The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
I feel like I'm sounding redundant, but that's what happens when Mat Latos continues to shut down the opposition in low scoring games. Latos, who gets the nod today on his wife's birthday (Hi Dallas!), was simply dominant while also being pitch efficient on a day where the Reds needed him to go deep into the game. Mat allowed just 5 hits (none for extra bases) and a single earned run over his 8 innings of work, and he struck out 6 while walking no one, and he now sits at 13-4 with a 2.93 ERA on the season.
Yeah, Clayton Kershaw is going to win the Cy Young award in the National League this year, but that doesn't take away the fact that Latos has been every single bit of the pitcher the Reds had hoped for when they acquired him. Props, big guy.
A very, very, very special Honorable Mention is deserved by two other Reds, both of whom had spectacular games, too. The first goes to Shin-Soo Choo, who was 2 for 4 at the plate, scored both Reds' runs with aggressive baserunning, and tracked down a few balls in CF for good measure; the second goes to Sam LeCure, who was called upon to pitch the 9th inning today following the injury to Jonathan Broxton and the unavailability of Aroldis Chapman, and Sam kept the heart of the Arizona order off the scoreboard to pick up his first career save at the Major League level.
As a side note, I'd like to give an extra special hat-tip to Joey Votto. Despite having a very ho-hum day by his standards, Votto still managed to go 1 for 2 with a single and two walks. His two walks also both featured wild pitches that considerably helped the Reds score runs as the Diamondback pitchers were unwilling to throw him a strike; however, in the Bottom of the 9th inning, 'tHom and Welsh were heaping praise on the successes of Paul Goldschmidt, and rightfully so, before 'tHom closed with a comment that seemed as asinine and pointed as possible. "And he swings the bat," 'tHom said. Get out of here, 'tHom. Just get right on out.
- The Reds loaded the bases in the Bottom of the 2nd, but Mat Latos struck out to end that mini-rally. Struggles from Trevor Cahill in the Bottom of the 3rd let the Reds scrape across their first run of the day, though. Shin-Soo Choo led off with a single to CF, and Joey Votto walked after Todd Frazier struck out. In the midst of Votto's at-bat, Cahill threw a wild pitch that moved Choo to 2nd, and his ball four to Votto also went to the backstop, allowing Choo to advance again to leave runners on 1st and 3rd. Another Cahill wild pitch, his third of the inning, moved Votto to 2nd, and a ground ball to the right side of the infield from Brandon Phillips scored Choo. Ryan Ludwick nearly hit what would've been a 2-run double down the LF line, but it landed foul and Luddy later struck out looking. Reds led, 1-0.
- Adam Eaton and Paul Goldschmidt led off the Top of the 4th with back to back singles off Latos, but the Reds' right-hander got a ground ball double play from the next Diamondback, Martin Prado. Unfortunately, Aaron Hill followed with a smash that shorthopped Todd Frazier at 3rd, bouncing off the 3B's glove to go for a single that allowed Eaton to score from 3rd. Game tied, 1-1.
- Cahill settled down after looking rocky early, and he held the Reds in check before leaving after 7 complete innings. Eury De La Rosa took over to pitch the Bottom of the 8th for Arizona, and the Reds took advantage of the change. Choo led off with a single and moved to 2nd on a throwing error from De La Rosa. Frazier followed with a sac bunt because, well, that's what number 2 hitters do, and it worked as designed as Choo moved to 3rd to set up a paycheck earning opportunity for Joe Dan Votto. Unfortunately for Votto, his ability to work a 3 ball count won't count as earning himself an RBI or, therefore, a paycheck, but fortunately De La Rosa threw one to the backstop while nibbling against the Reds' 1B, and Choo adeptly motored home. Slammin' Sam LeCure was then brought on for his first save opportunity, and the mustachioed Missourian muscled and manipulated the measly, meager efforts from the Diamondbacks to end the game. Reds win, 2-1!
Fangraph Section That Has Become Commonplace in Latos' Starts