The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Todd Frazier lobbed the opening salvo in today's game with an early 2-run dinger, and considering it came of a pitcher with a recent history of dominating the Cincinnati Reds, that's good enough to take home today's JNMHSotG trophy, tote bag, and hypercolor shirt. Frazier finished with a 1 for 3 day, said dinger, said two ribbies, a walk, a nifty play at 3B to keep a run of the board, and the best walk-up music in baseball, thereby continuing his rather ridiculous play of late. Frazier's sporting an .860 OPS, is on pace for 35 doubles, 35 dingers, nearly 100 runs scored, 85 'tHoms, and is playing Gold Glove caliber defense; of course, since he's still only making the league minimum, he's not yet getting paid to do any of those things, though.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Skip Schumaker, who had a 2 for 4 day in the leadoff spot that included a double and a run scored and, hey, another run scored; Joey Votto, who went 2 for 3 with a double, a walk, and no RBI because Todd stole two in the first and the Dodgers walked him intentionally in another opportunity; Zack Cozart, who doubled, scored, and had some nifty glove work at SS; and Alfredo Simon, who pitched well.
- Early on, both teams looked as if they were going to make this an unexpected barn-burner. Consecutive 1-out singles by Justin Turner and Yasiel Puig put runners on 1B & 2B in the Top of the 1st, and Matt Kemp later hit a 2-out single that scored Turner. Simon escaped with just a single run allowed, however. Reds trailed, 1-0.
- The Cincinnati Reds moved the fences in before the Bottom of the 1st, and that again proved to be the best addition to the club's offense this year. After Schumaker dumped a gritty bloop single into shallow CF to lead off, Todd Frazier hit a low liner that just cleared the freshly shortened wall in RF for a two-run dinger. Reds led, 2-1.
- The grounds crew then moved the fences back again, and that helped Simon keep the Dodgers offense at bay. Los Angeles threatened in the Top of the 7th after consecutive singles from Kemp and Andre Ethier left runners at 1B & 3B with nobody out, but some fortuitous TOOTBLANning saw Kemp thrown out in a rundown between 3B and home, and the Reds escaped allowing nary a run.
- The Reds added a pair of insurance runs in the Bottom of the 8th against the Dodger bullpen after some strategic strategery saw Don Mattingly pinch-hit for Zack Greinke after he'd only thrown 88 pitches. Brandon League was torched in this one for a pair of runs, courtesy largely from a Zack Cozart double, a sac bunt by Hamilton, a wild pitch from League that scored Cozart, a later double by Skip, and a pinch-hit single from Ryan Ludwick. Aroldis Chapman pitched around a walk and a single for a scoreless 9th inning save, and that was that. Reds win, 4-1!
- Speaking of the World Cup, it's about to kick-off. Later this afternoon (3 PM EST), Brazil will take on Croatia as the host country takes the field for the first game of the month-long tournament. Brazil is stacked and surely one of the favorites, but don't overlook Croatia as they, too, have a pile of talent in their midfield.
- Today's victory ended the 10 game homestand, and while the Reds only managed a 5-5 record in those games, they managed to reassemble the core of their team in the process, and that makes it feel just a little bit better. Votto is back and hitting - as is Jay Bruce - and Mat Latos will likely return to the mound in just over 48 hours. With 12 games ahead against the Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Toronto Blue Jays, and Chicago Cubs, I think the next two weeks are a prime time to see this team kick ass and take names.
- Ryan Ludwick pinch hit for Brandon Phillips in the 8th inning after Phillips was banged up from a hard slide in 2B. Dang.
- Brazil tunes?
- Brazil tunes!