noticed the book by Frank Pastore. It looks very interesting, I’m going to order it.

    He was good in 1979, looked very promising. He resembled Tom Seaver in his pitching mechanics. Had good stuff and good control, but would make a mistake at the worst time.

  70. Truman48

    Pinson: What was the mistake? 1979 NLCS?

    • Steve

      Pujols isn’t as scary with the score 7-1 and the bases empty.

      Yep. Major point.

  71. Bill Lack

    So, what will the Cards be whining about after today? Phillips moving while Pujols is trying to hit? I didn’t realize that baseball was turning into golf…”quiet…don’t move..King Albert is trying to hit!!”

    • LVW

      So, what will the Cards be whining about after today? Phillips moving while Pujols is trying to hit? I didn’t realize that baseball was turning into golf…”quiet…don’t move..King Albert is trying to hit!!”

      I think West was the one distracted.

    • VTNReds

      So, what will the Cards be whining about after today? Phillips moving while Pujols is trying to hit? I didn’t realize that baseball was turning into golf…”quiet…don’t move..King Albert is trying to hit!!”

      Yeah, what’s with all the complaints? It’s weird. Does any other team do that?
      I haven’t heard of any.

  72. pinson343

    @Truman48: No, he pitched well in the 1979 NLCS. I didn’t mean an individual mistake, I meant a pattern. For example, in the 2nd half of the stike-shortened 1981 season, he pitched a game where he was just carving up a weak Mets team, and led by 3 into the 7th or so. Then there are a couple of bloops and maybe a walk, and then he gives up a grand slam on a fat pitch to Dave Kingman, and the Reds lose.

    That loss was costly, as the Reds needed to win the “second half” to get into the playoffs, and lost out to Houston on the final weekend of the season.

  73. Kyle

    Another 1-2-3 inning against the 3-5 hitters for Bronson. Only 79 pitches through 6.

  74. CeeKeR

    The Pirates are beating the Stupid Cubs again today too. Cubs announcers are not happy about that…they think McCutchen is the second coming of Ruth, Mantle, and Mays all rolled into one. Of course, McCutchen is something like 10 for 14 against the Cubs this year so maybe they are right…

  75. LVW

    That little shower seems to have negatively affected the carry on fly balls.

  76. Glenn

    Prince albert seems to get special treatment doesn’t he?

  77. LVW

    Larue ascribes to the theory that catchers hit their former batterymates well.

  78. VTNReds

    Finally got my avatar on. I carried this card around in my wallet when I was eight years old.

  79. LVW

    How bad do you have to be(Willy Taveras) to get DFAed to make room for Christian Guzman in the outfield, hahahaha!!!

  80. Jason

    I feel happy, yeah yeah yeah. Trying to wrap my long suffering sports head around the fact in the last 6 months I’ve witnessed my Bengals win a divsion title, my OSU Buckeyes win a Rose Bowl, my Dayton Flyers win the NIT and now (gulp) MY (our) Cincinnati Reds are mere outs away from being in first place in mid May after a depressing start to the season in April. This is progress, this is nice, but more importantly this is fun. What commercial was it that played all last year on FSO that had a diddy that went “I FEEL HAPPY, YEAH YEAH YEAH!!”? Well, whatever it was for, it’s been stuck in my head over the last few days when thinking of Reds baseball. 😆

  81. Steve

    That kid wailing on the sax yesterday for “God Bless America” was incredible. Did they show that on TV? I’ve never really heard anything like it.

  82. pinson343

    The high inner half fast ball to LaRue didn’t work out, but Arroyo is pitching as you’re supposed to with a 6 run lead – throw strikes.

    The HOF pitcher Robin Roberts, who passed away recently, would give up solo HRs with a big lead, rather than walk guys to start up a serious rally.

    • LVW

      The high inner half fast ball to LaRue didn’t work out, but Arroyo is pitching as you’re supposed to with a 6 run lead – throw strikes.The HOF pitcher Robin Roberts, who passed away recently, would give up solo HRs with a big lead, rather than walk guys to start up a serious rally.

      And more recently Curt Schilling.

  83. pinson343

    Are all of LaRue’s hits this year against us ?

  84. Jason

    @Steve: Yeah, I taped the game and re-watched this morning and B.K Jackson’s performance was indeed aired on both MLB Net and FSO. It was amazing to see in person, and I was really glad it carried over well on TV. All of the players reactions as he was playing was priceless.

  85. LVW

    Speaking of Robin Roberts- he’s the only pitcher ever to beat the Boston, Milwaukee, and Atlanta Braves.

  86. LVW

    Everyone agree that Arroyo should get a shot to complete this baby?

    • pinson343

      Everyone agree that Arroyo should get a shot to complete this baby?

      Yes.

  87. Steve

    I don’t suppose Baker could give Janish an inning today. He’s got a decent chance of playing one of the Brewers games, so why not let him shake off some rust.

  88. Y-City Jim

    Late to the party again today but love what is happening today at GABP!!!

  89. Y-City Jim

    Love that the Pirates are thumping on the Cubs this weekend as well!!!

  90. Y-City Jim

    Interesting comment on radio a few innings ago. Brantley made the statement that Phillips has trouble turning the DP because he hasn’t been forced to make the adjustment in how a SS turns it versus how a 2B turns it. Thoughts?

