Reds manager Dusty Baker has repeated this numerous times over the course of the season. It’s never been truer than in September.
“When we left spring training, we said it might take us all 40 men to do this,” he said. “If everybody chips in a little bit or a lot, then it’s going to equal good results.”
The Reds’ 40-man roster includes only a couple of guys who haven’t contributed at all, the injured reliever Nick Masset for instance. There are players on the 40-man who aren’t on the active roster now, like outfielder Donald Lutz, but who contributed at some point.
Today’s game could serve as a good example of why it takes a full system of players to produce a winner. Tony Cingrani is the scheduled starter, and Greg Reynolds will be ready if Cingrani’s lower back strain causes problems again.
Both players started the season at Triple-A Louisville. Now they’re key players in one of the most important games of the season, the Reds’ last chance to face the Cardinals in the regular season.
This will be Cingrani’s first start since Aug. 20 when he left a game against the Diamondbacks with a lower back strain. Reynolds made two starts in Cingrani’s absence.
“We’re not sure exactly what we’re going to get (from Cingrani),” Baker said. “We think we’ve given him plenty of time. That’s why we put him on the DL, to get well. We hope he comes through tomorrow and gives us some quality. We’re not sure about his endurance, but I’m glad it’s September and we’ve got some guys who can pitch behind him.”
Cingrani has made one start against the Cardinals. He allowed three runs in five innings in an 8-3 win Aug. 3 in Cincinnati.
Hot bats: Reds shortstop Zack Cozart has slowly and quietly raised his average in the last three weeks from .236 on Aug. 13 to .252 on Tuesday. He carried an eight-game hitting streak into Wednesday’s game. He was hitting .354 in his last 19 games.
“I’m just hitting the ball better,” Cozart said. “The last 10 games or so, my hits are going up the middle or the other way. That’s just me adjusting to how they’re pitching me. I’m sure they’ll adjust soon enough the other way. I feel good at the plate.”
Chris Heisey’s average is also on the upswing. He was hitting .206 as recently as Aug. 13. He started Wednesday in left field. In his previous six starts, he hit .462 (12-for-26), raising his season average to .247.
Attendance record: The Reds are still on pace to break the Great American Ball Park attendance mark of 2,355,259 established in 2003. Through Tuesday, the season attendance stood at 2,074,390.
The Reds need to average just over 20,000 per game in the last 14 home games to break the record. Attendance started dropping for weekday games when school began in late August. The Reds drew 20,219 on Tuesday. A Tuesday game a month earlier against the A’s drew 34,640.
Reliever J.J. Hoover described Tuesday’s attendance as “pitiful” on Twitter. Fellow reliever Sam LeCure was more diplomatic.
“Sure would be nice to see a packed house tonight against a team we are chasing to go to the playoffs,” LeCure wrote. “Hint hint.”