The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
I mean, seriously.
You guys, seriously.
Billy Hamilton has been the best defensive CF in baseball according to FanGraphs, and after tonight's 3 for 6 performance, he's now slugging an even .400. He's on pace for a 5 fWAR season, which is ridiculous, and is doing everything in his spindly power to stake an insurmountable claim to the 2014 Rookie of the Year Award, and that's just flat amazing (and $130 million cheaper than Shin-Soo Choo).
He tacked on a spectacular diving grab in CF again tonight, and that rolls into one big ball of unanimous JNMHSotG victory for #SpeedKills. Congrats, Billy.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Skip Schumaker, who went 2 for 4 with a sac fly, 3 RBI, and a gritty run scored; Brandon Phillips, who went 2 for 5 with a double, run scored, and an RBI; Joey Votto, who went 1 for 4 with a run scored and a pair of walks; Zack Cozart, who went 2 for 4 with a pair of runs scored; and Alfredo Simon, who pitched.
- The Reds got a vintage performance from Edinson Volquez, though fortunately this one came with him pitching to them instead of for them. In the Top of the 2nd, Jay Bruce reached on a single to RF that was basically a routine grounder that took a wicked hop over 1B Ike Davis' head. Devin Mesoraco followed with a walk, both moved up on a wild pitch from the Wagon, and Bruce scored on a gritty sac-fly to RF hit by Schumaker. Reds led, 1-0.
- The floodgates opened for the Reds in the Top of the 3rd. Todd Frazier and Votto each singled with 1-out, and Frazier scored on another wild pitch from Volquez. Brandon Phillips followed with a double that scored Votto, Bruce was then walked, Mesoraco was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and back to back singles from Schumaker and Cozart scored two while chasing Volquez from the game. Stolmy Pimentel was summoned from the Pirates bullpen, and he induced a swinging bunt from Alfredo Simon that was fielded and thrown home for an apparent force-out, but a ridiculously long replay overturned that out due to Russell Martin apparently blocking too much of the plate (or some other ridiculous BS decision about a rule that quite obviously needs tweaking). Billy Hamilton then singled to score two more, and when the smoke settled, the Reds had scored 7 runs in the inning. Reds led, 8-0.
- A double by Mesoraco in the Top of the 4th was followed by another gritty single from The Cobbler, which chalked up another run for the good guys. Reds led, 9-0.
- The Pirates managed to scrape across a few runs off Alfredo Simon before a rain delay ruined everyone's plans for the evening. A Pedro Alvarez double and Gregory Polanco single in the Bottom of the 5th netted them one, and the Buccos got another run thanks to a single, hit-by-pitch, walk, and grounder in the Bottom of the 7th before cloud tears shut things down for over an hour. J.J. Hoover came on in the wake of the flood, and an immediate sac fly scored a previously embasened (that's a word, I just made it) Clint Barmes for run 3. Reds led, 9-3.
- Usual part-time RF Travis Snider was summoned to pitch for the Pirates in the Top of the 9th, and the Reds played add-on as a result. Cozart and J.J. Hoover drew 1-out walks, and Cozart scored on Hamilton's double down the LF line. Hoover then scored on a Frazier groundout for run number...I dunno...how many is that...a dozen...no...almost a dozen. Hoover allowed a run in the Bottom of the 9th, but whatever. Reds win, 11-4!
- It's late. Go to bed.
- Good Morning! Now that you've gotten a good night's sleep and are wide awake, drinking coffee, and reading Other Notes over a bowl of cereal, it's probably time to note that Brandon Phillips has an OPS north of .800 with a near 100 RBI/162 pace since May 2nd, a span of 170 PA and 40 games.
- Speaking of that, the Reds' offense that was dastardly putrid through the first two months of the season has seemingly begun to stabilize. The squad now sports batting averages over .273 from 6 of the regular 8 positions in the lineup, with Jay Bruce not being one of those 6.
- Brandon Phillips is hitting .281/.313/.404 while playing Gold Glove caliber defense at 2B.
- Billy Hamilton is hitting .278/.316/.400 while playing Gold Glove caliber defense in CF.
- Oh, yeah...the once left for dead Reds are now at .500 on the season and just 2.5 games out of a playoff spot. Get yer popcorn ready.