Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Francisco Cordero. I had very little hesitation handing him this one, though if he hadn't picked up the game-winning hit, I might have suppressed the JNMHSotG hitters' bias enough to give it to Bronson Arroyo or the young Casey Coleman (6 IP, 6K, 2 ER). Honorable mentions go also to Ryan Hanigan and Carlos Pena.. Kosuke F'd it to me with a 3-5 day and a game-winning single in the bottom of the 9th off
- Drew Stubbs was quintessential lead off material in the top of the first, walking and stealing second base. He was abandoned there by Renteria, Votto and Phillips.
- Arroyo (!) and Renteria reached in the 3rd. Joey Votto came to the plate with one out and decided to strike out. Phillips loaded the bases by blocking a pitch with his arm, but the threat was snuffed for good by Jay Bruce's ground-out.
- Mighty Casey held the Reds scoreless until the 7th inning, striking out Joey Votto and Jay Bruce twice each. The Reds' 2-6 hiters (Renteria, Votto, BP, Bruce, Heisey) looked almost entirely punchless against the rookie.
Bronson Arroyo was good in his own right, making this one an unlikely pitchers' due. He went 7.1 strong, scattering 7 hits and yielding only one earned run on a Blake DeWitt home-run in the fourth.
- Arroyo had little trouble after the 4th, aside from surrendering a Fukudome double in the 5th inning. But he was being harangued by lack of run support. That would change, however slightly, in the 7th inning. With Hanigan and Heisey on the corners, Kerry Wood came on in relief of Casey Coleman to face Fred Lewis, making his third appearance of the season from the bench. Which, if you're a judge, is a nice place for self-reflection and profound thought. "Super F.Lewis" made a productive out, bringing home Heisey and swapping out for Hanigan. Arroyo bunted Lewis over and Stubbs brought him home on a single. Reds lead, 2-1.
- There was a disquieting peace between the top of the seventh and bottom of the ninth, punctured only by a Darwin Barney single. Though they got to Kerry Wood in the 7th, who's arguably been throwing the best of any Cubs' pitcher they saw today, Reds' hitters weren't able to touch Marco Mateo.
- The Reds maintained a 2-1 lead entering the bottom of the ninth. Francisco Cordero came into the game with a 1.29 ERA and 0.857 WHIP. Like his 5.9 K/9 rate, these numbers felt suspiciously low. But CoCo (the second "co" is for "contract") was the man for the job. He wasted no time in striking a resemblance to himself at his 2010 shakiest, erasing the lead on a lead-off HR by Carlos Pena. He coaxed outs from Soto and Colvin, facing Jeff Baker with the hopes of stranding Blake DeWitt at first. At some point, Aroldis Chapman began warming. Baker got under a ball that may have been a home run on some days at Wrigley. Stubbs also got under it, but took an awkward route. He may have ultimately misplayed a catch-able ball. It was instead caught up in the wind, bounced to his left, over the wall and deemed a ground-rule double. Had the ball somehow touched Stubbs before hopping over the wall, the game would have been over. DeWitt returned to third and Fukudome stepped to the plate. At this point, after a single and two HR-class fly balls, Dusty may have considered bringing in a lefty to face the lefty. Or, at least, walking Fukudome to get to Barney, setting up a force out at any base with two outs. None of that happened, hindsight is 20/20, Fukudome singled and the Cubs walked off. Reds lose, 3-2.
- Paul Janish was probably unavailable for this game, even if it had gone 9+. With only Ramon on the bench going into the 9th, this could have been an ugly extra innings game, though having Leake's bat available in long relief would have helped.
Ryan Hanigan threw out only his 3rd runner of the season. His CS rate entering today's game was 12%.
- This was Francisco Cordero's first blown save in six attempts. He's been quite good this year, though the decline in K-rate is an ongoing concern. Unless you're 2008's Brad Lidge, with an assist from statistical aberration, blown saves are going to happen.
- Cordero posted a -.786 WPA, reflecting the fact that he entered the game with a nearly 80% probability of a Reds' victory.
- The Reds' 2-6 hitters were highly ineffectual, combining for a -.323 WPA of their own. Renteria, Votto, Bruce, Phillips and Heisey went a combined 1-17 with three BBs.
- Joey Votto extended his on-base streak to 33 games. If he's in the lineup and reaches tomorrow, he'll tie the team record for season-starting streaks (A SSS we can all get behind.)
|Final - 5.7.2011||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|WP: Marcos Mateo (1 - 1)
LP: Francisco Cordero (2 - 1)