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LHP Aroldis Chapman was being groomed as a starter in spring training before the Reds chose to scrap that plan and kept him as the closer. He has responded with 20 saves in 23 opportunities and 59 strikeouts in 39 innings to earn his second All-Star Game in three seasons. "It's an honor," said Chapman.
RHP Bronson Arroyo has made seven consecutive quality starts at Great American Ball Park, going 4-0 with a 1.71 ERA in that stretch. He has allowed just one first-inning run in the past 21 starts. Arroyo has walked the first batter of an inning just twice in his past 27 starts. He has made four career appearances against the Mariners, including three while with the Red Sox, allowing four earned runs in 24 innings.
SS Cesar Izturis started at shortstop in place of Zack Cozart on Saturday, primarily to get him some at-bats given few opportunities to do so. "You want to get these guys at-bats to stay fresh," said Reds manager Dusty Baker. The move paid off as Izturis went 2-for-4 with three RBI, the most he's had since 2010.
2B Brandon Phillips was named a National League starter in the All-Star Game for the first time. "I can check that off my goals," Phillips said on Saturday. "Thanks to all the fans who voted for me. It's an honor." Phillips is batting .265 with 12 homers and 64 RBI. But it's his glove that has as much to do with his three All-Star appearances as his bat. Phillips won his third Rawlings Gold Glove last season.
1B Joey Votto said being named the starter at 1B in this year's All-Star Game carries more significance since he'll be playing alongside his teammate, 2B Brandon Phillips, who also will start for the National League. "That makes it special, but it's always an honor," Votto said. "I'm going to try to enjoy it." Votto is batting .322 with 15 home runs and 40 RBI.
INF Jack Hannahan started at third base in place of Todd Frazier on Saturday, primarily to get him some at-bats given few opportunities to do so. "You want to get these guys at-bats to stay fresh," said Reds manager Dusty Baker. What Baker couldn't have predicted was Hannahan going 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI.
LF Xavier Paul was not in the starting lineup Saturday after injuring his shoulder when he ran into the wall chasing a foul ball on Friday. Paul remained in the game but still was sore on Saturday. With Reds manager Dusty Baker reluctant to play Chris Heisey in wet conditions, Derrick Robinson started in LF in Paul's place.
RHP Sam LeCure drew high praise from Reds manager Dusty Baker prior to Saturday's game. "He's fearless," Baker said. "He's an unheralded guy because he does the grunt work, so to speak. He's a winner. He has guts and he's a winner." LeCure has made seven straight scoreless appearances after enduring a rough stretch in which he allowed five earned runs and a home run in a four-game stretch in mid-June.