The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
J.J. Hoover had struggled mightily in the early portion of the 2014 season following what had been a breakout year in 2013, but tonight, he finally looked as comfortable as he did during the year in which he had a 26.1 inning scoreless streak. Hoover tossed a pair of blank innings tonight when the game had not yet been decided, struck out 4 Cubs in the process, and he allowed just a single hit during that stretch. It was the kind of performance that gives hope that he'll emerge from the funk that's plagued him so far, and that coupled with a collective meh performance by the rest of his Cincinnati Reds teammates gives him tonight's JNMHSotG.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Brayan Pena, who went 1 for 3 with the first honked dinger since joining the Reds; Billy Hamilton, who went 1 for 4 with a steal and a run scored; Jay Bruce, who walked twice, stole a base, and scored a run; Todd Frazier, who had a 2-run double; and Zack Cozart, who went 2 for 4 with a double.
- Tony Cingrani was hit hard early and often, and that started promptly with the top of the Chicago Cubs order in the Top of the 1st. Emilio Bonifacio led off with a single, and after Junior Lake hit a 395 ft fly out that Hamilton managed to catch at the wall in CF, Anthony Rizzo launched a very Votto-esque 2-run HR over the wall in left-center. Reds trailed, 2-0.
- Votto nearly matched Rizzo's shot in the Bottom of the 1st, though his hit off the wall in LF to render him a double. Jay Bruce walked two batters later, and Frazier followed with a 2-run double off the wall in left-center that scored them both. Game tied, 2-2.
- Brayan Pena led off the Bottom of the 2nd with the first HR of his brief Reds career, but the Cubs got that run back immediately with a single, walk, and run-scoring single from Starlin Castro in the Top of the 3rd. Game tied, 3-3.
- Upon seeing Cingrani struggle through yet another inning in the Top of the 4th, Bryan Price opted to pull him in favor of a pinch hitter, and that brought in Nick Christiani to pitch beginning with the Top of the 5th. Christiani promptly allowed a double to Junior Lake, consecutive 4-pitch walks to Rizzo and Castro following that, and a grounder from Mike Olt (Mike Olt!) and sac fly from Nate Schierholtz brought in a pair of runs before the end of the inning. Reds trailed, 5-3.
- The Reds scored their fourth and final run of the evening in the Bottom of the 4th courtesy of Hamilton terrorizing the basepaths the way we've come to expect. He reached on an infield "single" that was a soft grounder that Castro couldn't come up with cleanly at SS, and after he moved to 2B on a Votto grounder, Billy stole 3B without a throw. A single from Phillips then scored Hamilton. Reds trailed, 5-4.
- Sean Marshall was brought on to pitch for the Reds in the Top of the 9th, and he promptly pitched like former Cub bullpen mate Carlos Marmol. He walked Rizzo on 4 pitches to begin the inning, allowed a double to Castro, and they both scored two batters later on a single from Schierholtz. Beef Wellington Castillo then singled, and Schierholtz scored two batters later on an error from Joey Votto. Bonifacio then doubled to score Castillo. The Reds got a double from Cozart in the Bottom of the 9th, but the rally attempt ended there. Reds lose, 9-4.
- Despite having impeccable taste in choosing which University to attend, Nick Christiani picked up the first loss of his Major League career tonight.
- Hoover's pair of scoreless innings dropped his ERA under 10, finally. It now sits at 9.72.
- Tony Cingrani was pulled after pitching just 4 innings tonight, and his fastball was sitting decidedly slower than usual in his last inning of work.
- There were over 700 comments in the Game Thread tonight. Not one of them went green.
- No Reds hitter other than Billy Hamilton has hit a HR since Kristi Yamaguchi was the reigning World Champion and MTV showed music videos on Channel 11.
- Music videos like this one.