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Aroldis Got Squeezed, and then He Got Crushed. Marlins 2, Reds 1.

Bill Welke held low strikes in contempt tonight, and while that's his prerogative, it may well have changed the game.

Ed Zurga

Before we even approach talking about baseball, we all should stand and applaud the collective effort of each police and intelligence force that took part in the manhunt for the fugitive bombers of the Boston Marathon. It's been a harrowing experience for Bostonians, and it's a situation that has at many points given each of us a much more grounded perspective on the many things that we think we take seriously. Sometimes it's unfortunate that it takes such extremist acts for us to really realize the everyday contributions from which we benefit, but the Boston Police Department, the Massachusetts State Police, and the other enforcement agencies would be the first to tell you that while their acts over the past few days were heroic, they were also first and foremost just doing their job. They're that kind of dedicated, and I hope it makes you take a second glance at some of the things you think are important. It's certainly had that effect on me.

Tip a cap, raise a glass, and cheers these folks. While you're at it, give a preemptive tip of the cap to the future jurors on the case; they're going to be thrust into a spotlight they've never dreamed of. They'll need some support, too.

To baseball.

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Gam

It seems to be a recurring theme among the JNMHSotG voters (population: 1) that pitchers continue to get the nod here, and that's totally Okie Dokie. It was, of course, the pitching staff that carried the 2012 Reds to the heights they achieved, and despite the addition of Shin-Soo Choo in the offseason and Johnny Cueto's injury, I still consider this a pitching-led team. Mat Latos currently sits atop said staff, and he tossed a gem tonight that's totally praise worthy. Latos threw 7 innings, striking out 10 Fish while walking just one and allowing just one run. That's about as dominant as it gets.

Unfortunately, Latos was about the only Red who had a game worth remembering (he doubled, too). Former kinda-decent sorta bit-above-average AL starter Kevin Slowey somehow managed to put the kibosh on the Reds bats. I guess you can't score 11 runs every game. Sigh.

Key Plays

  • I speak with no facetiousness when I say that the Reds currently have not only an MVP candidate, but an MVP contender as their leadoff hitter. In the Bottom of the 1st, Choo made me feel like a natural woman with a triple off the wall in CF. Two batters later, Joey Votto swung at a 3-0 pitch, hit a deep fly to LF, Choo scored, and P-Doc began planning his victory parade. Reds led, 1-0.
  • In the Top of the 3rd, the Marlins did all they could do against Latos: small ball. Singles by Green and Solano preceded a sac bunt by Slowey, and Placido Polanco singledo to score Green, but Solano was thrown out attempting to score. Don't run on Bruce, gah. Game tied, 1-1.
  • Aroldis Chapman was tasked with pitching the Top of the 9th since no save situation presented itself, and the game took a turn for the worse from the Reds perspective. Sitting on a 2-1 count against Justin Ruggiano, Chapman threw what the Fox tracker showed was pretty clearly a low strike on a fastball. That would've made the count 2-2, and while Aroldis' overall stats are thoroughly dominant (.481 OPS against for his career), the difference between his OPS against in 2-2 counts ( and 3-1 counts (.898) is striking. That may have taken a slider out of the equation, and instead Chapman grooved a strike that Ruggiano crushed over the CF wall. The Reds went rather quietly in the 9th, and that was that. Reds lose, 2-1.

<iframe src="" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" height="450" width = "450" style="border:1px solid black;"></iframe><br /><span style="font-size:9pt;">Source: <a href="">FanGraphs</a></span>

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