July 22, 2013 – Reds @ Giants – 10:15pm – Fox Sports Cincinnati
Reds Record (55 – 43)
Away Record (23 – 26)
Giants Record (45 – 52)
Home Record (27 – 21)
Starters: Arroyo (8 – 7) vs. Lincecum (5 – 9)
The Setting: It is late, late, late due to the West Coast time, but I am not really that tired and I might get to watch the game without having to finish it on DVR. We’ll see.
The Game and Analysis:
•The bats have been slow for the Reds. Time Lincecum threw a no-hitter in his last start. What should we expect in this game? If you guessed, “The Reds hammer Lincecum to the tune of eight runs before the end of the fourth inning on their way to a dominating 11 – 0 victory,” go buy some lottery tickets. All the fun-loving details are below.
•The red hot Shin-Soo Choo led off the game with a double and went to third on a bunt single by the speedy Derrick Robinson. After Joey Votto struck out looking, Robinson stole second base. Brandon Phillips hit a ball that was fielded by Lincecum and Choo was out at home on the play. Easier said than done, but I think that was a bad decision for Choo to go home on the play. Phillips stole second and Jay Bruce ended up drawing a walk to load the bases. Todd Frazier then hit a laser beam to dead center over the fielder’s head for a three run, two out double. Zack Cozart popped up to second to end the inning, but the Reds took an early 3 – 0 lead.
•Devin Mesoraco opened the Reds’ half of the second inning with a solo home run, and Choo followed with a solo shot of his own two batters later. After two innings, the Reds were already out in front of the Giants by five runs.
•The Reds would tack on another run on Lincecum with another solo homer in the third. This time, Jay Bruce caught a ball up near the letters and crushed it to right-centerfield. Bruce had come out of the All-Star Break slumping, but this no-doubter might be the spark for him to catch fire again. The score was 6 – 0 Reds.
•Lincecum looked like he might settle down and get out of an inning without giving up a run in the fourth. He retired Bronson Arroyo and Choo on four pitches for two quick outs. Robinson followed with a hit, and Votto sent him to third with a single of his own. That would be all for Lincecum as George Kontos was brought in for relief. Phillips promptly doubled to drive in both runners. First baseman Brandon Belt missed the throw from Hunter Pence, which allowed Votto to score (just barely), meaning Phillips only got one RBI on the play. The Reds were now up 8 – 0 with all runs charge to Lincecum in 3.2 innings.
•The Reds would not stop there as they pushed across another run in the fifth inning. Frazier doubled to start the inning, and Mesoraco singled him in with one out to make the game 9 – 0.
•Even though I was fighting sleep, I decided to watch the sixth inning before giving in and going to sleep. The Reds must have known about this, because they gave me one final run to watch as Bruce drove in Robinson with a sacrifice fly to increase the lead to double digits, 10 – 0.
•I was pleased that Arroyo was cruising through this game with a shutout through six innings, but was contemplating whether or not he should be pulled for a reliever. I decided that Arroyo basically has a rubber arm, and this was not some rookie or young pitcher that needed to save his innings. Besides, he was only at 84 pitches at the time, and he had only allowed four singles.
•If I was fighting sleep in the sixth, it was winning in the seventh. I decided to roll over and go to sleep when I heard the commentators’ voices rise as Mesoraco hit a double. Well, I just had to see what was up with this. I’ll sleep when I’m dead. Arroyo struck out for the second out, but Xavier Paul hit a double of his own over the first baseman’s head, scoring Mesoraco for the 11 – 0 lead. After the final out of that inning, I rolled over for the commercials and woke up with my alarm clock. I would finish the game while I ate breakfast before work.
•Arroyo would give up two singles to start the bottom of the seventh inning, but a fly out and an inning-ending double play erased that. Arroyo threw a total of five pitches in the inning, setting him up for another inning at the least.
•The Giants retired the Reds in order in the eighth, which was the first inning the Reds did not score a run, much less get a hit.
•In the bottom of the eighth, another double play erased a leadoff hit by the Giants, and they would have nothing against Arroyo again. Arroyo was at 101 pitches, but you might as well send him out for the ninth and hope to give the bullpen the night off at this point.
•After the Reds were sent down in order again in the ninth, it was indeed Arroyo who would take the mound to try and close out the game. He retired the first two batters on four pitches, and then pinch-hitter Jeff Francouer samcked a long fly ball to center that looked like it would ruin the shutout for Arroyo. Robinson decided that would be a shame, though, so he leapt up and robbed Francouer of a home run to end the game. However, he didn’t catch it clean, and it bounced back toward the field. Undeterred, Robinson looked around for the ball and was able to cradle the ball for the catch. Now that was nice! Arroyo would have a complete game shutout on seven hits and no walks.
What Worked: Arroyo threw an absolute gem and gave the bullpen a rest. That is a good way to start a road trip. The offense was a well-oiled machine, banging out 17 hits and 11 runs. Derrick Robinson had a great game of getting on base and robbing the home run to end the game in dramatic fashion. The Reds came up with some clutch two out hits, including Frazier’s three run double to set the stage. Choo remains hot, picking up another multi-hit game.
What Didn’t Work: Anything mentioned here would be splitting hairs. It was a terrific all-around game for the Redlegs.
Where They Stand: The Reds are 56 – 43 and trail the Cardinals by 4.5 games and the Pirates by 3.0 games in the NL Central.
Overall Thoughts: I can’t think of a better way to kick off a West Coast road trip. The bullpen got a full night off as Arroyo pitched a complete game shutout; the offense was knocking around the opposing pitching; a couple of guys that have been slumping got some big hits; and the club picked up a half game in the standings as the Cardinals were off. Great game for the Reds!
Up Next: The Reds and Giants will play a traditional doubleheader tomorrow in unique circumstances. I’ll have all the details as usual.