The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Jay Bruce and his 2 for 3, 3 RBI night get the nod tonight. The Reds RF continued his resurgence after a slow start to the season by picking up a few more hits off of Cards starter Lance Lynn. There's a big part of me that believes that the maturation of Jay Bruce (and ultimately his improved ability to produce away from GABP) will be found in him returning to being a line-drive hitter rather that a HR hitter, and though his power is still on 20+ HR pace, I'm ecstatic that he's threatening to be a 50 double player. From an approach perspective, I want Bruce to be more Matt Holliday and less Nelson Cruz, and lately he's been hitting line-drives hard enough to smash my teeth in. I'll take that.
Honorable mentions are due to Shin-Soo Choo, who was 2 for 4 with a BB and a 2B, and Bronson Arroyo, who went 6 innings while allowing just 2 runs against the potent Cards offense. Org props are due to Dusty Baker, too, for being creative enough to slot Derrick Robinson and his .400+ OBP in the 2 spot while dropping Cozart to the bottom of the order. It didn't work, of course, but applause for the consideration.
- It appeared early that the Reds' karma would be good tonight. In the Bottom of the 1st, they went to work on Lance Lynn with a leadoff double by Shin-Soo Choo, a Derrick Robinson sac-bunt from the 2 spot (drink), a Joey Votto walk to follow (drink again), and fortunately a single by Brandon Phillips followed by a sac fly by Jay Bruce to plate a second run. Reds led, 2-0.
- The usual suspects from the Cardinals got do work on some damage of their own in the Top of the 4th. Carlos Beltran homered off of Bronson Arroyo to start the inning, and Matt Holliday followed with a double of his own. Two batters later, Yadier Molina doubled to score Holliday. Game tied, 2-2.
- In the Bottom of the 5th, Jay Bruce Mr. Failed a two run double after a lengthy AB against Lynn, and every Red Reporter who has yet to be ban'd rejoiced (save 1). Reds led, 4-2.
- The Reds' bullpen, however, failed to hold up for much of anything. The lack of a reliable lefty in Sean Marshall's absence bit the Reds yet again, the first of which was in the 7th. Sam LeCure was brought in for the Top of the 7th, and he immediately faced 3 lefties (2 starters and the Cardinals top PH, Matt Adams). He retired none of them, and was replaced by Alfredo Simon (a righty) to face Carlos Beltran from his stronger side (left handed). The result? Single, double, single, and sac fly, and the Cardinals had tied things up, 4-4.
- Aroldis Chapman, the only functioning LHRP in the Reds' bullpen, pitched the 9th...and faced just one LHB.
- In the 10th, J.J. Hoover was brought on to, hopefully, go a few innings until the Reds could plate the winning run. That didn't happen. After walking Allen Craig and retiring Yadier Molina on a popup, Hoover allowed a single to David Freese and a double to lefty Daniel Descalso just over the reach of LF Robinson off the wall. John Jay was walked intentionally, and after Pete Kozma struck out, lefty Matt Carpenter singled on a jam shot to the opposite field that scored two. Carlos Beltran then hit yet another perfectly placed high-hop grounder that allowed him to reach on an infield single, and Curtis Partch was brought on to face Matt Holliday with the bases loaded for his MLB debut. Holliday proceeded to hit a hanging breaking ball all the way back to St. Louis, and that was that. Reds lose, 11-4.
Puke-Inducing FanGraph Section
- Partch got rocked, yes, but HOLY HELL CURTIS PARTCH CAN THROW 97? Color me optimistic, at least.
- If the Reds are going to insist on bunting, they must insist on not screwing up the scenario. Bronson Arroyo bunted into a double play with two on and nobody out early in the game, and Derrick Robinson failed to advance a runner late in the game. If you're going to give away outs, you have to be giving away productive outs. Giving away outs that begat other outs is the definition of playing with one hand tied around your back, and tonight that's exactly what the Reds did, unfortunately.
- This one stung, which means the series stung, but the reality is it's just losing 2 of 3 to the Cardinals...and the Reds are far from the only team to have done that this season. Also, Cueto didn't pitch while Wainwright did, so there's that, though that's nitpicky. This is a bummer, just on a relatively low bummer scale.
- Manny Parra is the only non-closer lefty in the bullpen, and he's thrown a total of 2.1 IP in June. That said, I realistically wouldn't have trusted his 8.44 ERA and 2.53 WHIP against the lefty bats in the Cards lineup, either. Good lord, how did this bullpen get this bad, this quick?
- You know that's a game that I hate to lose.
- Complicated tunes if your brain's running wild like mine is currently.