Reds get 8-2 home stand
Some might discount the opponents but an 8-2 home stand is impressive no matter how you slice it. The Reds knocked off three struggling teams that should be beat — the Phillies, Marlins and Cubs — which will come in very handy down the road when they hit an unfavorable part of the schedule or grind.
The pitching staff had a 1.91 ERA in the 10 games. The rotation had a 1.54 ERA and nine quality starts.
Three games went to extra innings. Two of the wins were by 1-0 score — only nine have ever happened in the history of GABP.
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No. 3 star: Jeff Samardzija, CHC, 6 ip, 7 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 8 K. Samardzija took a Shin-Soo Choo comebacker off of his hand and pitched with it bleeding. Other than one mistake to Todd Frazier, he was really good.
“We kind of knew coming in facing Samardzija and with Mat pitching, that runs would be scarce today,” shortstop Zack Cozart said. “And they both pitched well. Mat was lights out. When a guy is like that, as the hitters here, we want to score runs for him just to make it easier. We didn’t obviously and he kept us in it.”
No. 2 star: Mat Latos, 7 ip, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K, 103 pitches/65 strikes. He survived being hit on the right foot by a comebacker in the first inning and did well without any secondary pitches in his bag of tricks.
“I didn’t have anything today,” Latos said. “I had a four-seamer and a two-seamer, was all I had today. It was tough. Everybody in the big leagues can hit a fastball. It was just a matter of hitting my spots and being able to make key pitches when I needed to.”
Through 5 starts, Latos is 1-0 with a 2.16 ERA. He has 11-straight scoreless innings. Not bad for a dude who had a terrible track record for April (5.97 ERA last season, a 2-8 record with a 5.73 ERA lifetime entering 2013)
“I’ve pitched a lot better than what’s been shown over the last couple of Aprils,” Latos said. “I’m real pleased with it. I’ve got one more start to finish up the month strong.”
No. 1 star: Todd Frazier, 1-for-2, HR — Frazier was not cheated for his one run that proved the distance. The estimated distance was 480 feet as the ball kissed off of the riverboat in center field. It was the seventh-longest shot in the history of GABP. The last Reds player to homer in a 1-0 victory was Sean Casey on 8/26/04 vs. the Cardinals’ Chris Carpenter. Perhaps a coincidence that both Frazier and Casey wear No. 21?
“I took a couple of steps and kind of figured it was out,” Frazier said. “But I didn’t really know how far until I looked up and saw it bounce off of the boat. It was pretty fun to watch.”
*I remember a couple of weeks ago at St. Louis when Shin-Soo Choo made two errors in one game. Some people wanted him moved to left field, to switch with Chris Heisey. Of course that didn’t happen. Choo made a nice play Wednesday to run down Anthony Rizzo’s long drive to the warning track in the fourth inning.
*More great defense came from Zack Cozart, who saved the day in the eighth inning by going behind second base on a tough David DeJesus groundball up the middle and throwing him out on the run.
“Defense saves games. That was a game-saver today,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “If that ball goes up the middle, then they get two. Even if he stops it, maybe one.”
*An 89-minute rain delay pushed back first pitch.