The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Johnny Cueto effectively knocked the Brewers out of the Wild Card race tonight, throwing 7 strong innings of 2 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 5 K ball. For the better part of 4 weeks, Cueto struggled more than we'd ever seen, but he's righted the ship in his last two starts while yielding only 2 ER and 10 hits over 13 combined innings. The Cy Young Award is a fickle one, for sure, and we have no way of really knowing which way voters will turn in this year especially, but the fact remains that Cueto seems to be re-finding his awesomenessitude just in time for the postseason. That bodes well for all of us.
Honorable mention is rightfully due to Dioner Navarro, who went 2 for 3 with a crucial 2 RBI single. Walt Jocketty has made numerous moves over the last year and a half to make this team what it is today, many of which were high profile and required much risk; that said, he's made several under the radar moves that have paid off in spades, one of which is Navarro's pickup on a minor league deal. Granted, Dioner had struggled since making the All-Star team for the Rays in 2008, but he's a switch hitting catcher who provides solid defense, and Walt effectively hedged his Latos deal bets with Navarro, and he's filled in for the struggling Devin Mesoraco quite effectively. Well done, Walter.
An additional mention is more than deserved for our Blogger-in-Chief RijoSaboCaseyWKRP. As you all can see, the move to the new format that SB Nation United prompted is a large one, and it's one that took no small undertaking. 'KRP has been asked to do a hell of a lot in this process, and he deserves some serious props for it. Many of you (myself included) have been a bit skeptical of the whole process, but the fact is the new system allows for a lot of new things to be included, and they will be. 'KRP has been tasked with a lot of stuff lately, much of which is not what you'd typically expect a baseball blog manager to have to deal with...but he's dealt with it, and he's a better man than I for doing it. Props, boss.
- It's been well documented that Brewers' rookie Mike Fiers has been struggling of late, and the Reds made sure to take note. They were patient with pitch counts early, and that paid off in the 2nd. Jay Bruce singled, Heisey followed suit, and Drew Stubbs even got in on the action. Navarro, however, got the one that mattered to Jeff Francouer, singling in both Bruce and Heisey. Reds led, 2-0.
- In the Top of the 5th, the Brewers got one back. Carlos Mitchell-Gomez is BatFlipMan doubled, and Jean Segura-Greinke singled to score him. Reds led 2-1, but they struck back immediately in the Bottom of the 5th. Zack "MVP/GG/Not-Valdez" Cozart led off with a triple, and Joey Votto followed with a double to score him. Todd Frazier struck out, but Jay Bruce's 35th double of the season scored Votto. Aside from a solo shot by Aramis Ramirez in the 7th, the Reds cruised home. Reds win, 4-2!
- I gave the Other Notes an exclamation mark. I hope that makes up for the lack of a jump to give them added oomph.
- Cueto's 19th win of the season is, of course, a career high. He'll have another shot at becoming the first 20 game winner for the Reds since Danny Jackson in 1988. I hope the Reds give him an apropo lineup for that night, too.
- Bruce's RBI double tonight gave him 98 on the season, a career high that tops his 97 from last year. Francouer approves.
- I'm normally not one for themes on the tunes of the evening, but tonight is a tad different. Why? Because things are different. It's all good though, folks. The Reds are still awesome, and they're still on track to dominate. Be ready, be happy, and keep being awesome. Still, it just doesn't feel right without Dusty in the dugout. I'm waiting for the man.