The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Jay Bruce went 3 for 5, launched a dinger, and smiled his way through the Colorado sunshine to take home this afternoon's JNMHSotG in spite of a bullpen meltdown that may well have ruined any momentum left in this wreaky, creaky 2014 season.
Let's be honest here, folks. There's still a slim chance that the Cincinnati Reds can make a legitimate push for the playoffs this year, and the one variable that's been dormant all year that could possibly spur that is the bat swung by number 32. If Jay Bruce hits one of those hot streaks where his hair's on fire and his lumber shoots lightning out of its ass, there's no telling what the last six weeks of the season could have in store.
It has happened before, and I'll hope for it happening again. If the bullpen forgets how to do anything, though, then you might as well pack away your Reds hats come the end of September.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Billy Hamilton, who went 2 for 5 with two doubles and a pair of runs scored; Zack Cozart, who went 1 for 3 with a walk, two runs scored, and a pair of runs batted in; and Jumbo Diaz, who wiggled & wriggled out of quite a jam when brought in with the bases loaded and nobody out in the 7th inning.
- The Rockies jumped on Mat Latos early in this one and managed to grace the scoreboard before a brief rain delay halted things in the Bottom of the 1st inning. Drew Stubbs launched a 1-out double to get flurry started, and he scored on a subsequent double by Corey Dickerson. Dickerson then came around to score on a single from Nolan Arenado. Reds trailed, 2-0.
- Charlie Blackmon hit a Latos curve out for his 15th dinger of the season in the Bottom of the 2nd to give the Rockies a 3-0 lead, but the comebacky Reds - who have proved time, time, time, and time again that their 2014 offense is capable of overcoming seemingly insurmountable leads - turned the tides in the Top of the 4th. Zack Cozart was hit by a pitch to begin the inning, and Bruce clubbed a 2-run dinger behind him to get the Reds back in the chase. Reds trailed, 3-2.
- The Top of the 5th broke things open for the Redlegs as they plated 3 runs to take the lead for good. Chris Heisey walked to lead off the inning, and he ended up on 3B two batters later when Hamilton roped a double down the 1B line under Michael Cuddyer's glove. A Cozart single scored them both, and Cozart himself scored later on a wild pitch after Bruce's single moved him to 3B. Reds led, 5-3.
- Negron launched a solo dinger to lead off the Top of the 6th, and both Skip Schumaker and Heisey followed with hits to put runners at 2B & 3B with the pitcher's spot at the plate. Despite the doubleheader, Bryan Price opted to pinch hit for Latos (who had thrown 97 pitches), and Ryan Ludwick chipped in with a sac fly to plate another run. Reds led, 7-3.
- Sam LeCure worked a clean 6th inning for the Reds, but he ran into a bit of trouble in his second inning of work. Dickerson led off the Bottom of the 7th with a dinger to CF, and the Rockies loaded the bases before Jumbo Diaz came on and put out the fire by allowing just one run (on a sac fly) while escaping otherwise unscathed. Reds led, 7-5.
- Writing recaps for games in Coors Field is exhausting.
- /chugs water
- /chomps on orange slice
- The Reds tacked on a pair of runs in the Top of the 9th, which, well, was awesome. A Hamilton bloop double started things, and he came around to score two batters later on a single from Bruce. Bruce scored, too, when Brayan Pena pitched in with a single two batters after him. Reds led, 9-5.
- Those runs proved to be every bit as inconsequential as the other 7 they'd scored in a rare offensive outburst, as Price opted to use Aroldis Chapman in a non-save situation in the Bottom of the 9th that went about as poorly as you could possibly imagine. Chapman came on, walked the bases loaded, walked in a run, and then walked to the dugout having walked every walker capable of walking that walked to the plate. One run scored, and once J.J. Hoover came in to relieve him, another run scored on a sac fly from Wilin Rosario. That set up a matchup against former Red Drew Stubbs, and he promptly mashed the game-winning 3-run dinger to end the game against his former mates. Reds lose, 10-9.
- That, right there, is as bad of a loss that I've watched the Reds participate in since that godawful Braves game with Brooks Conrad many, many bad memories ago.
- Noticed today that Jay Bruce has been the 41st most valuable RF in the NL of the 44 players who have played there so far in 2014, per FanGraphs. That's got him ranked lower than Roger Bernadina (remember him?), and his -11.2 runs "saved" is the worst among all NL RFs. Ouch.
- Are you on the Kris Negron bandwagon yet? I am.
- Every Reds position player who started the game had at least one hit except Devin Mesoraco (who did draw a walk).
- Hoover has allowed more walk-off dingers in my memory than every reliever in the history of the sport combined. Roughly.
- No tunes. Ain't nobody got time for that after this one.