Found September 21, 2012 on Fox Sports Ohio:
Mlb_cincinnati_reds_194c
The Cincinnati Reds became the first team to secure a playoff spot and a division title seems inevitable. The Los Angeles Dodgers' chance of winning their division is bleak and they're running out of time in the wild-card race. The Reds, who hope to have manager Dusty Baker back in the dugout, could have a shot at clinching the NL Central in Friday night's series opener with the scuffling Dodgers. By sweeping a three-game series from the Chicago Cubs with Friday's 5-3 win, Cincinnati (91-59) ensured itself of at least a wild-card berth. The Central crown could be wrapped up as early as Friday, if second-place St. Louis, which is 11 games back, loses to the Cubs in the afternoon and the Reds beat the Dodgers. "There's a lot of work left," reliever Sean Marshall told the Reds' official website. "We've got a lot of games to win if we want to win the World Series." Cincinnati won its last two games without Baker, who was hospitalized in Chicago with an irregular heartbeat. General manager Walt Jocketty said he didn't know if Baker would be able to manage Friday. "Hopefully he'll be back with us (Friday) and when it really matters, when we clinch (the division)," Marshall said. "Hopefully we get to celebrate this weekend with him." While Baker's status is uncertain, Joey Votto will be back in the starting lineup after most of the regulars rested Friday. Votto is batting .391 during a seven-game hitting streak, and is batting .348 with six homers and 22 RBIs in his last 17 games against the Dodgers, whose postseason chances appear to be fading. Los Angeles (77-73) was one-half game out of a playoff spot Sept. 3, but has lost 10 of 14 since and is now three back of the Cardinals for the NL's second wild card with 12 to play. Winning the NL West is just about out of the question, seeing as it's dropped 10 games behind first-place San Francisco. "We're going the wrong direction," Don Mattingly said. "For us at this point, we're going to have to put a run together that's going to be more than just win a series." A sluggish offense has been one of the biggest reasons for Los Angeles' recent struggles. It managed four hits in Thursday's 4-1 loss, and has totaled seven runs in its last seven defeats. Matt Kemp has been responsible for some of this mess, batting .148 with three RBIs and 17 strikeouts in his last 13 games, dropping his average 28 points to .303. Kemp has given scheduled starter Bronson Arroyo problems, batting .409 with two homers in 22 career at-bats, but that hasn't led to many victories for Los Angeles. Arroyo (12-8, 3.74 ERA), who has yet to face the Dodgers this season, has a 2.60 ERA in winning his last four starts in the series. Against Miami on Friday, the right-hander allowed four runs and nine hits in six innings of a 4-0 loss. It was the first time he gave up more than three runs since Aug. 6, having gone 5-0 with a 2.40 ERA in his previous six starts. The Dodgers counter with Joe Blanton (9-13, 4.97), who allowed three runs and four hits in 5 2-3 innings in Saturday's 4-3 comeback win over St. Louis. The righty is 1-3 with a 6.43 ERA in his last six starts, going less than six innings four times. Blanton, who is making his first appearance in the season series, is 2-0 with a 4.85 ERA in four career starts against the Reds.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Reds’ Baker to miss at least 3 games for health reasons

Last Game The Reds clinched a playoff berth yesterday when they swept the Cubs. Johnny Cueto broke his losing streak by pitching 6.0 innings and allowing 0 runs on 5 hits. He also walked 4, which isn’t very good, but I like the shut-out part. Next Game Tonight the Reds return home to host the Dodgers. Bronson Arroyo (RHP, 12-8, 3.74 ERA) will take the mound against Joe Blanton...

Reds' Baker heads for X-rays to rule out pneumonia

Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker left Wrigley Field in street clothes more than two hours before first pitch Wednesday night to get chest X-rays to ''rule out pneumonia,'' a Reds spokesperson said. It is unclear whether he will be back in time to manage the game. Bench coach Chris Speier would manager in Baker's absence. Cincinnati leads the NL Central by...

