Once again the Reds got a strong start from Mat Latos. The big right-hander surrendered only three hits/one walk in seven innings and the only run he gave up came on a solo homer in the third inning. Since the Reds parted with three prospects, time will ultimately tell who came out better from their offseason deal with the Padres. The Redlegs wanted a solid starter added to their rotation and Latos has done that. After a rocky April he's now brought his ERA down to 3.52 on the season, which is close to where he finished up in 2011 in pitcher-friendly PetCo Park.
Frazier's bat cooled down going 4-25 over his previous eight appearances. His game-tier last night raised his home run total to nineteen while hitting .278 in 454 AB as he gets ready to make a final push toward winning this year's rookie of the year award. Meanwhile left-fielder Ryan Ludwick has been out of action for a week now nursing stiffness in his groin as the Reds prepare their post season roster.
"I want to make sure I'm right before I go out there, because I don't want it to be wrong for the next month," Ludwick was quoted. "I feel like I'm right around the corner. I still feel a little bit in there. I don't feel it's smart with the situation we're in to push it." He is one of multiple injuries that have sidelined various Reds this month. Since the Reds have clinched the NL Central division title there is no reason to hurry him back to action. He took full batting practice on Wednesday and has been participating in running drills. Reds fans could see him back in action as early as this weekend.
Chris Speier remained at the helm while manager Dusty Baker is recovering from a minor stroke suffered during their recent trip to Chicago. He has been putting in time at the ballpark as the team prepares for post season but has yet to return to the dugout. "We're kind of working together a little bit with it," Speier said. "I wasn't sure what his plans were, so I had a lineup. I brought it in to him, and we kind of tweaked it a little bit. He's very active in that, believe me. I respect that, too. I wasn't about to hand a lineup over without checking with him first." Baker plans to return for the final series of the regular season at St. Louis on Monday.
Also last night, Cincinnati fans finished flipping the turnstiles for a regular season attendance of 2,347,251which is the highest for the franchise since Great American Ball Park's inaugural season in 2003. It is also a 6.1% increase over their 2011 total and of course the organization is hopeful to add several more gates in the post season. In the final season of their current mini-run of two division titles in three seasons, the Reds drew only around 1.75M. Cincinnati also made a splash in the offseason when they rewarded Joey Votto with a "large-market" type contract extension worth over $200M over ten years. Soon after that they inked Brandon Phillips through 2017. They are a privately held business and the increase's effect on bottom line would have a degree of guesswork for anyone outside of the organization. Still if one would speculate that the average attendee drops $50 during a visit to the ballpark that would estimate a revenue increase around $30M compared to 2009.
The Reds complete their regular season with a trip to Pittsburgh this weekend and close out the schedule at St. Louis. The division rival Cardinals are currently holding a three and a half game lead for the final wild card spot with tonight's Dodger game pending.