The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
For the first time this year, the Collective Red Reporter Psyche gets the nod tonight. Watching the last two games, reading the last two gamethreads, and writing the last two recaps left me in a state of mental disrepair that, to the best of my knowledge, was pretty universally held around these parts. The Reds had their butts kicked in, again, for another time, once more, again, again, and it seemed like that eery moment when you realize, once and for all, that there's a team out there that the Reds just couldn't beat on a consistent basis.
I don't mean to make too much out of one game here, but there was something very cathartic about the last 24 hours. The Reds came into St. Louis on a roll, closing in on the division race, and as healthy offensively as they'd been since the first week of the season. It was as if they finally had transformed themselves back into the team that had been pretty universally picked to repeat as NL Central champions this offseason, and they rolled into the Cardinals series with chests puffed, locked in and ready to go toe to toe with a team they'd struggled against all season.
And it didn't work. At all. It didn't work physically, it didn't work mentally, and it certainly couldn't have helped alleviate the psychological strain that has been inflicted upon this franchise in the last 30 trips to St. Louis.
Perhaps, though, something changed. Losing the first two games of the series ensured a lost series, and tonight, the pressure was significantly lower. The Reds pounced, chased Cardinals Ace Adam Wainwright, and thumped a boomstick on a team they needed to beat before leaving town.
Did they finally flip their mind-script to considering themselves scrappy underdogs? I don't know, but it felt that way, and after the pain and strain of the last handful of games against the Cardinals, that was much, much needed.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Homer Bailey, who tossed 7.1 innings of scoreless, dominant baseball in a stadium that had previously dealt him an 0-5 record and an ERA near 7.00 (and also had 2 hits and an RBI of his own); Jay Bruce, who had a 3-donk-honker as part of his 5 RBI day in the cleanup role; Brandon Phillips, who did his best to ensure he'll have fewer questions about his OBP by going 2 for 5 in his return to the 2nd spot in the lineup; Joey Votto, for being amazing (and going 1 for 1 with a double, 2 runs scored, and 3 walks); Chris Heisey, for hitting the longest home run I've ever seen since the last time I said someone hit the longest home run I'd ever seen; and Zack Cozart, for MVP/GGing another 3 for 5 evening.
- The Reds scored 6 runs in the Top of the 1st off of Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright. 6 runs were scored by the Cincinnati Reds against the ace of the Cardinals' pitching staff, Adam Wainwright. Adam Wainwright was shelled for 6 runs in his first inning of work against the Reds from Cincinnati tonight. It really, really happened. Shin-Soo Choo led off with a single, Phillips followed with a single, Votto walked to load the bases, and newly minted cleanup hitter Jay Bruce hit a 2-run single to the gap in right-center. Ryan Ludwick then hit a double off the wall in LF to score Votto and move Bruce to 3B, and Bruce scored on a Todd Frazier groundout. Cozart then reached on an infield single, and Ludwick scored a batter later on a wild pitch that also allowed Cozy to take 2B. Homer Bailey then singled to score Cozart. Reds led, 6-0.
- The God of doink-thrusting smiled happily upon the Reds this evening, and his first such instance came in the Top of the 2nd. BP led off the inning with a single, Votto walked (drink), and Jay Bruce launched a moon-goober well over the wall in RF. Reds led, 9-0.
- Homer Bailey went all SHUT IT DOWN, SHUT IT DOWN from there on, and the only other scratch on the board came when Heisey gave one of the balls a head start on the trip to Denver by hitting it half way there. Reds win, 10-0!
FanGraphs Section that Renews My Baseball Health Like the Big Hearts in Zelda and Semi-Resembles the Heart Monitors of an UncleWeez/-MBP SoCal Vacation
- OH MY GOD THE REDS ARE COMING TO DENVER! I'll hold it together, you guys, I promise. BK and Farney, on the other hand, are en route to shake the pillars of Coors for the weekend.
- Pythagoras and Dan Szymborski would get along. I'm sure of it. HI DAN!!
- Off day tomorrow, unfortunately, but at least the Reds head into their break with a modicum/smattering/ebullience of goodwill for mankind. Preachin' positivity tonight, it seems.
- At some point very soon, the Reds will be 40 miles from Denver, and I couldn't be more excited. How excited? I'm skipping 3 days of Phish in this very town to see the Reds lay waste to the Rockies in one of the most beautiful baseball stadiums in all the land. Labor Day Weekend looms...