The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Oh, I don't know.
Despite the fact that the Cincinnati Reds played a rather mundane game, they somehow managed to find themselves in a 3-3 game in the 9th inning, and I guess there had to be someone worthy of tonight's trophy and $7 gift card to Speedway.
I'll bestow it upon Brayan Pena, then, who was the only Reds to reach base twice on the evening. NERTS also scored a run, and despite nearly everything we could have possibly imagined he's emerged as a very realistic option as the 1B for the foreseeable non-Votto future.
Not a great option, but quite possibly the best option. I think I'd call up Tucker Barnhart to be the backup catcher and start Pena at 1B unless a significant trade is made. Welcome to 2014.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Jay Bruce, who snapped an 0 for 15 streak with an RBI double; Billy Hamilton, who went 1 for 4 with a run scored and a stolen base; Homer Bailey, who allowed just 3 runs (all on...wait for it...Homers) but pitched decently otherwise; and Ramon Santiago, for continuing to not be nearly as bad as we'd expected him to be when called upon due to injuries to his teammates.
- A pair of solo dingers put the Reds in a bind early in this one, as both Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez went deep (in back to back fashion) off Bailey in the Bottom of the 1st inning. Reds trailed, 2-0.
- Hamilton's single and steal of 2B started the Reds first foray into the scoring column, and a productive (read: GRITTASTIC) out from Skip Schumaker put Billy at 3B for Bruce's RBI double over the head of Lyle Overbay. Unfortunately, a solo dinger from Johnathan Lucroy got that run back for the Brewers in the Bottom of the 6th. Reds trailed, 3-1.
- Brewers' pitcher Jimmy Nelson had largely cruised through the first 6 innings, but he tired a bit in the Top of the 7th to allow the Reds to tie things up. Singles from Ryan Ludwick and Pena led off the inning, and the bases were then loaded when Zack Cozart was hit on the hand while squaring for a potential bunt. Nelson then hit Santiago on the foot to score a run and get sent to the showers, and the Reds tacked on another run when Chris Heisey hit a pinch-hit liner that resulted in a sac-fly. Game tied, 3-3.
- Lucroy then mashed a lead-off walk-off off a Sam LeCure meatball in the Bottom of the 9th, and sadly that was that. Reds lose, 4-3.
- That's now 5 consecutive losses to start the second half of the season for the Reds, and they've each been disappointing in their own way.
- Cozart left the game after being hit, and while x-rays determined that he didn't break anything, it's easy to assume he'll be bruised and out for at least a few games. Kris Negron entered the game when Cozart came out, and he, too, was banged up when a throw-over to 1B hit him in the head. He stayed in the game, but it draws the uber-thin nature of the Reds IF depth into a glaring spotlight. One can only assume that the currently rehabbing Jack Hannahan is on 24 hour alert.
- The trade deadline is now less than 9 days away, and I've reached the point where I'd rather the Reds make a break-down move than no move at all. Balking at acquisitions leaves this team categorically out of the playoff race, and that's a combination that just seems imprudent. Make savvy additions and there's a chance at the postseason; trade a veteran pitcher if there's not a savvy addition to be made affordably and pick up an important piece for the 2015 season; do nothing, gain nothing, and likely miss the playoffs with the banged-up state of the roster. Pick one, Walt, but don't sit on your hands again.
- Speaking of trade deadline strategy, it appears that the top hitting prospect in the Reds' system, Jesse Winker, is set for surgery to repair a tendon in his hand, and given the timing it's an injury that will likely end his season. That's a top-flight trade chip potentially off the table, too, and it's dang unfortunate considering Winker's solid season so far.
- That poor baby will have to sleep under the basket again tonight.
- It's George Clinton's birthday, so have the funk.