August 21, 2013 – Diamondbacks @ Reds – 7:10pm – Fox Sports Cincinnati
Reds Record (71 – 55)
Home Record (38 – 21)
Diamondbacks Record (65 – 59)
Away Record (29 – 33)
Starters: McCarthy (2 –7) vs. Leake (10 – 5)
The Setting: We’re hosting our weekly cookout this evening, so I will be watching on a slight delay via the magic of DVR.
The Game and Analysis:
•This was the kind of scoring that you saw in a movie. The Reds pulled away with eight straight runs early in the game and then the Diamondbacks stormed back with seven of their own. The Reds would add a couple of insurance runs late, however, and held on for the 10 – 7 victory. All the fun details are below.
•The scoring kicked off in the bottom of the first as Shin-Soo Choo homered to lead off the inning. It was Choo’s sixth leadoff homer of the year and 16th overall. I don’t have the stats to back this up, but I believe 14 of his 16 homers have been solo. I am probably wrong on that number, but it is close.
•The Reds added to their total in the second. With two outs, Devin Mesoraco singled and went to second on a single by Zack Cozart. Mike Leake helped his own cause with a ground rule double that scored Mesoraco (2 – 0), and then Choo knocked in Cozart and Leake with a single to center (4 – 0).
•Leake was rolling through the first three innings. He retired all nine batters in order on 40 pitches. He already had good run support, but he got a little more when the Reds came to bat in the third inning. Joey Votto walked to start the inning and Brandon Phillips hit into a fielder’s choice to force Votto out at second. Jay Bruce hit a single to put runners on first and second, and Chris Heisey followed with double to score Phillips (5 – 0) and put runners on second and third with one out. Mesoraco singled up the middle and drove in Bruce and Phillips for a 7 – 0 Reds lead. Josh Collmenter relieved Brandon McCarthy, and was able to retire the next two batters to get out of the inning.
•Leake gave up his first base runner in the fourth inning, but the runner never reached second base due to a force out. It took Leake 23 pitches to get through the fourth inning, putting him at 63 for the game.
•Choo narrowly missed hitting a second home run leading off the bottom of the fourth as he doubled off the top of the left field wall. After Todd Frazier was retired, Votto singled in Choo for an 8 – 0 lead. I was complaining about offense yesterday; maybe the team reads this blog. Probably.
•The Diamondbacks would finally get to Leake in the fifth and start chipping away at their deficit. Will Nieves hit a one-out single and went to second on a single by A.J. Pollock. Both runners would advance on a wild pitch by Leake, who then struck out Didi Gregorius for the second out. Jason Kubel drove in both runners with a single to make the score 8 – 2. Adam Eaton hit the next pitch out of the park to make the score 8 – 4. Martin Prado grounded out to end the inning, but Leake threw 26 pitches as the Diamondbacks put up four runs.
•Leake would leave after the sixth inning, having thrown 102 pitches and sitting on a four-run lead. He gave up six hits and struck out three. Had the Reds not had such a big lead, those four runs he gave up would have been a much bigger issue.
•Manny Parra came in to pitch the seventh inning and retired the first two batters. He then gave up a single and a walk before being relieved by J.J. Hoover. Prado would then hit an RBI single to center to make the score 8 – 5. Hoover would walk Paul Goldschmidt to load the bases, but then retired Aaron Hill with a fly out to end the inning. The Diamondbacks had made it a game again.
•Votto led off with a double in the bottom of the seventh, but was only able to advance to third. Phillips lined out to right; Bruce flied out to center allowing Votto to tag up; and then Heisey flied out to end the inning.
•Jonathan Broxton replaced Hoover for the eighth inning. Gerardo Parra led off the inning with a home run to make the score 8 – 6. The umpires originally called a double off the top of the wall. Manager Kirk Gibson asked for a review, and the ball was determined to have actually hit over the yellow line and was overturned to a home run. Broxton then walked Nieves on four pitches, and then left the game with soreness in his elbow. That’s not good. Aroldis Chapman would be brought on in relief. Dusty Baker had intended on making a double switch, but in the heat of the moment simply told the umpire he was bringing in Chapman. In baseball rules, a double-switch must be announced to the umpire ahead of time, so Chapman would either have to bat in the ninth or the Reds would have to go with a different pitcher to close the game. This would also be Chapman’s first outing of the year of going more than one inning. He quickly got a ground out that moved Nieves to second, and then walked Gregorius. Matt Davidson hit what appeared to be an inning-ending double play to the shortstop, but the relay by Phillips bounced wide past Votto and allowed Nieves to score and Davidson to go to second. It was not 8 – 7 Reds, with the Diamondbacks scoring seven consecutive runs. Chapman would strike out Eaton for the final out of the inning.
•In the ninth, Cozart hit a one-out single to bring up Chapman in his Major League debut at the plate. Chapman missed a bunt and worked the count full. Though he took some mighty cuts, he struck out. With two outs, the Reds would come up with some key hits to pad their lead. Choo picked up his fourth hit of the day with a single; Frazier singled in Cozart (9 – 7) on a swing that could have been seen in a game of cricket; Votto walked to load the bases; and Phillips hit an infield single to short to score Cho (10 – 7). Bruce flied out to end any further damage by the Reds.
•Chapman returned to the mound for the bottom of the ninth. He walked Prado on four pitches, and then gave up a single to Goldschmidt. An infield fly kept the runners where they were, and then the Reds were unable to turn a double play, having to settle for a 3-6 force out at second for the second out of the inning. Nieves hit a liner to left for the final out of the game, and the Reds walked away with a wild one, 10 – 7.
What Worked: The Reds had a huge lead to work with as the offense was clicking early. Choo went 4 – 5 with 3 RBI and 3 runs scored to pace the Reds. All nine starters (including Leake) had a hit, and four batters had multiple hits. The team as a whole went 15 – 39 (.385), and a staggering 7 – 12 with runners in scoring position. On the mound, Chapman put up a great effort in throwing two innings for the first time.
What Didn’t Work: The Reds let the Diamondbacks back in the game after mounting the eight run lead. Broxton left with elbow problems, and I have a feeling he is done for the year.
Where They Stand: The Reds are 72 – 55 and trail the Pirates by 2.5 games and the Cardinals by 1.5 games in the NL Central.
Overall Thoughts: A win is a win, and the team was able to gain a game on the Pirates. Still, this game worked over my stomach and tied it in knots as the big lead started to evaporate. When Broxton went down and the double-switch failure happened with Chapman, I feared the worst. This team needs all the wins it can get right now.
Up Next: The final game of this four game set is tomorrow during the day.