The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star(s) of the Game
When it's well acknowledged that you're public enemy number one, you're in a fishbowl against your biggest rivals, and you step up in the biggest way at the biggest time, you get the nod for the JNMHSotG. Brandon Phillips, jerked around the Reds' lineup for more than a half decade, has stepped in at cleanup as well as anyone could have hoped in the wake of Ryan Ludwick's injury, and was the best player on the field on both sides of the ball today. Phillips made two Web Gem worthy plays on defense, crushed a solo space jam, and had the double in the 9th inning that gave the Reds the lead for good. Sure, there are worries that BP may be slowing down a bit and that he may need more time off than he's willing to admit, but for now he's a force, and a big game force, at that. Keep BeePin', DatDude.
Remember when Jay Bruce was off to a slow start to this season? Me either. Bruce went 4 for 5 today, scored twice, and now sports a sporty .324/.361/.441 line for the season...and has hit better away from GABP than at home. Oh, the power of small sample sizes. That's Honorable Mention worthy, as is the decision-making and execution by Dusty Baker and Xavier Paul, respectively. Dusty made the rather bold call to pinch hit for the struggling Zack Cozart in the 8th inning in an effective double-switch, and called upon Xavier Paul in yet another big spot. Paul responded with a prolonged at bat and, ultimately, a single to knot the game at 4. Dusty makes his head-scratching moves, for sure (see: using J.J. Hoover AGAIN in the 9th), but sometimes he makes moves that deserve praise, and this was certainly one of the latter. Other hat tips are due to Mat Latos, who battled through long at-bats and defensive blunders to throw a solid 6 IP; Chris Heisey, who doubled twice; Joey Votto, who was on base in half of his 6 PAs (yawn); and Shin-Soo Choo, who despite two miserable blunders in CF managed to respond with a 2 for 5, 3 RBI, BB night.
- We can all agree that the only real inning of consequence was the 9th, right? Right. (Apologies to Latos, Cozart, and Paul, all of whom played important roles before the 9th).
- The Reds sent 15 batters to the plate in the Top of the 9th, and it was visible deliciousness at its finest. Mitchell Boggs was brought on to shut down the Reds, but that didn't exactly go as Mike Matheny had planned. Choo led off with a walk, and after Heisey botched a bunt attempt (and popped out after potentially missing a sign), the Cardinals decided to walk Joey God intentionally. Woops. BP responded with a opposite field double, scoring Choo for the go-ahead run. Bruce was walked intentionally to load the bases, Todd Frazier walked to plate Votto, and when PH Jack Hannahan reached on an infield single the rout was officially on. Reds led, 7-4.
- /takes deep breath
- /sips beer
- Ryan Hanigan reached on an error to score Bruce, Hail Cesar Izturis singled in Frazier, and former goat Choo followed with a double to clear the bases. Heisey made his second out of the inning with a grounder that moved Choo to third, Votto singled to score Choo, BP walked, and Bruce reached on an infield single before Todd Frazier finally made the third out of the inning by mercifully striking out looking. Reds led, 13-4.
- /checks for carpal tunnel
- Today ends in "Y," so J.J. Hoover was called upon to pitch, of course. Hoover struck out two, walked one, and managed to coerce a Daniel Descalso groundout to wrap things up. Reds win, 13-4!
- The new and improved Cincinnati Reds offense has now scored 51 runs through 7 games, which is the most in the majors. They're 12 runs clear of the Colorado Rockies, who currently sit in 2nd at 39. In other words, pay very, very little mind to the two dropped balls by Choo in CF today.
- J.J Hoover threw a mere 21 pitches today in his 5th appearance in the Reds first 7 games. That's,chump change, really. Hoover has now thrown 117 pitches, more than any pitcher on the roster not named Cueto or Latos.
- jch24 is too preoccupied to notice this, but Go Michigan.
- Bronson Arroyo will take the hill for the Reds tomorrow at 8:15 PM ET opposite skinny Lance Lynn and the Cardinals. Turn on, tune in, and Go Reds!