Thursday, September 20, 2012

Reds sweep Cubs behind Cueto, September call-ups


Don't mess with Speier's Reds.
Cincinnati was once again without the ailing Dusty Baker, as bench coach Chris Speier filled in as manager. The Reds (91-59) were looking to sweep the Cubs (58-92) and decline their magic number again by winning their fourth game in a row, while getting ace Johnny Cueto back on track. What better way to do that then to back up Cueto offensively with a mixture of September call-ups, bench players, Todd Frazier, and Ryan Hanigan? It's probably something to get used to as the Redlegs will certainly start resting players in preparation for the postseason once they clinch the division and their seed becomes more clear.

Cueto did have a great outing, throwing six shutout innings, allowing five hits and four walks, while striking out two. His counterpart on the mound was Cubs righty Jason Berken who also threw six scoreless innings with two strikeouts, while giving up two hits. The Reds youngsters did come though with a five-run seventh inning against Manny Corpas which ultimately led the Reds to a 5-3 victory.

Here's the good, the bad, and the notables:

The Good
-Cueto's outing gave him that elusive 18th victory he had been seeking and lowered his ERA to 2.84 on the season.
-Leading off, Xavier Paul went 2-for-4, with an RBI, a run scored, and a walk. His slash line is .324/.387/.456 for the season.
-Denis Phipps got his first major league hit, and scored the game's first run. He then doubled later in the game for his second career hit, finishing 2-for-4 with the run.
-In his only at-bat, pinch-hitting for Cueto, Joey Votto took a strike, then lined a single into left field to drive in the Reds second run for his 53rd RBI. Mike Leake then promptly replaced him as a pinch-runner.
-Henry Rodriguez collected his first two major league RBI with a double that scored Leake and Paul to cap the scoring in the seventh.

The Bad
-Frazier (0-for4) and Chris Heisey (0-for-3) were the only starters not to get a hit.
-The Cubs scored a run in the seventh as well. Jose Arredondo continued his second-half struggles getting just one out and being charged with a hit, a walk, and an earned run. It was Sean Marshall who actually gave up the hit that scored the run, but he then got a double-play to end the inning.
-Logan Ondrusek was cruising along, getting two outs before surrendering a solo homer, and give way to Alfredo Simon who got the final out of the eighth inning. Simon stayed on for the ninth and allowed an earned run in the process of earning a four-out save.

Notables
-With the win, the Reds became the first team in major league baseball to clinch a playoff berth.
-The magic number to win the NL Central is reduced to "2" with the win, since St. Louis also won today.
-Baker was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat, but expects to rejoin the team in Cincinnati on Friday.
-Simon was the seventh Reds pitcher to record a save this season.
-It was 71 degrees and partly cloudy at Wrigley Field, as 25,891 fans came together to watch the Reds defeat the Cubs.

Next up
The Reds welcome the Dodgers to Great American Ball Park on Friday night. Bronson Arroyo (12-8, 3.74) will square off against righty Joe Blanton (9-13, 4.97) with first pitch scheduled for 7:10pm.

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