Mat Latos throws in the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Wednesday as good as it gets for Reds

Yesterday was a good day for Reds fans.

First, there was the game, a 6-2 Reds win over the Diamondbacks that saw the good guys hit four home runs to finish off a sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Mat Latos struggled early, as he and catcher Dioner Navarro seemed to be on different wavelengths. But they eventually settled in, and Latos earned his 11th win with seven strong innings. Navarro chipped in offensively with one of the four bombs, while Brandon Phillips hit another and Chris Heisey hit two.

Meanwhile, Joey Votto was playing his second rehab game in Dayton, where he had a hit and a walk in three plate appearances. He remains on track for a Saturday return.

And when he does, the lineup will finally be rearranged. At least, that’s according to Hal McCoy. It should be noted that McCoy does not travel with the team, and neither Mark Sheldon or John Fay mentioned anything about a lineup shuffle. But it looked like McCoy wasn’t just speculating.

He wrote that upon Votto’s return, Brandon Phillips will be moved back to the leadoff spot, with Ryan Ludwick remaining at cleanup. Zack Cozart will bat second, and Drew Stubbs will be moved down to seventh, finally breaking up the black hole at the top of the lineup that our own John Heitz wrote about yesterday. I think I speak for all Reds fans when I say “THANK GOODNESS.”

But perhaps the most exciting news of all was about the most exciting player in the Reds system: Billy Hamilton. No, he’s not coming up. At least “probably not,” according to Walt Jocketty. He will, however, be playing in the Arizona Fall League.

In the outfield.

In fact, he was officially listed in the press release as an outfielder. And another Reds shortstop prospect, Didi Gregorius, will also be playing in the league. So expect to see Hamilton play in centerfield this fall. And expect fans to be calling for Hamilton to replace Stubbs in centerfield constantly from February until his eventual call up.

If all that weren’t enough for one day, the Pirates helped out the Reds by knocking off the Cardinals, extending Cincinnati’s NL Central lead to a whopping eight games. Your Cincinnati Reds once again possess the best record in baseball and are the first in the league with 80 wins. The last time the Reds had 80 wins this early in the season was 1976. They did some good things that year, from what I’ve heard.

Today? An off day. I think the players, media, and even the fans could use one of those.

Tomorrow? Bring on the recently-eliminated-from-playoff-contention Astros. Believe it or not, entering play today, Houston has exactly half as many wins as Cincinnati does.

And then… he’s back…

Tags: Billy Hamilton Cincinnati Reds Joey Votto MLB NL Central

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