The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Chris Heisey tallied another two hits in today's game (one a double), made a spectacular catch in RF, and scored the only run of the Reds' day, and he has therefore earned the JNMHSotG for the eleventyninth time this Spring. Heisey's diving catch in the Bottom of the 1st was nifty, and he parlayed that with a nice throw to 1B for a double-play, and while that was all biscuits & gravy, it was a pretty early climax to an otherwise slow-bleed afternoon. Props to Chris for being the milkshake bringing all the fans to the yard.
The rest of the Reds struggled to do much of anything at the plate (a recurring and rather drab development), with only one non-Heisey member of the squad truly contributing. Therefore, an Honorable Mention and a Member's Only jacket goes to Ryan Ludwick (said member), who went 2 for 3 today with a double. Hooray, offense!
Mike Leake tossed 3 innings today in his second start of the Spring following his wonky abdomen, and he allowed just a single run while flashing some pretty solid stuff, so, consider Leake mentioned. Honorably, of course.
I'd also like to extend a super friendly Dusty Baker Honorary High-Five to Tyler Matzek, who came in to pitch for the Colorado Rockies in the Top of the 9th and promptly walked each of the first four batters he faced to drive in a run. Thanks for the RBI, Tyler. You can bat 3rd for the Reds anytime!
- The Reds small-balled their way to the first run of the game in the Top of the 2nd courtesy of a leadoff double by Heisey, a one-out single by Jason Bourgeois that moved Heisey to 3B, and a sac fly from Devin Mesoraco that scored Heisey. Reds led, 1-0.
- A leadoff walk to DJ LeMahieu came back to haunt Leake in the Bottom of the 3rd. LeMahieu moved to 2B on a sac bunt from the pitcher, and he later scored on a Charlie Culbertson double to LF. Game tied, 1-1.
- The Rockies picked up single runs off both JJ Hoover in the 5th and Logan Ondrusek in the 6th. In the Bottom of the 5th, LeMahieu led off with a single, moved to 2B on another sac bunt, and scored when Brandon Phillips and Hoover couldn't link up on a toss at 1B after what was to that point a great defensive play by Phillips. Singles by Wilin Rosario and Matt McBride off Ondrusek sandwiched around a productive grounder in the Bottom of the 6th plated a third run. Reds trailed, 3-1.
- The aforementioned Matzek came on for Colorado in the Top of the 9th and walked in a run before being pulled. Mike McLendon was summoned from the Rockies' pen, and he managed to escape with no further damage courtesy of a nifty play at the plate and a later ground ball double play. That was that for the Reds. Reds lose, 3-2.
- Towards the end of my Freshman year in high school, the guys on the JV lacrosse team decided to have a Freshman/Sophomore game after practice one day. There was a stray ground ball during said game that I nonchalantly went to retrieve, not paying attention to the fact that it had led me back towards the box near midfield (where on-the-fly substitutions are made). One of the Sophomores had trailed the play, subbed through the box, and though I thought I had accounted for everyone else on the field and was in the clear, I was actually in the cross hairs of a guy bigger than me running full speed. The back of my shoulders were the first thing to hit ground after my feet had been removed from the solid surface, though my feet did manage to make it back down at the end of the back somersault I'd been unwittingly required to perform. I was fine, and it was a completely clean hit, but what struck me as surreal was what was looking back at me from my facemask. The impact from my elder compatriot had sent every air molecule in my lungs screaming for the exits, and when the crowd saw a mouthpiece as they rounded my esophagus, they bottlenecked into my nostrils before finally bursting through. Yes, I had actually just had the snot knocked out of me, and as it hung in front of me, it stared back with a sheepish look as if it recognized my face but couldn't quite put a name to it. That, right now, is what Chris Heisey is doing to baseballs in Arizona, and he just missed a HR today when he smoked one just foul and nearly out of the stadium completely. The Aristocrats!
- Joey Votto is clearly just setting pitchers up for failure come April. He's all "Look at me! I have no strike zone recognition anymore so you can throw me strikes!" He's so good, it's going to work, and then he's going to go 20 for 20 with no walks and 20 HRs over the first 20 PA of the season while all the pitchers stand around confused.