Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Johnny Cueto. On a night when I spied a Joe Nuxhall jersey, the JNMHSotG decision is an easy one. Cueto pitched 8 scoreless innings before giving up a leadoff home run to Ryan Zimmerman in the ninth. He struck out five and walked none, and still managed to lower his ERA. Honorable mentions go to Joey Votto (2-3, with a home run and two walks) and Dave Sappelt (a double. Good job, buddy.).
- I met up with riverfront76 and his son and was able to watch the first half of the game with them in their sweet front row seats in the right field corner. When Joey Votto came up to bat, I told the kid that Votto was the best hitter in baseball. Joey then proved me right by smashing a ball off Ross Detwiler and into the Reds bullpen beyond the left-center wall. Reds lead, 1-0.
- For a long time, it looked that bomb might be the only score in the game. But when Sean Burnett came in to pitch the eighth inning, the Reds got a few hits off him. Joey Votto and Jay Bruce started things off with back to back singles. With runners on the corners, Miguel Cairo chopped a ball back up the middle. Burnett made a nice snag, then threw to third to catch Votto leaning. Drew Stubbs then drew a walk to load the bases. Ryan Mattheus relieved Burnett and got Ramon Hernandez to ground out, but it was enough to drive in Bruce. Paul Janish walked, loading the bases again. With two outs, Dusty elected to let Johnny Cueto bat for himself. Sure, a pinch hitter was more likely to drive in a run, but Cueto had been pitching so well, two runs was all he needed. He grounded out. Reds lead, 2-0.
- Cueto cruised through the eighth, and Dusty sent him out for the ninth to finish the game, despite the heart of the Nationals order coming to the plate. Well, immediately that insurance run in the eighth came in handy, because Ryan Zimmerman creamed a pitch into centerfield for a home run. Francisco Cordero came in to close things out. I hope riverfront76 had already taken his kid home, because children shouldn't see what happened next. Cordero got Mike Morse out, but walked Jayson Werth and gave up a single to Danny Espinosa. Jonny Gomes then hit a hot grounder to Paul Janish's right. The runners were moving on the pitch, and Gomes was motoring down the line like a man possessed. He was called out at first on a bang-bang play earlier, and wanted there to be no doubt this time. It was a moot point because Janish slipped and dropped the ball anyway. Bases loaded, one out. Wilson Ramos then hit a grounder to Brandon Phillips, and he promptly turned the game-ending double play. It should be noted that Janish hung in and made a nice throw with Gomes sliding into him. Reds win, 2-1.
- Both teams wasted other bases loaded opportunities. The Reds had 'em chucked in the third inning, but Jay Bruce struck out and Miguel Cairo popped it up. In the bottom of the fourth, it wasn't bases loaded, but the Nats had men on second and third with one out. Jayson Werth popped out, then Danny Espinosa hit a line drive that Brandon Phillips somehow managed to catch. I mean, he jumped HIGH.
- Johnny Cueto struck out the side to start the game. He only struck out two more the rest of the way, but it was a pretty excellent beginning. His 1.89 ERA is best in the Majors.
- 25% of Ryan Zimmerman's home runs this season have come against the Reds in the last two days.
- Francisco Cordero now has 314 saves, tying him with Robb Nen for 16th all time.
- Besides riverfront76 and his kid, I also ran into the finest muffins quite by accident.
- But speaking of that kid, he has great baseball knowledge, and knows more about the stats of the team than I do. And just before the game, a random guy came up and said, "I've been looking for a Reds fan to give this to. It's a home run ball that Joey Votto hit in batting practice." I immediately said, "Give it to the kid!" then just as immediately wondered who this selfless stranger sitting in my seat was. Damn you, maturity!
- I guess that's just a perk of sitting in the first row. Another perk is sitting near the comely ball girl. She saw we were Reds fans and asked if we were fans of Jonny Gomes. I told her that I had worn my Gomes shirt to the game yesterday, and she said, "Oh yeah, I remember you! I saw you in The Bullpen after the game." Still got it.
- Yesterday was $1 hot dog day at the stadium, but I found my new favorite ballpark food: corn on the cob elote! Which means corn on the cob corn on the cob. Anyway, it's steamed corn, then covered in mayonnaise and sprinkled with grated cotija cheese. Delicious! And at $4.75, it's as close to a bargain as you're going to find at the ballpark. So scoot over Ben's half smoke and Curly W pretzel! Make way for the elote!
|Final - 8.17.2011||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|WP: Johnny Cueto (9 - 5)
SV: Francisco Cordero (24)
LP: Ross Detwiler (1 - 3)