    • Steve

      Interesting comment on radio a few innings ago. Brantley made the statement that Phillips has trouble turning the DP because he hasn’t been forced to make the adjustment in how a SS turns it versus how a 2B turns it. Thoughts?

      I thought BP used to turn the double play a lot faster, rushed it and as a result had some throwing errors. I figured that Chris Speier had coached him up to slow down the throw motion, especially when he didn’t need to rush it, to gain accuracy. My sense has been that BP has been doing a better job of turning it the past couple of years, at least on the plays where there isn’t a tremendous rush.

    • LVW

      Interesting comment on radio a few innings ago. Brantley made the statement that Phillips has trouble turning the DP because he hasn’t been forced to make the adjustment in how a SS turns it versus how a 2B turns it. Thoughts?

      That could be part of it and also he knows he has the arm to make a stronger throw than most if not all 2ndbasemen. Kinda like Shawon Dunston played back on a lot of grounders because he knew he had the arm to outthrow the runner.

  91. Truman48

    It is nice to see we are on the verge of winning a series from the Cards with Votto not doing very much. This team really seems to be coming around. And how about the starting pitching all of the sudden? It is like somebody just turned on a switch.

    I am still not sure about what to do with Stubbs but if it ain’t broke…

  92. Steve

    We’re about to see another CG from our pitching staff. That’s three in one turn through the rotation. This one was against the — formerly — first place Cardinals.

  93. Steve

    Let’s enjoy it, at least for a day.

    Marty: and this one belongs to the FIRST PLACE Reds.

  94. Y-City Jim

    FIRST PLACE and they get there by beating the stinkin’ Cardinals!!!

  95. pinson343

    Congratulations to the Reds and us, fans of the first place Reds.

    May not last long, but I’m going to savor it.

  96. Steve

    FSOH now showing the electronic pole that shows the standings, with the Reds “C” at the top!!

  97. LVW

    A book about the 1990 Reds is coming out soon. I’ve already preorderd my copy.

  98. Y-City Jim

    @Steve: That was so cool to see!!! 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

  99. VTNReds

    @Truman48: I had the same thought about Votto. Hope he snaps out of it soon. Can’t believe we’re in first! This is great! There’s something so satisfying about pissing Tony LaRussa off. It’s turning into a good rivalry.

  100. pinson343

    I guess there wasn’t much of a debate about it, but I definitely approved the use of Arroyo in the 9th. He was throwing strikes, he was due to get the bottom guys out, it wasn’t so many pitches for him, etc.

    A 5 run lead against the Cards in this park isn’t a huge lead. If you bring in Fisher or Owings, they might start walking people, then Dusty would warm up CoCo in a hurry and disaster could result.

    • LVW

      When’s the last time Reds pitchers tossed three complete games in one week?

      here’s your answer
      Aug 17-23 1995
      Pete Schourek Aug 17
      Dave Burba Aug 19
      David Wells Aug 23 vs St Louis just like Arroyo today

  101. pinson343

    PS I would like to see Owings pitch a lot more often. Right now he hasn’t pitched in a while, and can be wild, so didn’t want to see him in the 9th.

    As for Fisher, use him when you’re behind or in middle relief, not to close out a game vs. the Cardinals.

  102. VTNReds

    National League
    Central
    TEAM W L PCT GB
    Cincinnati 21 16 .568 –
    St. Louis 21 17 .553 0.5
    Pittsburgh 16 20 .444 4.5
    Milwaukee 15 21 .417 5.5
    Chi Cubs 15 22 .405 6.0
    Houston 13 23 .361 7.5

  103. pinson343

    @mike: Don’t give us that, Mike. We want you to look it up !

  104. mike

    @Chad Dotson: not an easy stat to look up but I think I can see if they’ve thrown 3 CG in a week by eye

    The last time appears to be 1994
    Browning 4/24
    Pugh 4/26
    Rijo 4/30

    They only had 6 CG that entire year

    before that I think it was 1989
    Mahler 6/3
    Mahler 6/7
    Rijo 6/9
    Browning 6/10

    • LVW

      @Chad Dotson: not an easy stat to look up but I think I can see if they’ve thrown 3 CG in a week by eyeThe last time appears to be 1994
      Browning 4/24
      Pugh 4/26
      Rijo 4/30They only had 6 CG that entire year
      before that I think it was 1989
      Mahler 6/3
      Mahler 6/7
      Rijo 6/9
      Browning 6/10

      sorry Mike; found one before that.

  105. mike

    @LVW: ahhh….the column label separator in baseball-reference split those game up on me so I didn’t notice Good find. It’s surprisingly happened more than I thought

    Just like I wondered today when the last time the Reds had 5 players with 2 or more hits and a Run Scored in a single game and that has happened more than I thought

    Or 7 guys with a run scored and that also has happened more than I thought

  106. GRF

    I am sure this giddy feeling is going to disappear at the first sign of inevitable crushing defeat, but I am just going to enjoy it for now.

    Thanks guys, reading the gamethread was half (well maybe a quarter) of the fun.

  107. LVW

    Anyone remember Tom Carroll? He has something in common with Mike Leake- both were 4-0 after their 1st 7 career games and the last 2 Reds to accomplish this.

  108. pinson343

    @LVW: I’m surprised I don’t remember him. His peripherals were awful.