July 6, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Arroyo is congratulated following a three-hit 6-0 win against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

Best of 2012: #2 Performances

Sometimes, being second isn’t all that bad. You might agree with that when you see the games which rank as the #2 performances from the 2012 season. One might surprise you. The other two won’t. You could say that one might be deserving of the top spot within its specific category.

What’s on tap here: an appearance from the 2010 NL MVP, Sam leaving the Bucs staring and some guy that has the ability to play guitar and sing plays a number on the opponent.

Position Player: Joey Votto, April 29 v. Houston

Mat Latos would have a few rough starts at the beginning of the 2012 season. He did kind of make up for that later on in the year, but this was an outing that was not one for the archives. In his 6.1 innings, he allowed five runs on ten hits. He also allowed a pair of home runs.

No worries. The Reds have this guy named Joey Votto.

When Votto approached the plate in the bottom of the 4th, the Houston Astros held a 2-0 lead. With Zack Cozart on second, Votto took the first pitch from Jordan Lyles and…

451 feet? Yes sir. Those stacks are a long way from the plate.

Votto wasn’t done with his day either. He had more work to do.

He came to bat in the bottom of the 7th. The Good Guys were trailing 5-3. The inning started out on a good note as Ryan Hanigan singled and pinch-hitter Chris Heisey followed with a single of his own. Two on, no outs. A rally was in the making, right?

Well, not so fast. Drew Stubbs would bunt into a force play at third. Still, first and second, but one out. Still a chance. Um, again, not so fast. Astros reliever David Carpenter would strike out Zack Cozart in an 8-pitch at-bat. You know who was next to the plate. #19 was up to old antics.

A double from Votto. How boring. Seems like that all he does is hit doubles.

The Reds would come from behind for a 6-5 win. In the bottom of the 8th, Jay Bruce would crack a solo shot to provide the winning margin, but the game, as a whole, was Votto’s. He would drive in four of the six runs that crossed the plate.

Pitching Performance: Bronson Arroyo, July 6 in San Diego

PETCO Park has this stigma, one that is earned. Would anyone argue that pitcher’s love that place? I doubt Bronson Arroyo would. On this evening, Arroyo would love PETCO.

Bronson threw 110 pitches with 72 going for strikes. The only inning where the Padres threatened was the bottom of the 5th. After Arroyo struck out Yasmani Grandal to begin the inning, Yonder Alonso and Will Venable would each single, giving the Padres runners on first and second with only one out. Evereth Cabrera was coming to the plate…only to strike out. Next, was former Red Kip Wells.

Wells didn’t strike out, but he didn’t get a hit either as he would fly out and any chances the Padres had of scoring were gone. They would never get a runner to second base for the rest of the game.

For the night, Arroyo would allow only three base hits, all singles. He would issue only one walk while striking out eight.

Relief Performance: Sam LeCure, September 10 v. Pittsburgh

We’ve visited this game once. We re-visit the 14-inning affair between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Redlegs. This time, Sam LeCure pitched what would be no worse than his second best game of the entire year.

More on that in a bit…

As LeCure entered the game, he was replacing Aroldis Chapman. You read that correctly. Personally, I wasn’t worried because I know this. When LeCure is facing a based loaded situation (and this one was the creation of Chappy), Sam simply does not give in to the opposing batter. In fact, in LeCure’s career, opponents are a paltry 3-for-26 (.130) with 8 strikeouts.

Michael McKenry, aka “The Fort”, was to bat. On a 1-2 pitch, McKenry hit a grounder to third and the third out was recorded. LeCure’s work was not done. He even improved upon his 10th inning mastery.

Here’s what LeCure did in the top of the 11th…

Starling Marte: strikeout on 5 pitches
Brock Holt: strikeout on 6 pitches
Josh Harrison: strikeout on 4 pitches

Oh, and all three Pirate hitters were caught looking.

I say this was LeCure’s second best outing as his best was during Game 1 of the NLDS. I touch on that in a post I did about LeCure.

And, yes, the best of the best will be tomorrow…

Others in the Best of 2012 Performances series:

Best of 2012: #5 Performances
Best of 2012: #4 Performances
Best of 2012: #3 Performances

Tags: Cincinnati Reds

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