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.

Click here for the full game story on MLB.com.

Three stars:

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.”

Notes:

*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.

5 Comments

The play by Cozart up the middle on a very speedy runner was unbelieveable…he truly saved the day with his glove. Latos looked incredible; his keeping the ball low and in and out has made him a front line pitcher. Brox came in and shut em down, as did, of course, Chapman. Ladies and Gentlemen…we have a very, very good team. We need only turn up our offense a notch and I am not so sure we aren’t going very far this season. A healthy Votto, Fraz over a hurt Rolen, a lead-off Choo over a very poor OBP Stubbs, Mesoraco learning the ‘bigs’, and the firm of ‘Heisey, Hanahan and Paul’ sitting pine, are very indicative of a team that has more +++ than — from last year to this season.

Now, let’s just stay healthy…imagine, all this with Cueto sitting, I am truly impressed.

I don’t understand how you expect them to “turn up the offense” THEY ARE SECOND IN RUNS!

My expectation is for the Reds to be more consistent at the plate. They have scored 3 R over the last 19 innings against a non-playoff team. Our team batting average is .259. If we want to contend with the likes of Atlanta and St. Louis and Washington, we had best not score 10 R one day and then 1 or 2 the next few. Heisey (.183/.205) and especially Cozart (.205/.230) need to “turn up” their offense considerably. The Reds BA w/RISP is .279; the Cards is .349. The Reds RISP w/2 outs are batting .195; the Cards are bating .375. The Cards have scored 12 R less than the Reds; 102 versus 114, yet they lead our division by 1/2 game having played one less game than we have. The next 10 of 13 games will be played against the three teams noted above; we are going to need to be more consistent at the plate.

It’s called having to face tough pitching (the Cubs have among the best starters, better than the Reds at the moment)…it’s called the natural rhythms of the game…it’s called BASEBALL! Introduce yourself. It is a game based on the play of threes and nines, on the hard facts of loss and almost constant failure, and on inconsistency forever. It’s fun!

Although Latos is pitching remarkably well, I was hoping that the Reds would go after Gio prior to the beginning of last season. I predict continued and much success for this 21 game winning lefty. Opponents hit .202 at home and .208 away against this kid last season.

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