Sep 20, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Rodriguez with a key two-run single as the Reds defeated the Cubs, 5-3.. (Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE)

Reds Sweep Cubs, Clinch Playoff Spot

Upon initial glance of the Reds starting lineup for today, who would have thought it would help direct Cincinnati to three-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs AND clinch no less than a spot in the MLB postseason. Stranger things have happened in the world baseball, and there may be a few that would classify today’s Reds 5-3 win as such.

I mean, I saw this lineup and I thought back to the scene in major league where the “gang” is collected at a local establishment eyeballing the sports section of the newspaper and wondering who in the world the guys are that had made the roster. The lineup for today’s game (which was worked out by manager Dusty Baker prior to leaving for a Chicago are hospital yesterday) wasn’t quite that full of unknowns, but it had a little of that feel.

Here it was, and I honestly thought it wasn’t correct. Turns out (after checking a couple of reliable places) that is was, in fact, THE starting lineup.

1. Xavier Paul
2. Miguel Cairo
3. Henry Rodriguez
4. Todd Frazier
5. Chris Heisey
6. Denis Phipps
7. Ryan Hanigan
8. Didi Gregorius
9. Johnny Cueto

I posted this to the BRM Facebook page and as out own John Rentz noted, seeing some “new blood” is exciting. The timing of such may have felt a little off, but I have been eager for a game where a lineup like this would take the field.

And these “kids” pulled through.

Since Xavier Paul has joined the team, he’s done nothing but hit. He has been a valued member of the bench despite only being a Red for 45 games. He has added a much needed lefty bay off the bench and added 11 hits (.344 BA) when in a pinch-hitting situation. He drew the start in left field and was atop the lineup.

Next was the elder statesman of the roster, Miguel Cairo. Batting second? Yep. Worked out pretty good, too.

And then Henry Rodriguez? Hey, no one’s going to confuse 5-10, 150 pound Rodriguez as being your prototypical #3 hitter, but it has been noted on many an occasion, all Rodriguez does is hit. And he did that today as he only hit was the deciding factor in the game, a two-run double.

Todd Frazier was cleanup. Chris Heisey was batting 5th. They’ve played a game or two this season.

In the 6th slot was Denis Phipps. The native of San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic teased us during spring training when he hit .316. His time with Louisville saw a stint on the disabled list and producing a slash of .221/.293/.401 with 15 HR and 45 RBI. Not what some of us had envisioned, but Phipps added to his value in playing all three outfield positions, primarily center. Today, Phipps cracked a pair of hits, his first as a major leaguer.

Ryan Hanigan 7th? For real? I’m honestly not making that up. Well, that may have been because Didi Gregorius was batting 8th.

These so-called “minor leaguers” got a little help from Joey Votto. Votto had a pinch-hitting appearance of his own and knocked a single into left field which scored a run. I think this non-RBI thing is clearly over now.

So, as Reds put the finishing touches on the game which saw Alfredo Simon become the 7th reliever to record a save this season, the Reds had also clinched a playoff spot. Not the division title, just a playoff spot. Nice to see the young blood and some familiar faces put the capper on a sweep and a clinching of a playoff spot.

And there would be no celebration of such after the game. Why is that? All you need to do is check out John Fay’s Twitter.

 

I don’t think any more need be added here.

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Tags: 2012 Playoffs Cincinnati Reds

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