Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Cincinnati 2
Chicago (NL) 0

W: M. Latos (12-3)
L: T. Wood (7-9)
S: A. Chapman (28)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–A brilliant outing by Mat Latos: eight shutout innings, allowing four hits. Latos struck out nine and didn’t walk a single Cub. You aren’t likely to see very many performances as good as the one we saw tonight.

–Aroldis Chapman’s ninth inning was as dominant an outing as I’ve seen from him. The fastball was fast, and the slider was filthy. Chapman really needs to throw that slider more often. He’s nearly unhittable when he throws it.

–Brandon Phillips hit a two run homer that represented all the runs scored on the evening.

NEGATIVES
–The offense was awful again.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–Always fun to beat the Cubs. Cincinnati is now 46-18 vs. Chicago since 2010.

–After eight innings, Mat Latos had only thrown 94 pitches (and hadn’t yet allowed a run). Many, including me, were surprised that Dusty Baker took him out of the game, bringing on Chapman to finish things up. After all, it’s unlike Dusty not to give one of his players a chance to pick up a stat (complete game shutout, in this instance).

As was pointed out to me, however, this decision just gave another of Dusty’s players an opportunity to pick up a different meaningless stat (a save).

On its own terms, however, I can’t say that Dusty’s decision was incorrect. I probably would have let Latos start the ninth (and this was the first time Dusty pulled a pitcher earlier than I thought he should), but no complaints about using Chapman there.* Chapman certainly closed the game in style.

*I may complain if Chapman isn’t available tomorrow or the next day because he was used today. Mostly, I just like complaining, okay?

As Chris noted over on Twitter, the Reds need to back up a U-Haul truck and give Bryan Price all the money. The performance of his pitching staff is the only thing standing between the Reds and irrelevance, given the lousy hitting.

–Reds pitchers struck out twelve, and didn’t walk anyone. That’ll do.

–Aroldis has now struck out the last seven hitters he’s faced.

–Gotta give Latos credit. The Reds really needed their starter to go deep into the game today, after yesterday’s extra-innings affair.

–Reds picked up a half-game on the Bucs and Cards. Homer Bailey will keep this playoff charge going tomorrow, right?