Friday, June 25, 2010

Back on Top!

It was a great night for the Reds.  A commanding 10-3 win over the Indians coupled with a 4-2 loss for the Cardinals puts the Reds back in first place by a half game.  Aaron Harang didn't pitch the cleanest game, but he got through seven innings on just 108 pitches despite walking five and giving up two home runs.  Logan Ondrusek and Micah Owings each threw a clean inning of relief.  Offensively, the Reds were paced by Drew Stubbs with a homer and 4 RBIs.  Scott Rolen added a homer, and Joey Votto extended his reached base streak to a MLB season high 33 games by drawing two walks.  Besides Harang, Votto was the only Reds starter without a hit.

By itself, taking first place back from the Cardinals would be a big night, but it was a great night for nearly the whole organization.  In AAA, Louisville's Travis Wood shut out Norfolk 7-0, striking out 9 in eight efficient innings.  At the AA level, the Carolina Mudcats had a solid 11-4 win behind the hitting of Kris Negron (2 for 4 with a 2B, HR, BB and 4 RBI) and David Sappelt (a double short of the cycle) and a solid start from Tom Cochran.  (If there was one down-side to the night, it is that Brad Boxberger gave up 3 runs in one inning of relief in his AA debut.)  At high A Lynchburg, James Avery struck out 7 in five innings as Lynchburg beat Kinston 9-1.  Brodie Greene had 4 hits, and Josh Fellhauer added 3 for the Hillcats.  Then there's Dayton.  They lost to Lansing 7-6 in 11 innings.  I guess you can't win them all.  On the plus side, Cameron Satterwhite continued his torrid hitting with 3 doubles and Tim Crabbe threw five one-hit innings (although he did walk six).

After a rough first half of the season for the Reds minor league teams - all four top teams were in last place in their respective divisions when Dayton and Lynchburg went to their All-Star breaks - it is good to turn the page and look ahead to the second half of the season.  Louisville has a 10 game deficit to make up on Columbus for the division and a 7 game deficit to Scranton for the wild card.  Unlike the other three minor league teams, they don't get to start with a clean slate for the second half.  Hopefully Carolina, Lynchburg, and Dayton will take advantage of this opportunity and put together a strong showing in the second half.  There is a lot of talent in the system.  They've just got to convert that into wins.  Tonight was a step forward for the organization.

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