And now we return to regularly scheduled, 2012 programming.
Even though we’re on the home stretch, the Redlegs put a pretty good squad on the field today – with one of the better lineups we’ve seen in weeks taking the field behind Johnny Cueto. Neither disappointed.
The Reds took the lead early on a somewhat bizarre rally by the second half of the lineup. In the bottom half of the second, Jay Bruce hit a single. Then, Heisey hit another single. And then, triumph of triumphs, Drew Stubbs comes up and hit a single. Unfortunately, the hits and the baserunning did not combine particularly well, so after three batters, we had three men on and no outs. Thankfully, Dioner Navarro comes up and hits yet another single, which scored Bruce and Heisey. After that, you can hardly blame Johnny Cueto for not hitting the ball – but he did put down an arguably successful sacrifice bunt. Phillips did come up and hit yet another single – making it five singles in the inning, but Cozart hit into a double play, ending the inning.
The Reds didn’t score again until the 5th, and this inning was all extra base hits. Cozart redeemed his earlier GIDP with a triple, was driven in by a Votto double, and Votto by a Jay Bruce double. After that, Mike Fiers was done for, and Milwaukee brought in Brandon Kintzler, who got them out of the jam.
That was all the run scoring the Reds did, but it was all we needed tonight, because Cueto had a pretty excellent game, going seven innings, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits, one home run, no walks, and 5 strikeouts. He also finished in just 95 pitches. There’s no specific reason why Cueto didn’t go out in the 8th, but we had a lead, a well-rested bullpen, and there had been a been a little baserunning incident in the second inning. That brings Cueto up to 19 wins, which keeps him well able to hit 20 for the season. It is a meaningless milestone, but the last time any Reds pitcher had 20 or more wins in a season was the 1988 performance of Danny Jackson – and he threw over 260 innings that year. If Cueto reaches 20, he’ll do it in less than 220.
While this was not the start Cueto needed to jumpstart his name in the Cy Young conversation again, it was excellent, and we shouldn’t forget what an amazing year he’s had for the Reds. One that should go in the Reds record-books, if no one else’s.
The more important, and dismaying news is that Dusty Baker’s mystery ailment is a mini-stroke that he suffered in Chicago. It’s no wonder, then, that he’s been kept under observation, and we’re pretty lucky that a trainer was around and knowledgable enough to know that Dusty needed to be taken to the hospitable immediately. Dusty Baker is extremely important to this ball club, and we’d all like him back for the playoffs, but I know all of us in Redsland wouldn’t want Dusty to rush or put his health in any danger at all. Please feel better soon, Dusty.