The Reds won their first series since August 6-7, when they swept the Indians in a short two game series. The Reds got five shutout innings, from the recently recalled from the minors, Dylan Axelrod. The Reds offense exploded for 7 runs and 11 hits, including 6 earned runs off the Cubs best starter, Jake Arrieta.

Final R H E
Chicago Cubs (59-74) 2 5 2
Cincinnati Reds (65-69) 7 11 0
W: Axelrod (1-0) L: Arrieta (7-5)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score | Game Photos | Game Thread

reds cubs thurs

Biggest Play of the Game

According to Fangraphs WPA statistic (winning percentage added), the most important play of the game was Billy Hamilton’s RBI double in the 2nd inning, giving the Reds a 2-0 lead. The double by Hamilton increased the Reds chances of winning by 10.2% (from 65.5% to 75.7%).

Other important plays (+/- indicates how much each play increased or decreased the Reds chances of winning):

  • +9.8% – 2nd inning: Cozart’s RBI single with 1 out. Reds lead 1-0.
  • +7.3% – 2nd inning: Frazier’s RBI single with 2 outs. Reds lead 3-0.
  • +5.1% – 4th inning: Frazier’s RBI single with 2 outs. Reds lead 4-0. Runners on 1st & 3rd.
  • -6.7% – 2nd inning: Soler’s leadoff double off Axelrod.

Player of the Game

Dylan Axelrod: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 8 K, 1.73 FIP, 0.19 WPA

I know that throwing 100 pitches and only lasting five innings is nothing to write a book about, but how about Dylan Axelrod? He has given the Reds two very solid starts. I am sure Axelrod will not be able to keep a 1.64 ERA going on very long in the big leagues, but the guy did post a 2.98 ERA and 0.90 WHIP in six starts with the AAA-Louisville Bats. The Reds certainly have to be thrilled with what Axelrod have given them through two starts.


The Reds offense scored six earned runs off Jake Arrieta, and got him out of the game after just 4.0 innings. For those who might not know just how good Arrieta has been, he entered today with a 2.53 ERA (8th in the MLB of any pitcher with 120+ IP), 2.41 FIP (3rd in the MLB), and 1.01 WHIP (4th in the MLB). The Reds raised Arrieta’s ERA by 35 points today.

The Reds baserunning was crazy good today. The stole six (!) bases off the Cubs (all off Arrieta).

Billy Hamilton had a great day. Billy the kid went 2 for 2 with 2 RBI, but most importantly he walked twice today. That is the first time this season Hamilton walked twice in game (second time of his career, he did it 9/18/13 vs Houston in a game where he had 6 PA). That is something Billy needs to do much more of in the leadoff spot.

Zack Cozart (most Reds fans punching bag this season), went 3 for 4 today. Cozart now has a modest 4-game hitting streak, and is 8 for 15 in those four games. Who knows, maybe Cozart can have another strong finish to a season. Over the last 40 days of the 2013 regular season, Cozart lead the Reds with 41 hits, positing a slash line of.311/.338/.447 with 3 HR and 21 RBI.

Todd Frazier was 2 for 4 with 2 RBI’s. Frazier is now hitting .280/.342/.456 on the year. What a great year for Todd.

Devin Mesoraco also reached base three times today (2 walks).

Pedro Villarreal pitched two perfect innings for the Reds in relief today, striking out two batters.

Logan Ondrusek also pitched a perfect inning in relief, striking out one.


Why is Skip Schumaker continuously put in the Reds starting lineup? Schumaker now has a .599 OPS on the season, and entered today worth a full loss using Fangraph’s WAR. There is no logical explanation for playing him in LF over Heisey or Ludwick. None.

Jay Bruce’s nightmare 2014 season continued. Bruce was 0 for 5 with 5 strikeouts today. Bruce is hitting .218/.294/.373. I still absolutely believe in Jay Bruce going forward, but let’s hope that I’m right about this year being an injury filled fluke. Here is the list of Reds players with 5+ strikeouts in a game since 1914 (the last year data is available). Hey, at least there are a lot of really good players on that list, right?


Jumbo Diaz picked a good day to have an off day. Diaz allowed 3 hits and 2 ER in the 9th inning.

Not so random thoughts…………..

I know that it isn’t good for any Reds fans health or sanity to keep any sort of hope alive, but if the Giants lose (they just started their game today with the Rockies), the Reds will only be 5.5 games out of a wild card spot. I wanna believe. I guess crazier things have happened, right?