Friday, September 21, 2012

Offense sputters as Matt Kemp and Dodgers edge out Reds in extras

This guy put the clinch on hold, for now
A Cardinals loss to the Cubs earlier in the day meant that the Reds could clinch their second NL Central title in three seasons with a win over the visiting Dodgers on Friday. Unfortunately, the Reds (91-60) will have to wait at least one more day after suffering 3-1 defeat to LA (78-73) in extra innings.

There wasn't much offense in this contest, so let's skip right to the decisive inning.

Cincinnati ran into trouble in the top of the tenth when Sam LeCure hit leadoff hitter Juan Rivera. The next batter then reached when Joey Votto gambled and lost when trying to nail the lead runner at second. After a sacrifice bunt by Nick Punto and a walk issued to Mark Ellis, Sean Marshall came into the game to relieve LeCure. Marshall would do well in striking out the first batter he faced (Andre Ethier), but would allow a 2-run single to Matt Kemp to surrender the lead to Los Angeles, 3-1.

And that's how the final score would read as the Reds' record now drops to 7-7 in extra inning games.

Here is the good, the bad, and the notables from Friday's festive affair:

The Good:
+ Zack Cozart made his return to the lineup after missing 14 straight games with a strained oblique.
+ Scott Rolen stole a base. No, I'm serious he really did. It was actually the second of the year for him.
+ Bronson Arroyo excelled in all areas of the game tonight. Not only did he limit the Dodgers to one run over eight innings, but he also helped himself by producing an RBI (3) single in the fifth. All hail the performance by the golden-haired Arroyo!
+ Jonathan Broxton tossed a scoreless inning of relief in the ninth. He hasn't allowed a run in any of his last 13 appearances (13.0 IP).
+ You couldn't ask for a better night weather-wise. The fine folks in attendance enjoyed mild temperatures and a slight breeze on the banks of the Ohio.
+ I wasn't in the stands, but it sure seemed like a playoff atmosphere at GABP. The place was absolutely rocking.

The Bad:
- Brandon Phillips has been in a serious funk at the plate lately. He was 0-5 in this one and is now just 2 for his last 27 (.074).
- Cozart was also 0-4 as he showed a little rust from not playing in two weeks.
- The offense as a whole mustered only four hits and struckout a whopping total of 14 times.

The Notables:
+ Dusty Baker missed his third straight game. His doctors were concerned about him traveling and decided to keep him in Chicago for another day.
+ Todd Frazier was recognized during pre-game ceremonies as the Reds nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award. Frazier is one of the 30 Club finalists for the annual award, which recognizes a MLB player who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement.
+ Over 200 fans took in the action as part of the final #RedsTweetUp of the season. They were sold discount tickets that included a t-shirt of their choice and had a section dedication just for them.
+ Game two of the series will take place Saturday afternoon beginning at 4:05pm ET. Mat Latos (12-4, 3.76) will oppose Los Angeles' Stephen Fife (0-1, 2.49). The game will be aired to a nationally televised audience on FOX.

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