August 14, 2013 – Reds @ Cubs – 2:20pm – Fox Sports Cincinnati
Reds Record (67 – 52)
Away Record (30 – 32)
Cubs Record (52 – 67)
Home Record (23 – 35)
Starters: Arroyo (10 –9) vs. Rusin (2 – 1)
The Setting: This game starts at 2:20pm. Given how busy we are at work, there is no hope of listening to some of the game on the radio. I have the DVR set and I’ll try to play catch up when I get home.
The Game and Analysis:
•Bronson Arroyo stifled the Cubs by giving up only two hits in seven shutout innings. The righty struck out seven as he was backed up by a Reds club that virtually exploded with extra base hits compared to what they have been doing at the plate. The Reds scored early and then broke out late as they cruised to a 5 – 0 victory and the series sweep.
•On the third pitch of the game, the Reds had the lead. Todd Frazier blasted a solo homer onto the street near the left field foul pole. It was his first home run since July 1, a span of 44 days and 115 at bats. Yikes! However, this is his second-longest drought of the year, as he went 47 days and 131 at bats without a home run from April 24 – June 11. To say that Frazier has struggled mightily at times this year would be an understatement.
•Chris Rusin had a pretty good start for the Cubs, as Frazier’s homer was the only hit he gave up through the first four innings. A walk to Chris Heisey was the Reds’ only other base runner. The lefthander has an impressive repertoire of pitches, throwing fastballs, sliders, changeups, sinkers, and curves. He could turn out to be a very good pitcher for the Cubs with a little polish.
•Arroyo was even more impressive early, as he gave up only one hit through six innings. He threw 76 pitches in those frames, and fanned seven batters. The lone hit to David DeJesus was immediately erased with a double play, so Arroyo faced the minimum number of batters through the first six innings. He was simply dominating as only Arroyo can be, throwing off-speed pitches with movement from several different arm angles.
•The Reds picked up their second run against Rusin in the bottom of the fifth. With one out, Zack Cozart singled to left. Ryan Hanigan then worked a full count and doubled in Cozart for a 2 – 0 lead. Arroyo tried to bunt Hanigan over to third, but he popped it up to the catcher who threw to second to double off Hanigan to end the inning. Get your bunts down, Reds!
•The Reds picked up an insurance run in the seventh on a couple of doubles. Jay Bruce doubled with one out, and then Cozart doubled him home with two outs to make the score 3 – 0 Reds. Carlos Villanueva, who had come on in relief to start the inning, intentionally walked Hanigan to get to Arroyo who struck out to end the inning.
•The Reds struck again in the top of the eighth on three consecutive hits. Heisey hit an infield single and came around to score on a double by Frazier to make it 4 – 0. Joey Votto then knocked in Frazier with a double of his own to push the lead to 5 – 0. The Reds went down in order after Votto’s hit, but the lead was now safe on this night.
•With the five run lead, Arroyo left after seven innings. He gave up to singles and no walks in his gem of a game. The two hits were harmless singles, and one of them was erased by a double play. Arroyo threw only 92 pitches in his seven innings of work, but there was no need to send him back out.
•Alfredo Simon and Jonathan Broxton finished out the game for the Reds, each throwing an inning. Broxton hit DeJesus in the bottom of the ninth, but that was the only base runner the relief duo would allow.
What Worked: Arroyo was masterful in carving up the Cubs. The Reds had six extra base hits in the contest with the home run and five doubles. It wasn’t exactly a breakout effort by the offense, but it was nice to see nonetheless.
What Didn’t Work: Arroyo popped into a double play on his sac bunt attempt. It is hard to complain about Arroyo with the pitching performance he had today, but I am a stickler for fundamental baseball, especially sacrificing runners over.
Where They Stand: The Reds are 68 – 52 and trail the Pirates by 3.5 games and the Cardinals by 0.5 games in the NL Central.
Overall Thoughts: Get out the brooms! The Reds got the sweep behind a great pitching performance and had plenty of run support from the offense. It was good to see Frazier get his home run, and have the Reds get some extra base hits. This club is heating up and making their run finally!
Up Next: The Reds head to Milwaukee for a three game series against the Brewers.