Monday, October 1, 2012

Cards put a damper on Dusty's return, edge out Reds

Dusty's return was one of the
few brights spots on the night
Monday marked the return of Dusty Baker to the Cincinnati dugout, but his return was spoiled somewhat by defeat. The Cardinals (87-73) inched one step closer to clinching a playoff berth by knocking off the Reds (96-64) by a score of 4-2 on Monday night.

St. Louis left-hander Jaime Garcia evened up his record for the year at 7-7 after hurling 6.2 innings of two-run ball. He also helped himself with a solo homer (1) in the third.

It's not all bad for the Reds though. Cincy still remains tied with the Nationals for the No. 1 seed after Philadelphia dropped Washington, 2-0.

Here is the good, the bad, and the notables from the series opener:

The Good:
+ Baker was back managing the team after an 11-game absence due to heart-related ailments.
+ Drew Stubbs had a couple of hits and scored a run.
+ Scott Rolen notched his 17th two-bagger of the year and also scored a run.
+ J.J. Hoover continues to pitch well out of the 'pen. He needed only eight pitches (six strikes) to record a perfect inning of relief in the ninth.
+ The Reds are still NL Central Champions.

The Bad:
+ Bronson Arroyo wasn't terrible, but it wasn't exactly good either. The right-hander allowed three runs (all earned) off six hits in five frames. He finishes the season with a record of 12-10.
+ The offense is still struggling to produce runs...and hits for that matter. That's not what you want heading into the postseason.
+ Joey Votto was hitless in four trips to the dish.
+ Ryan Ludwick also failed to produce a hit in three at-bats. He saw only six pitches total on the night.
+ Speaking of impatience at the plate, the Reds offense only drew one walk all game long (Ryan Hanigan).

The Notables:
+ Homer Bailey was named NL Player of the Week (9/23-30) on Monday. You may recall that he tossed the team's first no-hitter since 1988 on Friday.
+ Arroyo eclipsed the 200-inning mark for the seventh time in the last eight seasons. He also became the fourth Reds pitcher with at least 200 IP in 2012. The last time the club had four pitchers with 200+ IP was in 1943.
+ A hefty crowd of 38,480 watched their home team upend the visitors in a game that lasted just over two and a half hours.
+ Up next: Mat Latos (13-4, 3.52) takes the hill for his last start of the regular season and will counter Cardinals right-hander Chris Carpenter (0-1, 3.27). First pitch is slated for 8:15pm ET.

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