The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Johnny Cueto's strike zone may not have been squeezed tonight. It may not have been manipulated or motivated, beguiled or betrayed, but it did seem to float from side to side like an in-shape Ali. That clearly irked the Reds' ace early, and while it cost him a walk-induced run early, he managed to dig in and give his team the kind of pitching performance they desperately needed following a 3-6 start. Cueto yielded just 2 ER in his 7 IP tonight, and he struck out 6, walked 4, and allowed just 5 hits during his 119 pitch effort, and that was plenty worthy of tonight's JNMHSotG. Cueto's now been a hard luck loser of 2 of his 3 starts (with a no-decision in the other), and he's doing his best to be this year's Brian Kenny posterboy.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Joey Votto, who homered in the Bottom of the 9th for the Reds only run; Brandon Phillips, who a pair of hits; Devin Mesoraco, who doubled and walked to continue his hot start to the season; and Sam LeCure, who apparently is alive, well, and capable of tossing high-leverage shutout innings.
- Johnny Cueto had trouble getting out of his own way in the Top of the 1st, and that coupled with an inconsistent strike zone cost both him - and the Reds - dearly. Both Desmond Jennings and Matt Joyce drew 1-out walks, and Evan Longoria's single under Todd Frazier's glove drove in the first run of the game. Reds trailed, 1-0.
- Joyce made his mark again in the Top of the 3rd, as he lifted a solo honker over the RF fence. Reds trailed, 2-0.
- Roughly 150 pitches and a who-knows-what D.J. Reyburn strike zone later, Joey Votto whacked his first dinger of the year with 1-out in the Bottom of the 9th off David Price, who was still in the game despite having thrown 110 pitches on the evening. Grant Balfour was summoned to clean things up, but after he rang up Ryan Ludwick on a strike-out looking (eh), he proceeded to walk both Jay Bruce and Frazier. To say that nobody in the stadium (or watching) knew what a strike was at that point would be generous, and Balfour then threw a wild pitch to move both runners over and then walked Mesoraco, too. NERTS was brought on to pinch hit for a still-struggling Zack Cozart and, of course, he was called out on a third strike that was as close to Carbondale as it was to the plate. Reds lose, 2-1.
- The strike call to end the game was a crap call. That said, the strike zone for both teams - and every pitcher - was as indecipherable and inconsistent as any I've seen so far this season. Cueto was miffed, both David and Bryan Price were miffed, and nobody seemed to know what should and shouldn't have been called. Thanks for replay, Bud Selig. Maybe send D.J. Reyburn a Derek Jeter Honorary Gift Basket for his services.
- ALL OF A SUDDEN, Joey Votto (.772) has the highest OPS among Reds' regulars. Insert muted version of 'tHom being apoplectic.
- Johnny Cueto is now 0-2 and in Paul Daugherty's leathery-faced, tobacco-spittoon filled doghouse. What a non-winner.
- Three wins. Seven losses.