Postgame extra: Hello, first.
Sure it’s May but a 7-2 Reds win over the Cardinals carried some meaning even if it was the 36th game of the season.
*The Reds took two of three in the series and are in first place over St. Louis, by a slim half-game.
*The Reds have won seven of eight games and 14 of 19.
*The rotation is 7-1 with a 2.11 ERA over the last eight games.
*The entire pitching staff has a 1.88 ERA in that stretch.
*The rotation has three complete games in the last five starts (Cueto, Bailey, Arroyo).
My take on the early/meaningful time debate: there’s never a bad time to be playing well especially against a team that will likely be at or near the top of the division all season. First place at the moment means more to the Reds than losing it does to the Cardinals. Ditto for the series.It’s a good confidence boost heading into the meatier portion of the schedule.
What is your view? Did this series mean anything in the big picture?
Jay Bruce’s take:
“I’m not going to put too much weight on first place right now,” Bruce said. “But it’s always good to be in first place. Don’t get me wrong. It’s better than not being in first place. We just have to keep this same approach and same mentality that we’ve had. It is cool to be in first place and the team everybody is gunning after. You’re going to get everybody’s best.”
Some of the good from Sunday:
*Bronson Arroyo — complete game 9 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K — 108 pitches, 75 strikes.
Arroyo escaped two jams with double plays in the first and second innings — including after intentionally walking Albert Pujols in the first. Matt Holliday ended the inning with a 6-4-3 double play.
*The running Reds went from first base to third base five times on singles, which extended their MLB lead in that category to 32.
*In the fifth, Tony LaRussa had Brad Penny intentionally walk Ryan Hanigan to load bases with two outs for Arroyo, who promptly lineed a two-run single to right field to open up the game.
First place Reds recent history:
*The last time the Reds were in first place was May 13, 2009. It was a tie that lasted only one day.
*The Reds haven’t had sole possession of first place since April 17, 2007. They haven’t had first to themselves later in a season since June 8, 2006.
Quotes that I didn’t get to use in my story:
“Those guys have been in the playoffs so many years. They’re not panicking over there. It’s not a big deal to them. It’s definitely a bigger deal on this side. We have to keep on the task at hand, which is try to win two out of three from everybody. Those guys don’t play bad baseball that often. You could go on a road trip, slip a little bit and turn around, they could be four [games] ahead of you.” — Bronson Arroyo
“We have a long way to go. We’re not going to the playoffs today. But I’d rather be in this position than the position we’ve been in the past. We just have to go play. If we keep getting good pitching, good defense and timely hitting, we’ll see where it takes us. You have to enjoy the moment as well and not worry about where we’ve been three years ago or where we might be two weeks from now. There’s nothing you can control except now.” — Dusty Baker