Nice series win over Angels
The Reds earned a 5-4 victory over the Angels Thursday and two of three to claim the series. My game story on MLB.com (final version coming soon) will focus mainly on the quality Reds pitching in the series (a club record 36 strikeouts).
But for this game, here are the three stars:
No. 3 star: Sam LeCure: After Alfredo Simon gave up a run in the seventh, LeCure shut the door in the eighth by striking out the side. It was big especially since Sean Marshall, Jonathan Broxton and J.J. Hoover were not available. It nicely bridged to the ninth when Aroldis Chapman got the save while facing the tough top 4 of the Angels lineup
No. 2 star: Shin-Soo Choo: (2-for-4, HR, single). Choo was given a signed lineup card for his first home run as a Red. On Joe Blanton’s first pitch, he went to the opposite field for the sixth leadoff homer of his career that cleared the fence in left-center field.
“I think there was a good chance for the first at-bat and the leadoff hitter to see a fastball,” Choo said. “I was looking for a fastball middle-away. It was a good spot to hit it.”
No. 1 star: Todd Frazier: (2-for-3, HR, double) Starting Cincinnati’s half of the second inning, Todd Frazier sent a 1-2 Blanton pitch into the left field seats for his first homer of the season. In the fourth, Frazier just missed his second homer with a drive off of the yellow line at the top of the left-center field wall. Video replay upheld a call of a double and E8 on Mike Trout for bobbling the ball.
While playing in during the top of the third, Frazier also robbed Trout with a nice snag of a sharp groundball to third base.
“He’s one of my good buddies,” Frazier said of the fellow New Jersey resident. “We were talking and telling each other ‘have a good year.’ I said ‘keep swinging like you do. You know your capabilities.’”
For more on the Trout-Frazier connection, check out this notebook item from MLB.com Angels beat reporter Alden Gonzalez.
*Joey Votto and Jay Bruce did not enjoy good series overall, which made the solid pitching even more important. Votto was 1-for-10 in the series with Wednesday’s game-winning RBI single. Bruce was 1-for-13 with seven strikeouts and stranded 14 runners on base. Reds manager Dusty Baker said Bruce would be taking some extra swings in the cage on Friday.
“I guess you’d rather have it now. You really don’t want to have it ever,” Baker said. “He gets into one of these strikeout streaks and sometimes you don’t know what to tell him.”