The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
When a franchise in any sport decides to sign a player for a decade and guarantee them a quarter of a billion dollars, scrutiny is sure to follow. When Doc called out Votto's 2013 performance for all to see, I was awfully interested to see how Votto would respond to seemingly the first bout of criticism he's faced since becoming a stalwart at 1B in Cincinnati; well, in his last two games, he's gone 7 for 11 with 3 R, 2 HR, and 3 RBI (and, rather surprisingly, just one walk). Votto got things going for the Reds in the first with his 3rd HR of the season, and he appears to be emerging from the power-slumber that "plagued" the first portion of his season. He's now sporting a 1.037 OPS and is on pace to hit 26 HR this season. All is right in the Reds world.
Honorable mentions are due to Shin-Soo Choo, who was on base all 5 times today (twice via being hit by a pitch, once via walk, once via double, once via single); Brandon Phillips, who was 1 for 3 with 2 walks and had the single that broke open the scoring in the 8th; Xavier Paul, who went 2 for 5 with a double; Homer Bailey, who got through 6 innings with just two runs allowed despite not having his best stuff; and Todd Frazier, who chipped in with a 3 run double from the bench. 3 RBIs on his off day...there truly is no Todd but Todd.
- Votto didn't wait long before opening the Reds' account, as he took the first pitch he saw in the Bottom of the 1st and crushed it over the wall in right-center. Reds led, 1-0.
- The Marlins scraped across a run of their own in the Top of the 2nd, as consecutive singles by Rob Brantly, Nick Green, and former Red Chris Valaika evened things up. The Reds retook the lead in the 3rd, though, when Bailey and Choo singled and Bailey scored on a Votto single and an error by CF Justin Ruggiano. Reds led, 2-1.
- Valaika struck again for the fish in the Top of the 6th, as his single to left-center scored Brantly after he led off the inning with a double. Game tied, 2-2.
- The Reds' bats finally went nuts in the Bottom of the 7th when Jon Rauch came on for Alex Sanabia (who had left him with the bases loaded and no outs). Phillips singled, which scored both Choo (who had walked) and Paul (who had singled). Jay Bruce then walked, and Devin Mesoraco singled to score Joey Votto (who had singled). After back to back popups by Chris Heisey and Cesar Izturis, Todd Frazier unloaded the bases with a double that hit off the top of the wall. Choo and Paul both followed with doubles before Votto finally ended the inning with a strikeout, but the Reds had sent 8 men across the plate. Reds led, 10-2.
- For some reason, the Manny Parra experiment is still ongoing despite every single thing possible indicating that ties should be severed. Parra was brought on to pitch the 9th, and made things much more interesting than they should've been. After Miguel Olivo hit a 3-run HR, Parra finally got Ruggiano to fly out to end things. Reds win, 10-6.
- Zack Cozart sat this one out with a sore finger after it was hit last night in a bunt attempt. Cesar Izturis replaced him at SS and was on base twice via walk. Marty and Mark Sheldon both speculated that Cozart would likely be out until Tuesday. Ryan Hanigan was also placed on the 15 day DL with an oblique injury and a bum-thumb. Corky "Awesomesuce" Miller was recalled from AAA Louisville to replace him, and the city of Cincinnati just got 32 times more kick-ass.
- Shin-Soo Choo has now reached base in each of his last 434 PA. If he reaches 11 more times in a row he'll tie Joey Votto's record.
- The Cubs come to town tomorrow for a 3 game set, and former Red Travis Wood will take the mound tomorrow night at 5:10 PM MST. Wood, who I always thought highly of, is off to a smokin' start this season. He's sporting a stellar 1.07 WHIP and 1.83 ERA after 3 starts and 19.2 IP against Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, and Texas.
- Penciled in my first fishing trip of the season (next Sunday). I'm pumped.