This is how this Reds team was designed to get it done. This is how this team was supposed to roll since the opening bell of this 2011 season. It might only last for a night, but the Reds looked like they were drawn up to operate last night in their 8-2 victory over the dreadful Cubbies at Great American Ballpark.
I am not a big fan of Mike Leake, in fact I do not like him much at all. But this is the second game in which the Reds had to have a big outing out of the young right-hander and he delivered by going 8 innings and only allowing 2 runs to improve his record to 5-2 on the year.
Leake lucked out. He is very hittable, but the Cubs are such a bad team that they couldn’t make the 10 hits they collected off Leake stand up. A better team would have probably manufactured more runs out of those 10 hits, but the Cubs floundered. They misplayed fly balls. They booted grounders. They made base-running errors. And the Reds aren’t perfectly constructed but they are put together a lot better than these Cubs.
Jay Bruce continued to hit like a man on fire. He scalded the ball four times last night, and three of them resulted in hits. He doubled twice and singled, scoring three runs on the night. He’s got an 8-game hitting streak going in which he’s gone 13 for 31 with 3 home runs and 7 RBI. He’s also hit in 17 of his last 18 games, and 19 of his last 22 games. More importantly is what I see with the eyes. He’s looking confident, and he’s spraying the ball to all fields. Fouling off pitches until he gets one he can handle and then hitting a mistake pitch hard. I am very, very impressed with him right now. He has been the most valuable player on the Reds to date this season.
Jonny Gomes had the biggest offensive night last night by driving in four–three by way of the long ball that just barely cleared the fence in left; and Ryan Hanigan added two base hits and two walks.
The Reds have to keep it rolling against a bad team like the Cubs before they head on a West Coast trip that will take them through San Francisco and Los Angeles. They have a lot of ground to make up. They weren’t 5 and 1/2 ballgames out all of last year, something that is making me increasingly paranoid as a fan.
-Redleg Nation introduces you to the Reds 1st round draft pick, Robert Stephenson.
–One of my favorite writers Paul Daugherty wrote about Jay Bruce in Sports Illustrated.