Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Janish single unclogs bases for Reds win

Last night, I attended the Reds game vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers on an absolutely beautiful night at Great American Ball Park. Joining me in attendance was Pete Rose, the all-time major league leader in hits, who was sitting in his usual location, right behind home plate.

Homer Bailey started the game for the Reds. He had somewhat struggled in his first two outings and was looking for a good performance in front of the home fans.

I watched him warm up in the bullpen before the game.

Homer had an especially tough challenge facing this Dodgers' lineup that really presents problems, top-to-bottom. Even Blake DeWitt, who was batting .249 before the game had an OBP well above. .400.

In comparison, the Reds lineup apparently packed little punch, with no hitters entering the game batting above .300 -- except for pitcher Homer Bailey. Particularly struggling was leadoff hitter, Drew Stubbs. Stubbs was hitting .167 at the start of the game and went 0-5 with two more strikeouts. I'd love to see Dusty Baker move him lower in the lineup, like to 7th or 8th and have Chris Dickerson play LF and bat leadoff.

Last night marked the very welcome return of Scott Rolen to the lineup. Rolen had missed the three game series in Pittsburgh against the Pirates with a sore back. The veteran third baseman responded with three line-drive hits, earning star-of-the-game treatment afterward.

After Homer gave up three runs on a bases-clearing, full-count double by Casey Blake, he settled down and held the powerful Dodgers lineup scoreless for four innings. I'll predict that's the only time the Dodgers will go four innings without scoring in this series.

After a quiet first inning, with Stubbs, Cabrera and Votto making outs, the Reds bats exploded with six runs in the second inning. Brandon Phillips ignited the rally with a towering home run to left field.

Rolen, Bruce, Gomes, and Hernandez all followed with hits. Homer Bailey reached first on an error by the Dodgers on his sacrifice bunt attempt. Stubbs struck out (with a runner on third) but both Cabrera and Votto knocked in runs to conclude the inning.

Two innings later, Joey Votto padded the Reds lead with a long, 2-run homer to right center field. Homer Bailey was cruising along at that point.

After Homer ran out of gas in the sixth inning, giving up two runs, the bullpen took over. A nice appearance by lefty Daniel Ray Herrera was followed by a shaky one by Logan Ondrusek, who manager Dusty Baker keeps using in very high leverage situations for the Reds. Arthur Rhodes entered the game and got Ondrusek and the Reds out of trouble in the seventh. But Nick Masset continued his troubling start to the season by blowing a four run lead in the top of the eighth.

To their credit, the Reds promptly responded in the bottom of the same inning. The eventual game-winning rally was begun by the smallest of plays, one that apparently doesn't even appear in Dusty Baker's playbook, Jay Bruce clogging the bases with a walk.

After a second walk to Ramon Hernandez further clogged the bases, defensive shortstop replacement Paul Janish came to the plate for a dramatic at bat with two outs.

Janish fought off an inside pitch and lined a single to left field, ultimately scoring two runs.

Coco Cordero came in to shut the door on the Dodgers in the ninth,

ending a five-game losing streak for the Reds.

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