The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Johnny Cueto was masterful again this evening despite facing an odd strike zone, an opponent on the brink of history, a $200 million lineup, and a defense that failed him, and for that he earns another JNMHSotG. Cueto lasted just 6.2 innings tonight, but he yielded just a single earned run (debatable, too) and four hits in the process. Victimized twice by his infield defense on grounders they would have normally fielded in their sleep, Cueto was forced to pitch deeper into early innings than we all would have liked, and that cost him a chance to wrap up a late inning kerfluffle that ultimately ended up in Manny Parra allowing inherited runs, but that appears to be protocol with the 2014 Cincinnati Reds at this point.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Billy Hamilton, whose 2-out double nearly pulled the Reds back into the game; Todd Frazier, whose double broke up Hyun-Jin Ryu's perfect game bid; Chris Heisey, who had a hit and an RBI; and Jonathan Broxton, who tossed a perfect inning in his previous stomping grounds.
- The business end of the scoreboard incorporated itself in the Bottom of the 3rd. After Drew Butera singled to RF, Ryu sacrificed to move him to 2B, and Drew Gordon then smacked a grounder just to Todd Frazier's right at 1B. The ball skated under Frazier's glove - his 1B glove, not his usual 3B glove - and Butera motored around to score. That left the Reds down, 1-0.
- Said error cost Cueto roughly 12 extra pitches in his conquering of the 3rd inning, and that proved important in the Bottom of the 7th when Cueto again ran into some trouble. Justin Turner drew a leadoff walk, and after a Butera fly-out, Erisbel Arruebarrena hit a ground rule double that left runners at 2B & 3B. Cueto battled a solid Ryu at bat, and when he induced a grounder to SS it appeared the Reds would get a runner out at the plate and allow Cueto to get out of the inning; alas, Zack Cozart dropped the ball after fielding it, the runner scored, and Cueto was chased from the game. Manny Parra was brought on, and he allowed a 2-run double to Carl Crawford that gave the Dodgers an insurmountable lead. Reds trailed, 4-1.
- Todd Frazier, the lone bat in the Reds lineup on the night with 2014 numbers sniffing respectability, took matters into his own hands after Ryu sat through a long Bottom of the 7th, and he laced a double down the line in LF to break up the perfect game and no-hit bids. Ludwick then singled to move Frazier to 3B, and Frazier scored on a sac-fly from Chris Heisey. Pena then singled, Ryu was chased, Brian Wilson was brought in to pitch, and after he struck out a pinch-hitting Devin Mesoraco, Skip Schumaker walked to load the bases. Billy Hamilton then laced a liner into RF that very well could have cleared the bases, but Skip was stopped at 3B despite the throw home bouncing away from Butera at catcher. Wilson then walked Cozart on 4 pitches to reload the bases before being pulled for Kenley Jansen, who ultimately ended the inning by striking out Brandon Phillips with the bases loaded. The Reds went rather meekly in the Top of the 9th, and that was that. Reds lose, 4-3.
- The Reds fielded a lineup tonight that included one player - just one - that had an OPS outside of Great American Ball Park that was over .650 in 2014 prior to the first pitch.
- The Reds optioned Neftali Soto to AAA Louisville a few days ago, and they called up Donald Lutz in his place. Given Lutz's usage (rather, the lack thereof), I have no idea why the hell that happened. Ramon Santiago has basically usurped Lutz's playing time since then, and that's a traveshamockery.
- It's looking more and more like Manny Parra's stellar run in 2013 is the exception, not the rule. While his 3.33 ERA in 46 innings in 2013 was a shot in the arm for the Reds, the ERA well over 5 he's sported in the other 533+ innings in the majors hasn't been.
- The Reds have dingered just once in their last 6 road games. That one was Frazier's whaleofadinger in the 15 inning marathon game in Washington on May 19th, which is also the only non-home dinger of his 9 dingers in 2014.
- Brandon Phillips is on pace to strike out nearly 150 times this year. In his career, he's only once struck out more than 98 times in a season, and that was in 2007 (109 K). As is the case with many of the Reds in 2014, BP's game is afoot.
- The victory by the Pittsburgh Pirates coupled with the Reds' loss leaves Cincinnati in 4th place in the NL Central.
- Memorial Day always makes me miss my grandfather, Bobby Dodd, who died on Christmas Eve in 2004. He flew P-51's in the Eighth Air Force in World War II, and was the single driving force behind my interest in America's part in world history. Here he is (the first one speaking) talking about George Preddy, his wing man & one of WWII's greatest aces, in a documentary filmed around 2000. Many, many thanks to all those who have served and given their best, and their lives, in the name of the United States of America.