The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
By his own admission, Jay Bruce has had an awful, awful 2014.
Tonight was a beautiful change of pace for Bruce, however, as the Cincinnati Reds RF slugged a pair of dingers, poked a single to LF to beat a shift and drive in a run, sported a so-fresh-so-clean haircut aggrandizing his wonderfully coifed hair, and looked comfortable in the batter's box for the first time in ages. The fact that he was facing Lance Lynn surely helped, as he's managed to own the St. Louis Cardinals pitcher over the last few seasons, but perhaps it's a turning of the corner moment for a guy the Reds will need to depend on heavily in coming seasons if they're to pick up the pieces from a shattered season.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Devin Mesoraco, who master blasted a 3-run dinger; Todd Frazier, who walloped his 27th knobknocker of the season; and Alfredo Simon, who kept the Cardinals offense at bay through 6 solid innings, limiting them to just a pair of earned runs in an outing that clearly shows the Reds have handled him correctly while allowing him to pitch over 100 innings more than he did in 2013.
- Both Lynn and Simon kept the game scoreless through the first three innings of the game, but Bruce opened the scoring in the Top of the 4th by roping a laser over the wall in RF for a solo blast. Reds led, 1-0.
- A Daniel Descalso double off the wall in CF led off the Bottom of the 5th, and he was plated a batter later thanks to a Xavier Scruggs single that evened the ledger. The Reds struck back quickly, however, as Frazier's dinger put the Reds ahead in the Top of the 6th and a later RBI single from Bruce put them ahead for good. Reds led, 3-2.
- Back to back doubles from Yadier Molina and Randal Grichuk brought the Cards back within a single run in the Bottom of the 6th, but the Reds finally let the baby out of the basket with a 4-run 8th inning that broke the recent losing streak. Mesoraco's blast drove in three, Bruce followed with another solo blast, and that was all she wrote thanks to some successful bullpenning from Sam LeCure, Jumbo Diaz, and Aroldis Chapman. Reds win, 7-2!
- Tonight's game was the final road game for the Reds this season. They'll return home for the final 6 games of the 2014 season. Typing that just made my baseball heart go cold.
- Bruce's injured, awful season has him with 18 dingers. That's actually tied with last year's NL leader Pedro Alvarez, All Star and breakout dude Charlie Blackmon, and not-Votto Freddie Freeman. It's just one dinger behind Paul Goldschmidt and Ryan Braun*, too, in case you were wondering how much injuries and 96 mph fastballs have diluted offense in today's game.
- Mesoraco's blast gave him 77 ribbies on the season, which overtakes Frazier's now 76 ribbies for the team lead.