Reds' Baker expected to return to Cincinnati on Friday

Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker spent his second night in a Chicago-area hospital after undergoing tests for an irregular heartbeat. GM Walt Jocketty visited Baker on Thursday morning. He reported that Baker felt good, but doctors wanted to keep him overnight for observation. "We looked very good," said Jocketty after the Reds' 5-3 win over the Chicago Cubs...

Reds Baker to stay in hospital for monitoring

CHICAGO (AP) -- Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker underwent another test Thursday and will remain hospitalized at least one more day so doctors can monitor his progress after he was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat. If all goes well, Baker could return to Cincinnati on Friday, the team said. General manager Walt Jocketty visited Baker in the hospital Thursday morning and reported...

Reds manager Baker stays another night in hospital

Reds manager Dusty Baker remained in a Chicago-area hospital Friday night. The Reds played their third game without Baker, 63, who was hospitalized Wednesday with an irregular heartbeat. Bench coach Chris Speier managed again Friday in their 3-1, 10-inning loss to the Dodgers. "Bottom line, I'm worried," Speier said. "You have your good, good close friend that...

Reds' Baker out again with health issue

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Rookie shortstop Zack Cozart considered what it would be like to celebrate a division title without the manager who made it possible. It wouldn't be nearly so satisfying without Dusty Baker doing some dousing. The Reds missed a third straight game on Friday because of problems caused by an irregular heartbeat. Doctors in Chicago advised him to spend one more...

Going to the Postseason

The Reds clinched a playoff berth today by sweeping the Cubs at Wrigley Field today. They were the first MLB team to clinch, and the victory (accomplished by a mostly scab lineup and with Dusty Baker out of comission) was their 91st of the year. Sometime in the next day or so, the Reds will clinch the NL Central division. And I’ll follow up with a longer post. Today should have...

Reds clinch playoff spot with win

Dusty Baker was missing when the Cincinnati Reds became the first team in the majors to clinch a playoff spot. The main man in the dugout was sidelined Thursday for a second straight game after being diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat. ''Obviously we won the last two games for him. We have him in our thoughts, but we got good news on his update,'' reliever Sean...

Reds beat Cubs, clinch playoff spot

CHICAGO (AP) -- Dusty Baker was missing when the Cincinnati Reds became the first team in the majors to clinch a playoff spot. The main man in the dugout was sidelined Thursday for a second straight game after being diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat. "Obviously we won the last two games for him. We have him in our thoughts, but we got good news on his update," reliever...

Reds Take Central Crown

With their 6-0 blanking of the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers in front of a sold-out Great American BallPark crowd on Saturday, the Cincinnati Reds clinched the 2012 NL Central Division championship.It marked the second time in three years that the five-time world champs have accomplished the feat, but this year's team is so much stronger than the 2010 outfit. Also, this club is...

Reds sweep Cubs behind Cueto, September call-ups

Don't mess with Speier's Reds. Cincinnati was once again without the ailing Dusty Baker, as bench coach Chris Speier filled in as manager. The Reds (91-59) were looking to sweep the Cubs (58-92) and decline their magic number again by winning their fourth game in a row, while getting ace Johnny Cueto back on track. What better way to do that then to back...

Latos has been worth the price for Reds

There were high expectations entering the 2012 season for Mat Latos. Most of those expectations were derived from the cost it took to acquire him. Many thought the Reds gave up too much for the right-hander when the team shipped four players (Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal, Edinson Volquez, Brad Boxberger) for his services back in December. Others were concerned with how...

Reds 6, Cubs 5(11)

Drew Stubbs hit a tiebreaking RBI single in the 11th inning Wednesday night and Cincinnati beat the Chicago Cubs 6-5 hours after Reds manager Dusty Baker left the ballpark for chest X-rays. A team spokesman said the tests were to ''rule out pneumonia.'' Bench coach Chris Speier brought the lineup card to home plate and there was no sign of the 63-year-old Baker during...
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.