June 3, 2013 – Rockies @ Reds – 7:10pm – Fox Sports Cincinnati
Reds Record (35 – 22)
Home Record (20 – 7)
Rockies Record (30 – 27)
Away Record (12 – 15)
Starters: Chatwood (3 – 0) vs. Arroyo (5 – 5)
The Setting: Casa de Livingood
The Game and Analysis:
•Coming back home from their road trip, Cincinnati started this series with their third shutout in four games as they beat the Rockies 3 – 0 on Bronson Arroyo’s terrific pitching performance.
•Arroyo went 8.0 innings and only gave up four hits as he threw 86 pitches and stymied a good Rockies lineup. After throwing 30 pitches in the first two innings, he was efficient and threw lots of strikes. Arroyo threw six pitches in the third inning; six pitches in the fifth inning; eight pitches in the sixth inning; and four pitches in the eighth inning. Thought he probably could have pitched the ninth inning without any problems, Aroldis Chapman was brought in for the save.
•Runs weren’t easy to come by for the Reds either. Their first run came in the fourth inning as Jay Bruce got a two out single and stole second base. On a pitch that almost hit the ground, Todd Frazier lunged out with the bat and lofted a soft single over the shortstop’s head. Bruce headed for home, and Carlos Gonzalez’s throw hit him as he slid in safely at home. The ball went into foul territory and allowed Frazier to go to third. That would be all the runs they got, but ultimately all that Arroyo would need.
•The final two runs came in the eighth inning when Bruce launched a two run homer deep into the right field stands, coming five rows from hitting the ball out of the stadium. Bruce went 3 – 4 in the game, raising his average to .276. He now has nine homers and 38 RBI on the year, which is impressive after the rough start he had to the season.
•Frazier had two hits for the third straight game, and is looking more confident at the plate. Even the outs he was making recently were hard-hit balls that couldn’t find a place to drop. Frazier is needed in this lineup, so it is nice to see him have some success recently.
•In the two-run eighth inning, the Reds were threatening much more. Bruce’s homer came with two outs, and then the Reds got two singles and a walk to load the bases before failing to push across any further runs.
•Chapman struck out three Rockies in the ninth for his 15th save. He gave up a walk to Troy Tulowitzki and got deep in the count on all four batters, but walked away unharmed. Since blowing a save against the Phillies on 5/19, Chapman has not given up a run in seven appearances, all saves. He has lowered his ERA from 3.32 to 2.42. He has struck 16 of the 27 batters he has faced in that span.
What Worked: Arroyo pitched a gem, and Bruce and Frazier came up with some key hits. For the Rockies, Carlos Gonzalez bunted a ball down the third base line as the Reds had the “Ted Williams Shift” on. When a guy that can mash the ball and hits for a great average does that, it can change the way a team lines up against the player defensively. We’ll see if it affects the way they play him the rest of the series.
What Didn’t Work: Joey Votto and Shin-Soo Choo went hitless, and both are in funks right now.
Where They Stand: The Reds are 36 – 22 and trail the Cardinals by 2.5 games in the NL Central. They are 1.0 game ahead of the Pirates.
Overall Thoughts: The pitching has been out of this world for the Reds recently, and they continue to play great baseball. The Cardinals are not letting up, though, as the Reds have been unable to make up ground on them. The Pirates are still right there on the Reds’ tails, too. I keep thinking that the Reds aren’t even playing the best baseball they are capable of, which is scary considering what they have been doing.
Up Next: The Reds welcome the Rockies back for game two tomorrow.