May 12, 2013 – Brewers @ Reds – 4:10pm – Fox Sports Cincinnati
Reds Record (21 – 16)
Home Record (15 – 6)
Brewers Record (15 – 19)
Away Record (5 – 8)
Starters: Peralta (3 – 2) vs. Arroyo (2 – 4)
Storylines: Johnny Cueto is prepping for his return and should be pitching another rehab start in the minors soon. Chris Heisey is heading to Pensacola to rehab with the AA team, and will return to the big leagues soon as well. The Reds will have a couple of tough decisions to make with regards to their starting rotation and which outfielder gets sent down. Hopefully we will learn more on that this week.
The Setting: I am watching the game at my house and then will immediately head to my friends’ house for some smoked pork shoulder. I hopped up at 4:40am this morning to get everything ready, and he and I have had it one the smoker since 6am. I can’t wait! I like my smoked Boston Butts with a side of Reds sweep.
The Game and Analysis:
•This was a much lower-scoring affair than yesterday’s game, that is for sure. The Reds nearly shut out the Brew Crew, as the only run they scored was on a passed ball. The Reds won 5 – 1 to sweep the Brewers and bring their home stand to an end.
•Donald Lutz helped his chances of staying on the active roster with a huge home run in the second inning. The big left-hander lined a shot off the foul pole in right field, putting the first three runs of the game on the board. Lutz has now hit safely in six straight games, including some pinch-hit scenarios. He is the first German-developed player in MLB history, so every milestone he reaches technically sets a record or precedent. That was the first German home run I guess you could say.
•Not that he should worry about being sent down, but Xavier Paul also wanted to show that he deserves to stay on the roster. In the seventh inning, Paul hit a pinch-hit home run, his second of the year and both as a pinch hitter. Paul’s other homer was a grand slam during one of the Reds’ offensive outbursts.
•Shin-Soo Choo went 0 – 3 with a walk. Through April 24, Choo was batting .392. Since then, he is 12 – 65 (.184). During that time, he has had a handful of multi-hit games, four homers, and four doubles. He has also walked 11 times. So what has gone wrong for him? He had two separate slumps during that time (3 – 26 and 1 – 13). In the middle of those two stretches, he hit .307. Hopefully he can minimize those slumps and do what he has been doing all year for the Reds, creating runs at the top of the lineup.
•Bronson Arroyo finally got a victory, his first since April 15th, as he pitched very well even though he was feeling under the weather. In 6 2/3 innings, Arroyo gave up 5 hits, 1 walk, and struck out 5 while throwing 87 pitches. He was lifted in the seventh inning after hitting Logan Schafer and giving up a single to Rickie Weeks to put runners on the corners.
•Sam LeCure came in and does what he does best, which is stop the bleeding. Really, LeCure does lots of things well, but he seems to have a knack for inheriting runners and refusing to let them score. He did just that in this situation and struck out the only batter he faced to get the Reds out of the inning.
•As mentioned, a passed ball by Ryan Hanigan allowed the only Brewers run. That came in the eighth inning after Jonathan Broxton had given up a couple of singles.
•Aroldis Chapman struck out three in the ninth in a non-save situation. He did walk a batter and threw 20 pitches, but the Brewers batters looked overmatched. Chapman has been worked in as the team can, both trying not to overwork him but also not to leave him on the bench for a week at a time when there haven’t been save situations. As he showed last year, he can get rocked or lose control a couple of games in a row, and hopefully his rough stretch is already behind him this year. Everyone is human, he just shows it two to three times a year. I think every team in baseball would love to have that.
•Segura had a heck of a series against the Reds. The young shortstop went 8 – 12 (.667) with two doubles and two homers. The Reds have let young shortstops tear it up on this home stand. Unlike Andrelton Simmons in the last series, Segura came in hitting very well and just took it to another level in this series. He looked very comfortable driving the ball to the opposite field and looks to be a very good hitter overall.
What Worked: The pitching for the Reds was excellent in this game. Arroyo gave the Reds their first quality start in what I believe was nine games. The bullpen took care of business, too. The bats were good enough for a victory today, anchored by the big blast from Lutz.
What Didn’t Work: Not much to mention here.
Where They Stand: The Reds are 22 – 16 and are now two games behind the Cardinals in the NL Central. They remain ½ game ahead of the Pirates.
Overall Thoughts: Great win, great series, and the Reds finally gained a game on the Cards. Hopefully they can keep this momentum on the upcoming nine game road trip. In case you were wondering, the pulled pork turned out very good. That was an excellent Mother’s Day!
Up Next: The Reds are off tomorrow and then start a three game series at Miami on Tuesday.