Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Frazier's bomb helps Reds walk-off to fifth straight win

"Party Rock is in the house tonight!"
The Redlegs entered Wednesday night riding a season-best 4-game winning streak. However, a shot at no. 5 and another series win lay before them as they took aim at the visting Braves.

And thanks to more outstanding pitching and a Todd Frazier solo blast in the ninth, the Reds (24-19) were able to lay claim to both. Frazier's fourth homer of the year lifted Cincinnati to a 2-1 victory over the Braves (26-19) and locked them in a temporary tie with the Cardinals for first-place in the division.

As always, here's your look at the good, the bad, and the notables from the affair:

The Good:
- Bronson Arroyo delivered yet another quality start. Any doubt about whether or not last year's woeful season was a fluke should be tossed aside by now. It was indeed an anomaly. The golden-haired hurler is back to his old ways. He stifled the Braves offense to the tune of four hits and one run before exiting the game in the bottom of the seventh with two outs. He fanned seven while lowering his ERA to 3.22.
- Zack Cozart certainly did his part batting out of the leadoff spot. The rookie smacked a couple of singles and scored a run.
- Chris Heisey chipped in a pair of one-baggers as well.
- Jose Arredondo held the Braves offense in check by pitching 1.1 innings of scoreless relief.
- Aroldis Chapman earned his fourth victory of the season after pitching a perfect ninth. Yes, his season ERA still reads 0.00.
- The Reds guarantee themselves of a series win -- over a very good ball club at that.
- The Reds improve to 9-6 in one-run games in 2012 -- an area they struggled mightily in 2011.

The Bad:
- Jay Bruce continues to be in a terrible funk. His 0-4 showing decreased his ever-sliding average to .258. As the old saying goes, "when you're hot you're hot, and when you're not...you're not". However, he did manage to knock in a run (28) via a fielder's choice.
- As bad as Bruce has been lately, Ryan Ludwick has been even worse and for a longer period of time. His current average sits well below the Mendoza Line at .191 after going 0-3. The $2.5MM it took to sign him this offseason is starting to look like a bad investment (or sunk cost).
- The Reds were 0-8 with RISP while mustering just two runs and six hits. That was enough offense for tonight, but normally that wouldn't be the case.

The Notables:
- The 20,411 fans in attendance enjoyed a perfect night for baseball -- 77 degrees under clear skies.
- Wednesday's start was no. 300 in Arroyo's career. He joins a list of 22 other active pitchers to have made at least 300 starts.
- Cincinnati has now won 16 of the last 22 games vs the Braves at GABP.
- Nick Masset is scheduled to test out his bum shoulder on Thursday. The right-hander has been on the disabled list for the entire season and hasn't thrown at all since March.
- Up next: The Braves and Reds close out the 4-game series tomorrow as Homer Bailey (2-3, 4.34) gets the ball opposite of Atlanta's Randall Delgado (2-4, 4.26). It's all set to get underway at approximately 7:10pm ET. The game will mark the last meeting between the two during the regular season.

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