Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Reds finish regular season silently in 1-0 Cardinals shutout

The Big 162 came to an anticlimactic close on Wednesday night in St. Louis as Washington’s win earlier in the day and Los Angeles’ loss the night before rendered the finale meaningless. The two teams played the game as such with many regulars either taking the night off or getting as much action as they’d see in a spring training game. When it was all said and done, the Cardinals came away with a 1-0 victory.

For all the good, bad and notable from the finale, read on.

The Cardinals clinched the second wild card spot with the Dodgers’ loss in the early morning hours of Wednesday and rolled out the Memphis lineup for this one. Cincinnati was locked into the National League No. 2 seed when Washington defeated Philadelphia earlier in the afternoon. Most of the regulars started, but for the most part came out after a couple of at-bats.

St. Louis starter Shelby Miller held the Reds hitless for five innings and left with a no-decision after six frames of one-hit ball. Homer Bailey, in his first outing since his no-no last week, got in four innings of four-hit work, allowing no runs, no walks and six strikeouts.

The Cardinals scored the game’s only run in the eighth off Tony Cingrani on an infield smash by Matt Carpenter. Chances are, Brandon Phillips would have made the play to save the run, but Henry Rodriguez had the ball eat him up and the run came across.

The Good
-Well, we’ll start with the obvious one here – the Reds are on their way back to the playoffs! The Redlegs finish the season with a 97-65 overall record and the No. 2 seed in the NL Playoffs.
-Wilson Valdez broke up Miller's no-no in the sixth.
-Cingrani had the only run of the game come across against him (the run was charged to Jonathan Broxton who fell to 4-5 with the loss), but looked impressive considering he hadn’t pitched since Sept. 13. Really like the looks of this kid’s stuff.
-The bullpen had four innings, allowing just one earned run.

The Bad
-The offense was non-existent tonight, much as it has been for the final month of the season. There’s plenty of reasons to be nervous about the Reds lineup heading into the playoffs.
-Broxton’s last pitch was a liner that appeared to hit him in the leg. He was pulled for Cingrani but appeared to be uninjured.
-Jay Bruce had a chance for RBI #100, coming to the plate with two outs in the ninth and Valdez at second base. He grounded out, however, to end the game.

The Notables
-Bruce finishes the year at 99 RBI, two more than his previous career high set last year. He also had a career-best 34 home runs.
-Just three Reds regulars finish the year hitting .275 or better – Joey Votto (.337), Phillips (.281) and Ryan Ludwick (.275). In all fairness, Ryan Hanigan finishes at .274 and Todd Frazier at .273.
-St. Louis finishes 88-74 and will head to Atlanta to play in the one-game Wild Card playoff on Friday.
-Cincinnati will now head to San Francisco to begin the National League Divisional Series on Saturday. Game 1 will see Johnny Cueto (19-9, 2.78) taking on Matt Cain (16-5, 2.79) with a scheduled first pitch of 9:37 p.m. Game 2 will send Bronson Arroyo against Madison Bumgarner. 

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