The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Brandon Phillips had been struggling something fierce of late, and his season OPS had subsequently dropped from 1.019 to .755 over his previous 10 games. Hopefully today's 3 for 4 performance will help to point him back in the right direction because obviously this lineup needs him desperately. Shin-Soo Choo also had a big day, going 1 for 3 with a walk and his 4th HR of the season (his first away from GABP and his first in 21 games).
Hat-tips are due to both J.J. Hoover and Sean Marshall for tossing up a few stress free zeroes at the back-end of the bullpen. Despite Hoover's rough (and overused) start to the season, he's now reduced his ERA to a quite respectable 3.55; as for Marshall, it was good to see him back on the mound in the big leagues after a 20 day absence due to shoulder fatigue. The Reds are going to depend on them mightily over the rest of the season, especially if the offense continues its inconsistency.
- Washington struck early and often in this one and chased Mike Leake after just 3 IP. In the Bottom of the 2nd, Leake walked serial non-walker Ian Desmond and rookie Anthony Rendon back to back, and walks haunted him after Dan Haren and Denard Span followed with singles to score them both. In the 3rd, Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth both used the awkward y's in their names to get singles, and Desmond then singled to score Harper. After Rendon struck out, Hammerhands used his Hammerarm to plate another Nats run, as his throwing error on Kurt Suzuki's infield single allowed Werth to cross. Reds trailed, 4-0.
- The Reds finally emerged from their scoreless, hitless, punchless, emotionless streak in the Top of the 4th, as Phillips singled after Joey Votto's 2nd double of the season. Reds trailed, 4-1.
- Alfredo Simon replaced Leake in the 4th and picked up right where the Reds' 5th starter had left off. He allowed a leadoff single to Span, and after Danny Espinosa grounded into a fielder's choice, Harper doinked a donger for the 9th time this season. Reds trailed, 6-1.
- Choo led off the Top of the 6th with a 401 ft blast to RF to score one, and the Reds threatened several times. In the Top of the 7th, Todd Frazier was called upon to pinch hit, and he delivered with a single to score Jay Bruce (who had reached on an error by Espinosa). Choo walked, and Zack Cozart followed with a line shot to CF that he couldn't have hit any better...but Denard Span tracked it down to end the bases loaded threat. Reds lose, 6-3.
- Entering the game today, the Reds had a cumulative Home OPS of .769 and a road OPS of just .609. Obviously, GABP is more hitter friendly than the stadiums in St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Washington, but it's not just the slugging numbers that are taking the hit. Their home OBP? .346. On the road it's just a paltry .301. SSS, I know, and I also realize that the pitching staffs this team has faced on the road are much more solid than the ones faced in GABP. Still, those are the kind of offensive numbers that lead to a 1-8 record on the road.
- The Reds sit at 13-12 right now, which puts them on pace to win 84 games this season. It was immediately following Joey Votto's injury last year when the team took off offensively and took a stranglehold on the NL Central. With Ryan Ludwick, Johnny Cueto, and Ryan Hanigan out, it's going to require a lot more out of the guys still healthy in the lineup than what's currently being provided to come close to matching the pace of last year's team. There's still plenty of time, but the road doesn't get easier very quickly with series against the Cardinals, Braves, and Brewers looming.
- Chris Heisey was replaced by Xavier Paul in LF mid-game following a hamstring injury. If it's serious enough to require DL time, it will be interesting to see who gets called up (especially since there's no Interleague series requiring a DH any time soon.)
- This series has me feeling the blues. Remember, however, that last year the Reds came in to Washington for an early season 4 game series and lost the first 3...but in game four, a terribly slumping OF hit his first HR of the season, a grand slam, to get his season going and help the Reds avoid the sweep. Let's hope there's some semblance of deja vu this time around.