Wednesday, July 25, 2012

It's not over until Stubbs says so: Reds rally again, win 5-3

Drew Stubbs, ninth inning hero machine.

Talk about a game full of ups and downs. The Reds were on a night-long trip on the CoCo Coaster, but in the end they wound up on the right side of things by taking a 5-3 win over the Astros. For all the particulars, click the lovely link button below. 

Two three-run ninth innings in the span of 24 hours helped the Reds walk away with a series sweep. On a night as crazy as this, both the good and bad lists ended up quite lengthy. Considering what’s most important – a ‘W’ – let’s start with the best stuff first, shall we?

The Good
-The top of the ninth. For the second straight night, Reds fans got their payback for all of the nervous rides on the CoCo Coaster over the years. And, for the second straight night, one Drew Stubbs played hero.
-Stubbs’ two out rocket off the fence plated two runs and pulled the Reds off the mat, erasing a late 3-2 deficit. Stubbs went 7-for-15 with a home run, five RBI, five runs and two stolen bases during the Houston series.
-The Stubbs heroics wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for Xavier Paul’s leadoff pinch hit double. His sample size is ridiculously small and he’s feasted off Houston pitching of all things, but maybe, just maybe, Paul is the bat off the bench the Reds have been desperately seeking since Spring Training.
-Homer Bailey was again outstanding. It was his ability to work out of jams, though that makes Bailey’s performance tonight remarkable:
            -In the first inning, Jose Altuve singled and stole second, moving to third on a throwing error by catcher Devin Mesoraco. With just one out and Altuve at third, Bailey struck out Justin Maxwell and Chris Johnson.
            -In the second, Houston put runners at first and second with no outs before Bailey coaxed a double play ball and a pop fly.
            -In the sixth, Houston again had a runner at third with one out before striking out Johnson and Scott Moore.
            -In the seventh, Houston had a runner at second and one out and Bailey worked a pop fly and a line out to end the threat.
-Scott Rolen’s remarkable resurgence continued as he delivered a huge RBI single to give the Reds a 2-0 lead in the eighth.
-Rolen also showed he still has hops by making a great leaping catch in the eighth inning. Without it, who knows how ugly the inning would have become.
-Sean Marshall (3-3) earned the win by putting out the fire in the eighth.
-Aroldis Chapman picked up his 19th save with a scoreless ninth, working around a one out double.

The Bad
-Logan Ondrusek relieved Bailey in the eighth, and well, it wasn’t good, let’s just say that. The slumbering Astros offense came to life against the native Texan, scoring three runs (two earned) on three hits to take a 2-0 game and make it 3-2 Houston.
-An RBI double from J.D. Martinez in the eighth was all sorts of ugly. Not only did it tie the game, but Martinez came all the way around to score on a series of misplays and errors that would have been funny if it wasn’t so painful. Two errors were charged on the play – throwing errors by Ryan Ludwick and Todd Frazier – and the Reds’ game-long lead turned to a deficit in one mind-numbing series of events.
-The Reds’ eighth inning could have been much more productive. With the lead off man at first, Astros shortstop Marwin Gonzalez never had control of the ball on a force attempt at second, but the runner was called out when replays clearly showed he was safe. Instead of having runners at first and second with no outs, the Reds were left with just a runner at first and one away.
-A lot of Reds fans might have sour feelings about Cordero’s time in Cincinnati, but by all accounts, he’s a quality guy and did a lot of great things for the community. It’s sad to see him getting booed off the field as part of a terrible Houston club.

The Notables
-The Reds remain 2.5 games up in the Central as the Pirates defeated the Cubs, 3-2. The Pirates replace Cincy in Houston as they take on the Astros next.
-Announced attendance in Houston 16,077, but a sea of empty green seats seen on TV made it seem like the number was really half that. It feels like decades ago that the Astros were in the World Series. Yikes.
-Cincinnati is off tomorrow as it makes the trip to Denver and a series with the Rockies. Bronson Arroyo (5-6, 3.98) will take the ball against rookie Drew Pomeranz (1-5, 4.98), one of the prized prospects from the Ubaldo Jimenez deal last summer.

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