May 20, 2012; Bronx, NY, USA; Chapman pitches against the New York Yankees during the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium. Reds won 5-2. (Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports)

2012 Reds Recall: May

As we continue our stroll through the Reds 2012 season, we arrive at the month of May. April ended with the Redlegs owning a record of 11-11 and sitting 3 games behind NL Central leading St. Louis Cardinals. The Good Guys had won 7 of its last 10 April games in an effort to level their record. May would see the Reds commence their claim for the division’s top spot.

After a rainout on May 1st, the Reds would drop a 2-1 decision to the Chicago Cubs and fall 4.5 games behind the Redbirds. That would represent their largest division deficit for the season. For the first ten games of the month, the Reds could only manage a 5-5 record. They did manage to shave a full game off the Cards lead to 3.5. Over the next six games, a 3-3 record and mediocrity was seemingly everywhere. Again, the Reds were able to knock a bit off the Cards lead by lopping another game off their lead to 2.5 games.

A turning point for the month came while Cincy was visiting the New York Yankees. After dropping the first game of the three-game series, the tide was a bout to change.

In the middle game against the Bronx Bombers, the Reds jumped out to a 2-0 lead after 2.1 innings. The Yankees weren’t done as they plated single runs in the next two innings to know the score at 2-2 as the game headed into the 5th. Wilson Valdez led off the inning with a single and Chris Heisey bunted his way aboard. Drew Stubbs would hit into a force out of Heisey and that brought Joseph Daniel Votto to the plate…

The Yankees answered back in the bottom of the frame with a Jayson Nix solo shot, but the Reds still held a 5-3 lead. The lead was 6-3 when Mike Constanzo hit a sacrifice fly to score Brandon Phillips. Game over, right? Not quite.

The Yanks made a lot of noise in the bottom of their final frame. With Sean Marshall on the hill, Raul Ibanez doubled and he would score on a Nick Swisher single. Still a 6-4 lead. Marshall caught Russell Martin looking at strike three, but Andruw Jones would single and Swisher would head to third. First and third with only one out. Nix would again be a pain with his second hit of the game, a single, which saw Swisher cross the plate and that 6-3 lead was now only a 6-5 lead. New York had runners at first and second with only one out.

Here comes Dusty. What? He’s taking his closer out of the game? For who? He had already used Logan Ondrusek and Aroldis Chapman.

Enter…Jose Arredondo.

Really? Yes, Jose Arredondo. But the Yankees were sending up The Captain. Oh no…

No need to fear. Arredondo would coax Derek Jeter into a weak grounder and a force out of Nix at second. The tying runner was now at third base and Curtis Granderson was heading to the plate.

On a 3-2 pitch…

Huge sigh of relief, literally. This win would be the beginning of the Good Guys embarking on a six game winning streak. By the end of that winning streak, the Reds were perched atop the NL Central. But there would be another change to come.

After this game on May 19, 2012, Dusty Baker would make an announcement…

Aroldis Chapman would be moved into the role as the Reds primary closer. I’ll not pull out my soapbox on this issue as I have well documented my desire for Chappy to be a starter. Others feel this move should have been made after the spring training injuries to Ryan Madson, Bill Bray and Nick Masset. We all know that it worked out for the best for the 2012 season.

The Reds would split the remaining six games of the month, but finished May with a 17-11 record, an overall record of 28-22, and a 1.5 game lead over the Cardinals.

Player of the Month: Joey Votto

Don’t honestly need an explanation, but I’ll provide one anyway. For May, Votto owned a triple slash of .355/.483/.677 with 6 HR and 14 RBI. If you recall (and this is a recall) three of those homers came in one game against the Washington Nationals. None more unforgettable than this one…

I have no clue if Ryan Zimmerman said anything to Votto. I doubt Joey cared at that point either.

Yes, have a game, Joey!

Pitcher of the Month: Mat Latos

He sure did struggle in April, but Latos had the best overall month of any Reds starter and showed signs that the talk of being a slow starter were true. Mat was 3-0 with a 3.26 ERA for the month and righted his ship with his first outing of the month. He pitched six innings in a 5-0 win over division rival Pittsburgh. In that game, Latos would record 11 whiffs while allowing only a pair of hits.

And onward to June…

To catch the past posts from this series…

2012 Reds Recall: April

Tags: Cincinnati Reds

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