Pressure's on, Votto!
The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Henry Rodriguez gets the nod, both for his walk and two-RBI double and for his ability to make Dave Cameron eat his words. Yes, Hank Rod posted a wRC+ of 59 this season...after breaking his wrist earlier this season at AA Pensacola (where he was slashing .348/.385/.439 in 144 PA before the injury).
Now, do I honestly think Rodriguez is a MLB caliber #3 hitter? No, no I don't, but I believe he's much, much closer to being that than Miguel Cairo is to being a MLB caliber #2 hitter. Where exactly am I going with this? Well, Cameron tweeted earlier that "Even Houston laughs at this group." That's categorically false, good sir.
Props are also due to Denis BABIPhipps and his 2 for 4 day, as well as to DiDi Smalls and his RBI single. I suppose I should also mention that Johnny Cueto returned to his ace ways, giving the Reds 6 shutout innings...but it was the Cubs, and who really celebrates shutting them down, anyway?
- This game was rather predictably boring for well over an hour. Loyal blog member angeeh even went so far as to say "This is BOR-RING." Somehow, my ability to quantify just how boring it was has dribbled over into this bullet point which, I might add, is beginning to sound every bit as boring.
- If you managed to set your alarm for the 7th inning, however, you awoke just in time for the fireworks (no big aerial launchers, mind you...more like one of those packs of 1,000 Black Cats that just kept popping). After Heisey grounded out, Phipps reached on an infield single, and Ryan Hanigan singled to follow. DiDi singled to plate Phipps, and Joey Votto pinch hit with a single that scored Hanigan. Xavier Paul got in on the small ball action with a single of his own, which scored DiDi, and after Miguel Cairo predictably did nothing, Hank Rod doubled to score Mike Leake (who came in to run for Votto) and Paul. Reds led, 5-0.
- Despite their efforts, the bullpen B team didn't quite let the Cubs back in this one. Jose Arredumpsterfire got the wobbliness started, and Sean Fire Marshall couldn't quite extinguish it all, allowing an inherited runner to score in the 7th. Logan Ondrusek allowed a moon shot to Beef Wellington Castillo in the 8th (a solo moon, thank goodness), and Alfredo Simon allowed Barney Jesus on in the 9th (and a run) before putting the last clamps down. Reds win, 5-3!
- Thanks to the efforts of the recent former minor leaguers (led by William Robert Hankerson Rodriguezfield, Jr.), the Reds became the first team in the majors to clinch at least a Wild Card berth. Shrug.
- The magic number continues to shrink, and now sits at 2. Just do yourselves a favor and don't ask Heeringa about magic deuces.
- In honor of today's results and proceedings, I give you this.
- The Reds return home for a set against the Wild Card chasing Los Angeles Dodgers, which begins tomorrow night at 7:10 PM ET. The Cardinals have a day game at Wrigley tomorrow, so there's a chance it could be a clinch game. Check it out!
- Get well soon, Dusty.