Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Brewers sweep Reds out of town, 3-2

Latos was excellent, but it wasn't enough Wednesday.

With a late lead and the Reds’ tough bullpen in, it seemed as though Cincy would be able to salvage a game against the Brew Crew. Milwaukee took the old saying of “Hit ‘em where they ain’t’” to heart in the eighth, however, and had just enough (literally) offense to ruin the Redlegs’ trip to the Beer City with a 3-2 victory.

Things fell apart in the bottom of the eighth. Walking a tight rope with just a 2-1 lead, Jonathan Broxton (2-3) was charged with his first blown save as a Red as the Brewers scored twice to erase the deficit and take the advantage.

None of the balls hit off Broxton were well struck, however, making things sting a bit worse. With two outs and the bases empty, Norichika Aoki rolled a ball about 40 feet from home down the third base line for a hit. Aoki then stole second and went to third on a throwing error by catcher Dioner Navarro. A soft liner just over short went for a hit, tying the game, and Gomez then stole second. Ryan Braun gave Milwaukee the lead with a flare to left, allowing the Brewers to take control of the game on three dinks and dunks.

The Good
-Mat Latos more than earned a ‘W’ today, as he lived up to his pre-season billing by striking out eight in seven innings. He allowed just three hits and walked one, lowering his season ERA to 3.81.
-Navarro drove in his first two runs as a Red with a home run in the third.
-Even following a three-game sweep, the Reds remain 21 games over .500 at 66-45.

The Bad
-Broxton couldn’t hold the eighth inning lead, but before folks start clamoring, the details are everything here. Broxton could have just as easily pitched a 1-2-3 inning as the Brewers made minimal contact on their three consecutive hits with two outs.
-The offense was atrocious during the three-game sweep in Milwaukee, scoring six runs total and just three over the past two days. Today, Cincy was limited to six hits against Randy Wolf, who despite six innings of two-run ball, still has an ERA of 5.46 on the year. John Axford (4-6) who has been altogether awful this year, made things look easy again vs. the Redlegs with a scoreless eighth for the win.
-It wouldn’t matter anyway because of the events that would follow, but Navarro’s throw to second base in the eighth inning on Aoki’s steal ended up in center for an error, and then he later ended up out of position when Gomez swiped second as well.
-Drew Stubbs walked with two outs in the ninth and stole second, but Chris Heisey lined out to end the game.

The Notables
-Interestingly, Latos tossed just 97 pitches and appeared to be sailing when he was pulled following work in the seventh. Dusty Baker is typically criticized for leaving his starters in too long, but may have been too quick with the trigger on Latos today.
-Wilson Valdez started at shortstop and went 0-for-4. With Scott Rolen having the day off, Todd Frazier manned third and Miguel Cairo played first. Ryan Ludwick was back in the lineup after having the night off on Tuesday.
-To everyone’s relief, the Reds leave Milwaukee and visit Wrigley Field beginning Thursday night. Mike Leake (4-7, 4.51) takes the ball against Chris Volstad (0-8, 7.22) who has been every bit as bad as his numbers suggest.

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