Tough loss, but

Jason Heyward can rake. Give him a fastball over the plate and that’s exactly what he’s going to do with it. And the scary thing is he’s only 20. You know how many National Leaguers have driven in 100 runs in their rookie year since 2000? Two – Ryan Zimmerman in 2006 and Pujols in 2001. Heyward’s already got 29 RBI and it’s only May 19.

Can’t win ’em all – especially when it comes to 1-run games – but there’s a lot to be encouraged about when your team refuses to roll over down 4-0 in the 8th. Let’s look at this one glass-half-full and give some credit where it’s due. Which is tough to do after a loss but with the effort this team is giving right now it’s pretty tough to be skeptical at this point.

Chris Heisey. This guy’s a rookie?? Sure doesn’t look like it. Guys who have 16 career Major League at-bats who are PINCH-HITTING don’t lay off that close 1-2 pitch from a fireballer who has 389 career saves. And then park the next pitch in the seats. Heisey is as cool as a cucumber for a guy who just got called up. If he keeps this up, I don’t know how you send him down when Dickerson comes back. It’s nice to have a utility infielder other than Janish, but you’d have to get rid of Cairo, wouldn’t you? And just play Ramon Hernandez at first whenever you need to?

Arthur Rhodes. OK, time to give our southpaw set-up guy the credit he deserves if you haven’t already. This guy has given up 1 earned run all season. And that was April 10. Which means he hasn’t allowed an earned run in 15 consecutive appearances. The double he surrendered to lead off the 8th to McCann – who he stranded at second – was only the sixth hit he’s allowed in 17 appearances this year. 16 innings, 6 hits, 1 ER, four walks, 16 strikeouts. His ERA is 0.56 and his WHIP is 0.63. Opponents are hitting .118 against him. Recognize.

Brandon Phillips. That diving catch in short right field was pretty sick. Say what you will about BP for the times he’s been questioned or criticized for lack of effort. But a guy who doesn’t care doesn’t give up his body on a play like that. BP also had a very nice bunt to move Cabrera – the potential go-ahead run – over to second in the 9th before Votto walked and Rolen and Bruce struck out.

• Might as well dole out some more praise while we’re at it. I’m more and more impressed with the job Chris Welsh does as a color commentator. Sure, the guy can be goofy sometimes but I think the rest of the crew eggs him on. The bottom line is this guy really knows his s—, which is exactly what I want from a color guy. Two other ideal-color-guy qualities he possesses: He’s extremely observant, and he tends to point out situational things that go unnoticed by the average fan.

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