Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….
New York (NL) 0
W: J. Arredondo (5-2)
L: M. Acosta (1-3)
–After striking out a couple times earlier (in pretty ugly fashion), Jay Bruce redeemed himself in the bottom of the ninth with a three-run walkoff homer to give the Reds an exciting win. Bruce also doubled earlier in the game.
–The Reds wouldn’t have been in position for Bruce’s homer to win it were it not for another brilliant performance by Mat Latos. Latos went seven shutout innings, surrendering only five hits. Latos has just been brilliant lately. He’s allowed one run in his last three starts.
–Zack Cozart (2-4 with a double and a walk), Brandon Phillips (0-2, 3 walks, 1 run scored), and Ryan Hanigan (2-3 with a walk) each reached base three times. Ryan Ludwick was 2-5 with a double and a run scored.
–Dusty Baker used Sean Marshall in a tie game in the eighth inning, which is a pretty good spot. Kudos to Dusty. Marshall responded by pitching a shutout inning. (Question: if the Reds had been up by a run, would Baker have used Marshall or would he have used Jonathan Broxton? I think I know the answer, and it baffles me.)
–Drew Stubbs made a wonderful defensive play in the top of the ninth that prevented the Mets from scoring. Phillips and Todd Frazier also made excellent defensive plays that saved runs and/or extra bases.
–The offense was pretty poor until the ninth inning. The Reds did get 11 hits, but they stranded 14 runners. The Mets stranded ten, and for a while, it looked like neither team would ever score again. Both teams combined to go 0-18 with runners in scoring position (before the last swing of the night, of course).
–I mentioned Bruce’s strikeouts above, but it bears repeating, because they were two of the worst ABs I’ve seen in a while. Let’s not compare him to Joey Votto, because that isn’t a fair comparison to anyone, but you never see Votto look anything other than locked in at the plate. Bruce was flailing up there during those two strikeouts. It was painful to watch.
Bruce’s last AB of the night, however, shows why he has frustrated Marty Brennaman to the point where Marty’s hair has fallen out. Bruce was completely locked in. He fouled off a couple of tough two-strike pitches, then drilled an opposite-field homer. I don’t know why Bruce has stretches where he doesn’t swing at any bad pitches, but then has other stretches where he swings at everything.
I don’t think the problem is that Bruce isn’t trying hard enough. That’s too simplistic. The concentration does seem to wane at times, for whatever reason. Maybe he’s just a kid and he’s still learning?
–Reds win in exciting fashion, Pirates get killed by the Dodgers. Reds lead in the Central is extended to six games. Life is good.
–You know, Johnny Cueto and Mat Latos make a pretty good 1-2 punch in the rotation. Look around the league. There aren’t many teams that can match those two. If and when the Reds get into the playoffs, they should be in a much better position than they were in 2010 to actually stick around for more than three games.
–Game thread comment of the night, from Sergeant2:
26,113 turned out for tonightÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s titanic struggle, 26,113. What a coincidence, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the same number of runners the Reds have left on base tonight.
–In the ninth inning of the Pittsburgh game:
Pirates announcer just said “There’s always tomorrow.” Then started talking about the Cardinals and the Wild Card race. Me like.
— Redleg Nation (@redlegnation) August 15, 2012
–That was Bruce’s sixth career walkoff hit, and his fourth career walkoff homer.
–The Reds need a better start from Mike Leake tomorrow than they’ve gotten recently.