Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Arizona 3
Cincinnati 5

W: B. Arroyo (12-9)
L: R. Delgado (4-4)
S: A. Chapman (31)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Bronson Arroyo was good enough. Actually, he was pretty great early before hitting a rough spot, but he finished with a quality start: 6 IP, three runs allowed on seven hits. He struck out six and walked none. I’ll take it.

–JJ Hoover pitched a perfect inning, striking out two of the three hitters he faced.

–Brandon Phillips was 3-4 with a triple, scoring two runs. Jay Bruce was 1-3 with a walk, a run scored, and an RBI. Zack Cozart was 0-3 with two RBI, which is hard to do. Todd Frazier hit a solo homer, and his swing appears to be rounding into form.

–Ryan Ludwick doubled in a run, his first RBI of the season. If the Reds can get some production from Ludwick, it will help the cause.

–Manny Parra pitched another scoreless inning. He wasn’t sharp, but you can’t complain with Parra’s contribution this season.

NEGATIVES
–Aroldis Chapman got the save, but he allowed two hits in the ninth. He was saved by a gorgeous double play executed by Zack Cozart, Brandon Phillips, and Joey Votto. Seriously primo glovework there.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–Seven wins in nine games, and ten out of thirteen. That’s a pretty good run, but tonight’s win was among the most important of that run.

Look, no one really wants to be in that wild card game. It’s too much of a crapshoot. The Reds need to win the division, and they’re inching closer to that goal. Certainly, winning the division doesn’t guarantee anything (see 2013), but it’s just a better situation. I think we can all agree on that point.

That being said, if you can just get into the playoffs, you have a chance to win the World Series. So, at the very least, the Reds need to secure one of the wild card slots. That’s why tonight’s game was important. Cincinnati’s victory gave them a six-game lead over Arizona for the final wild card slot.

–Cincinnati is 17 games over .500. They haven’t yet reached 18 over this season. Tomorrow?

–How good has JJ Hoover been? Hoover hasn’t given up a run in 23 consecutive appearances (26 1/3 innings). That’s the longest active streak in MLB.

Once again, I ask: where are all the mouth-breathers who wanted Hoover to be sent to AAA back in April and May?

–Bronson has won three straight starts. Sheesh, I love that guy.

–I guess if you had told me Ludwick would get his first RBI on August 19, and that Johnny Cueto and Sean Marshall would be the victims of the Reds medical staff, never to return to the active roster again…well, I suppose I wouldn’t have believed that the Reds would be as close to first place as they are.

–The Redlegs are now two games behind first-place Pittsburgh; the Pirates will play out in San Diego later tonight. These are exciting times, my friends.

Source: FanGraphs