So how have the Reds produced a 9-2 record since their best hitter, Joey Votto, submitted to the surgical knife? Easy. Pitching. Pitching. And more pitching.
Friday night's 3-0 win at Colorado was another example. Bronson Arroyo, whose steady diet of breaking balls often ended up flying through Denver's mile-high air, threw six and two-thirds innings of shutout baseball. He gave up six hits, struck out three and walked a batter in upping his record to 3-3 with a 3.76 ERA.
Going into Friday night's game, the Reds owned a 2.69 ERA since the All-Star break.
In the last seven games, Reds starters have all gone at least five innings and given up less than two runs.
- July 20 vs. Milwaukee – Bailey 8 IP, 0 ER
- July 21 vs. Milwaukee – Arroyo 6 IP, 2 ER
- July 22 vs. Milwaukee – Cueto 7 IP, 1 ER
- July 23 at Houston – Latos 5 IP, 2 ER
- July 24 at Houston – Leake 8 IP, 2 ER
- July 25 at Houston – Bailey 7 IP, 0 ER
- July 27 at Colorado – Arroyo 6.2 IP, 0 ER
Now throw in the back end where Aroldis Chapman keeps hurling 100-mile-per-hour darts. The fireballer picked up his 20th save on Friday, throwing another shutout inning. Chapman struck out the side, around one hit. He threw 11 pitches, 10 for strikes.
The pitching has been an antidote to a lineup that gets less out of its leadoff hitter (.200 average before Friday) than any other team in the National League. It is also the antidote to a missing Votto, who said that the team would be fine without him, especially given the schedule — many sub-500 teams — and he's been right.
Friday night was the seventh of the season for Reds pitchers. Better yet, it came in Colorado. How often does that happen? Not often. Dusty Baker said he couldn't remember the last shutout he had witnessed in Colorado.
Baker also said this, “Everybody is pulling on the same end of the rope.”
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