Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….
St. Louis 0
W: H. Bailey (10-10)
L: S. Maness (5-2)
S: A. Chapman (34)
–A dominant start by Homer Bailey: seven shutout innings, allowing just two hits, and striking out eight Cardinals. Homer wasn’t quite as good as he was in his no-hitter earlier this year, but he was pretty darn good.
–Even better was Aroldis Chapman. The Cuban Missile, pitching for the first time in about six months (it seems; actually since August 24th) was completely and undeniably unhittable. At one point, Chapman delivered five straight fastballs at speeds of 103 mph, 103, 103, 102, and 103. Add in the 90-91 mph sliders and, well, major league hitters look like little leaguers against that type of stuff. Incredible.
–Homer was great, but until Chapman’s ninth inning heroics, the crowd got the biggest kick out of Billy Hamilton’s first major league stolen base in the seventh inning. Hamilton replaced Ryan Ludwick as a pinch-runner, and stole second easily off St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina. Ultimately, Hamilton came around to score the only run of the game, when Todd Frazier doubled him in.
–That really may have been the first time all year the Reds have been fun to watch. It was a genuinely entertaining game. From Homer’s great start, to the excitement surrounding Hamilton’s first stolen base, to the unbelievable show Chapman put on in the ninth…just great stuff.
This has been a largely frustrating Reds team, but they’re still in the thick of the race. I guess that’s all we can ask.
–We haven’t been shy about this: we’d prefer Aroldis be a starter. But if he has to be a closer, tonight is the exact situation where we want to see him. A one-run game, with the heart of the St. Louis order coming to the plate. (Of course, we’d have preferred to see Aroldis in the eighth too, but let’s not get greedy, okay?)
–There were some scattered complaints about Dusty removing Homer Bailey after seven innings, but it seemed like the correct decision to me. Homer clearly disagreed, of course.
–Let it not be lost in the excitement over Hamilton and Chapman: Homer was great tonight. Just great.
–Before tonight, the Reds had lost seven straight series to the Cards. At the very least, the Reds won’t be losing this one.
—As Rany noted, Billy Hamilton is the first player to steal a base and score the only run in a 1-0 game in his major league debut. Not bad.
–Manny Parra walked a hitter, but pitched a scoreless eighth. Reds pitching coach Bryan Price should get some type of award — maybe a Nobel? — for his work in turning around Parra this season.
–Don’t look now, but the Reds have won three in a row against the Cardinals. Tomorrow, Bronson Arroyo will attempt to ensure a series victory for the good guys.
103 mph. Maybe Chapman should only pitch twice a month. He's throwing hard.
— Chad Dotson (@dotsonc) September 4, 2013
As I wrote in the pregame notes, Dusty Baker had "NTP" listed next to Chapman's name on his lineup card. "Needs to pitch"
— ctrent (@ctrent) September 4, 2013
tHom notes that Chapman hasn't pitched in a week and a half, but doesn't dare question the wisdom of that.
— Redleg Nation (@redlegnation) September 4, 2013
@redlegnation recap title… I Feel The Need, The Need For —–
— Chris Wilson (@CoachWilson17) September 4, 2013
— MalottBaseballOnly (@Malottbaseball) September 4, 2013
— Chris Garber (@cgarber8) September 4, 2013