The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Johnny Cueto, resident ace, pitched exactly as you'd expect. Cueto threw 105 pitches over 7 innings, yielding just a single run on 3 hits while walking 2 and striking out 9. Aside from hanging a pitch up in the zone to Chris Iannetta in the 3rd inning, Cueto was both efficient and effective in limiting the high powered Angels offense. Despite a visit to the mound by the trainer at one point, Cueto did much to dispel any worries that the back issues of the 2012 postseason had carried over to this year.
Honorable mention is due to Shin-Soo Choo, who went 2 for 5 with a double, HBP, and the only Reds run. He was everything the Reds could've expected him to be following his offseason acquisition; unfortunately, the rest of the Reds offense was abysmal. Also abysmal: home plate umpire Dale Scott, several vintage Dusty-decisions, Ryan Ludwick's head-first slide, and the late inning weather...but we'll get to that later.
- After Cueto retired the Angels 1-2-3 in the Top of the 1st, the Reds threatened to threaten in the Bottom half of the inning. Choo was hit in the ankle by a breaking ball and Ryan Ludwick later walked, but Jay Bruce struck out looking with both men on. In the 2nd, Todd Frazier led off with a single, but couldn't advance past 2nd.
- Cueto was perfect through the first 7 batters of his day, but he left a pitch out over the meaty part of the plate to Chris Iannetta, who homered to Left in the 3rd. Angels led, 1-0.
- The Reds struck back quickly in their half of the 3rd, as Choo led off with a double. Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto both grounded out, Choo advanced to 3rd base, Ludwick walked, and Choo then scored on a Jered Weaver wild pitch. As Weaver complained to home plate umpire Dale Scott (who presumably was smearing mud over his spectacles), Ludwick took 3rd base; however, he managed to dislocate his right shoulder on his head-first slide. DL 1, Reds 0; Angels 1, Reds 1.
- A vast wasteland of nothing happened until well into extra innings. In the Top of the 13th, J.J. Hoover found himself on the mound for a second inning, and despite walking Josh Hamilton and approaching 40 pitches, he was left in the game. Hmm. He intentionally walked Howie Kendrick and then hit pinch hitter Hank Conger on an 0-2 pitch and, despite approaching 50 pitches, was left in to face the only batter from either team to have hit a ball really hard all night: Iannetta. He promptly lined a single to Left Field, plating two, and after the Reds went rather quietly in the Bottom of the 13th, that was that. Reds lose, 3-1.
- Jay Bruce was a frosty 0 for 5 with a walk (intentionally), 4 strikeouts, and 7 men left on base. His outs ended the 1st, 3rd, 6th, 8th, and 13th innings. It's going to take a lot more than that to convince Dusty to move him to 4th in the lineup...
- ...which folks will be pining for now that Ryan Ludwick is likely headed for a reasonably lengthy stint on the Disabled List due to his dislocated right shoulder. Ludwick slid awkwardly into 3rd after a heady decision to take a 2nd base following a wild pitch. Unfortunately, he and Joey Votto must have learned sliding lessons from the same coach, and he immediately knew he was injured. Expect one of three scenarios, listed in order of probability: 1) Henry Rodriguez is called up to be utility IF/3B, Jack Hannahan gets regular time at 3B, and Todd Frazier moves primarily to LF 2) Billy Hamilton is called up and used as CF, moving Shin-Soo Choo to LF 3) Scott Rolen is summoned from retirement to split time at 3B with Hannahan, and Frazier is used in LF.
- The heart of the Reds order tonight (BP, Votto, Ludwick/Heisey, and Bruce) went a combined 0 for 17 with 8 K's. That's bad. The only thing worse? Home plate umpire Dale Scott, who had quite possibly the worst called game at home plate in recent memory. I have no idea what the hell he was watching.
- I'm a music professor. I know great music; therefore, you should listen to great music, like this.