The Cincinnati Reds played their 34th game in 34 days Wednesday and were unable to dent the scoreboard in the first six innings. They had plenty of offense after that and came back from a two-run deficit to win 6-2 at Arizona and finish a series sweep. A double by Todd Frazierin the seventh followed by home runs by Chris Heisey and Dioner Navarro gave them the lead. They added on in the next inning with an infield single by Drew Stubbs followed by a Brandon Phillips homer. Heisey capped off the scoring that inning with his second long-ball of the evening.
Mat Latos improved his record to 11-4 by allowing two runs on five hits/three walks in seven innings and striking out seven. He also added two hits at the plate. J.J. Hoover and Jose Arrendondo each threw a scoreless inning to finish the game. The win made the Reds MLB’s first 80-game winner this season and a St. Louis loss at Pittsburgh gives them an eight game lead in the NL Central. Last year the Reds finished the season with 79 wins and this is the fastest the franchise has reached 80 in a season since the 76 Big Red Machine that went on the repeat as World Series champs.
Meanwhile Joey Votto had a second rehab appearance at Dayton and went 1-2 with a walk. He is expected to join the team for their trip to Houston and be activated this weekend after rosters expand. The Reds have gone 33-14 in Votto’s absence.
Heisey has been a valuable reserve for the Reds since his arrival in the spring of 2010 after being recognized as the Cincinnati minor league player of the year the previous season. The seventeenth round selection has hit .264 and slugged .450 while belting 32 HR in 764 MLB at-bats. He’s been considered for regular dutyi in the past as the Reds have tried multiple options in left field since the departure of Adam Dunn in 2008. Ryan Ludwick’s resurgence this season has gained him ownership of the position allowing manager Dusty Baker to continue utilizing Heisey as a “fourth outfielder”. He brings a solid glove to all three outfield positions and has come off the bench to hit .329 with six home runs in 73 career appearances as a pinch hitter.
Oddly enough, one struggle that the right-handed Heisey has faced is hitting left-handed pitching. Previous to this year he hit only .174 in over 150 AB against southpaws. He seems to have gotten things in order this season and that up to .275. As a result his current overall 2012 percentage of .282 is almost .030’ higher than his career average prior to this year.
"We felt that in Spring Training that we're a special team," Baker was quoted. "It's a good year to be a special team, for everybody. Our guys keep plugging along, winning ballgames any way we can win them."
Indeed they have and the future is looking bright with the expected return of their slugger this weekend. Frazier is hitting .294 and at the top of the list for Rookie of the Year. Johnny Cueto became MLB’s first seventeen game-winner in 2012 and has a great shot at becoming the first Red to win a Cy Young award. He may be challenged by teammate Aroldis Chapman who is putting together a historic season out of the bullpen. Votto appeared to be battling Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen for his second MVP before his knee surgery in July. Of course the hardware they want to bring home most of all is the Commissioner’s Trophy that will be handed to the World Series Champ. They’ve gotten stronger as the season has progressed and the pieces appear to be in place for a strong October run.
News from the Farm:
It was a slow day on the farm as Reds affiliates went 0-5.
Louisville lost at home to Columbus by a score of 4-2. Denis Phipps doubled twice and drew a walk while scoring both of the Bats runs. He was driven in by Didi Gregorius who had two hits and two RBI. Pedro Villarreal had a quality start, but still took his twelfth loss for the Bats. He allowed two runs on five hits/one walk in six innings.
Pensacola had the day off and will begin a season-ending five game series against Tennessee Thursday at Blue Wahoo Field.
Bakersfield lost at home 7-1 to Visalia. The Blaze trailed 2-1 before the Rawhide broke the game open with three runs in the sixth. Niko Vasquez had a couple of doubles and scored their only run. Tim Crabbe took the loss when he allowed two runs on five hits/one walk while striking out seven in five innings.
Dayton allowed two in the ninth in a 5-4 home loss against Great Lakes. Yorman Rodriguez and Juan Silva had two hits each for the Dragons and Junior Arias added a solo home run. Ismael Guillon got no decision from a quality start. He allowed two runs on five hits/two walks in six innings while striking out eight. El’Hajj Muhammad blew a save and took the loss when he allowed the final two runs on four hits/one walk when he pitched the ninth.
Billings allowed three in the ninth in a 6-4 home loss to Helena. Jesse Winker had two doubles for the Mustangs and Zachary Vincej added a couple of singles. Dan Langfield allowed only one run over the first four innings while negotiating around six hits/one walk and striking out seven. Alejandro Chacin entered in the eighth and finished the game, taking the loss from three runs (two earned ) allowed.
The AZL Reds allowed two in the eighth in a 3-1 loss at the AZL Dodgers. Brayan Arias had a couple of hits for the Reds. Pedro Diaz started the game with three scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out four. Jackson Stephens allowed both runs in the eighth for the loss.