The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Todd Frazier has been absolutely crushing the ball so far this season, and today was no exception. Through the first 7 innings, the Reds offense was in a lifeless hangover following last night's outburst, and the only person who'd hit a ball hard was The Toddfather, whose double off the wall had plated Brandon Phillips (who had reached on an error) for the team's only run to that point. As Welsh and Kelch mentioned on the TV broadcast, it's really nice that Frazier has opened the season on such a run since that will help alleviate some of the pressure he was under to replicate his breakout rookie campaign. Fly us to the moon, Todd.
Honorable mention is duly deserved by J.J. Hoover. After today's game, the rotation has officially been used once, and the team leaders by pitch count are Cueto (105), Leake (102), Latos (100), Bailey (98), Hoover (96), Arroyo (93). For Hoover to have been used that much (4 appearances, 4.1 IP) this early in the season is just wrong, and knowing that Sean Marshall has been sitting in the bullpen unused and unable this entire time is blatant mismanagement. Jose Arredondo was really sent to AAA for this? Hoover was put in a lose/lose situation in the 11th inning, and for him to have been booed by the home fans is just awful. Hoover's going to be big for the squad this year, and I feel for the guy. Hat tips are also due to Shin-Soo Choo (HR for the 3rd straight game), Joey Votto (whose 9th inning triple and run simply add to his lore), and Aroldis Chapman (having him pitch just should not be legal).
- Mike Leake pitched much, much better than his final line would indicate, largely due to two mistake pitches he threw that were literally punished. The first came in the Top of the 3rd, when Leake elevated a meatball to Bryce Harper, who launched it deep into the RF sun-deck with Jayson Werth on second. Reds trailed, 2-0.
- In the Bottom of the 4th, Ian Desmond Ian Desmond'd, fielding BP's grounder and throwing it to a lucky fan in the 18th row. BP took second on the error, and scored when Frazier doubled off the wall. Reds trailed, 2-1.
- Leake was close to getting through 6 with a quality start, and was crusing after three straight K's...until he walked Danny Espinosa, and left a meaty breaking ball right over the plate on a two strike count to Wilson Ramos, who launched it for another 2 run HR. Reds trailed, 4-1.
- Sam LeCure came on for the 7th, and uncharacteristically allowed a Werth solo HR, which gave the Nats a 5-1 lead. Finally, the Reds got down to business in the 8th, though, as Phillips, Bruce, and Frazier strung together consecutive hits to score one. Two batters later, Devin Mesoraco hit a sharp grounder that went through Desmond's legs (thanks to Bruce being right in front of him), which allowed Jay to score. In the Bottom of the 9th, Choo homered off of Rafael Soriano, and Votto tripled high off the LF wall and later scored on a wild pitch to force extra innings. Game tied, 5-5.
- The Reds had a chance to win it in the 10th, but Frazier was left stranded at second when PH Jack Hannahan struck out. That forced the shorthanded bullpen to pitch another inning, and a clearly not-sharp Hoover allowed solo HRs to both Desmond and Ramos. The Reds scraped another run across in the bottom of the 11th after Votto's BB and BP's hit, but Jay Bruce struck out to end the threat. Reds lose, 7-6.
- Frazier is sporting a beautiful 1.500 OPS through the team's first 5 games. Delicious.
- Bruce collected two more hits today (both singles, one to the opposite field), but still looks lost at the plate. We've seen this with Jay so, so many times before, and there's nothing that makes me worry that he won't solve it soon, but there's not a batter in the lineup who adjusts his swing to the count less than Jay. Choo, Frazier, Votto, and Phillips all get creative and defensive with their approaches with 2 strikes (or when scuffling), yet I'm not sure I've really ever seen Bruce shorten his. It's frustrating, to say the least. Still love ya though, Bruiser.
- It's beautiful outside here, it's beautiful outside there, and it's Saturday night. Go out an enjoy that, Reds fans, and know you've got a hell of a team to watch. Just be careful out there!