The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
David Holmberg apparently likes pitching to the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Cincinnati Reds rookie picked up the 2nd win of his 2014 today, and both have come against the Brewers in games they desperately needed to win for postseason purposes. Holmy allowed just 3 hits and a pair of earned runs over 6 IP on a sun-soaked afternoon at GABP, and the bullpen and offense both backed him enough for the good guys to pull out the W. It's the third consecutive start where Holmberg as gone exactly 6 innings, and he's allowed 2 or fewer runs in each of them, lowering his season ERA to a palatable 4.80 in the process.
Congrats, Dave, and well pitched.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Brandon Phillips, who went 2 for 5, scored twice, and launched his first dinger since June 28th; Jay Bruce, who had 3 hits, scored once, and drove in a run; Yorman Rodriguez, who had a pair of hits (one of the RBI variety); Brayan Pena, who had a pair of hits and a sac bunt for bonus points; and Aroldis Chapman, who earned his 35th save of the season with a perfect 9th inning.
- The desperate Brewers jumped out to the early lead in today's matinee, as Bill Hall All-Star Rickie Weeks launched a meatball from Holmberg well over the wall in CF for a solo dinger in the Top of the 2nd. Reds trailed, 1-0.
- The Reds rallied to tie things up in the Bottom of the 3rd, however, thanks to some small-ball and clutchy clutchitude with 2-outs. Phillips led off the inning with a single, and he moved over to 2B thanks to a bunt from Brayan Pena. Yes, a bunt. A Yovani Gallardo wild pitch moved BP over to 3B, and he scored when Bruce roped a single into RF. Game tied, 1-1.
- Milwaukee took command again a half-inning later, though, as the first two runners reached on a single and a walk, and a Holmberg wild pitch and sac-fly later plated Ryan Braun* from 3B to again put the Brewers up by a run. Reds trailed, 2-1.
- The wheels that Gallardo had been tediously riding on through 4 innings began to fall off midway through the Bottom of the 5th, and the Reds pounced as the Brewers starter neared 100 pitches. Pena singled to lead off, and after he was retired at 2B on a Todd Frazier force-out grounder, Bruce doubled to put runners on 2B & 3B. Ryan Ludwick then reached on an error that allowed Frazier to score, and Bruce then came across the plate when Yorman yo-yo'd Yovani's pitch for a single (sorry). Reds led, 3-2.
- Gallardo sat at 99 pitches through 5 innings, but he was brought out to face Jason Bourgeois at the start of the Bottom of the 6th, and that worked in the Reds favor. Bourgy singled to lead off, and Gallardo stayed in to face the next batter, Phillips, despite having thrown 103 pitches (keep in mind also that Phillips entered today's game having gone 22 for 70 lifetime off Gallardo (.355/.403/.500) with a pair of dingers against him in the past and had already gone 1 for 3 against him on the day.) Well, two pitches in, Phillips blasted a 2-run dinger deep over the LF fence to put the Reds ahead for good and end Gallardo's day and Milwaukee's season. Reds led, 5-2.
- Sam LeCure took over in the Top of the 7th and managed to let the bases get loaded, but some nifty defense and a bailout from fellow bullpenner (heh) Jumbo Diaz allowed the Reds to escape with just a single run allowed. Diaz and Aroldis Chapman locked things down from there, and that was that. Reds win, 5-3!
Fourth-to-Last FanGraph of the Season
<iframe src="http://www.fangraphs.com/graphframe.aspx?config=0&static=0&type=livewins&num=0&h=450&w=450&date=2014-09-25&team=Reds&dh=0" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" height="450" width = "450" style="border:1px solid black;"></iframe><br /><span style="font-size:9pt;">Source: <a href="http://www.fangraphs.com/livewins.aspx?date=2014-09-25&team=Reds&dh=0&season=2014">FanGraphs</a></span>
- The 70 PA against Gallardo that Phillips had logged prior to today's game was his 2nd most against any pitcher in his career, trailing only the 73 PA against Wandy Rodriguez. Since math is complicated, I'll tell you that the 4 PA he added today means he's faced Gallardo more than any other pitcher since he made it to the big leagues.
- Symmetry is cool - if you're into that sort of thing - so it's worth mentioning that the now 74 PA Gallardo's faced against Phillips is also his most against any batter. Second on that list is Andrew McCutchen, with 57.
- Interestingly, 9 players have faced Gallardo at least 43 times in their careers, and 8 of them have an OPS against him of at least .823. The only one who doesn't? Joey Votto, at .779 in 54 PA. Still miss you, Joey.
- Today's loss by the Brewers officially eliminated any remaining fractional percentage chance that they could make the playoffs. At least they only spent 4 months in 1st place.
- Billy Hamilton was still feeling the pain from the catch that robbed Carlos Gomez of a dinger yesterday, as the concussion symptoms that caused him to leave the game early still persisted. There's a very real chance we've seen the last of Billy in 2014, which is a bummer. Best of luck to him feeling better, and soon.
- The Pittsburgh Pirates come to town for the final series of the season this weekend, with the first pitch of game one scheduled for 7:10 PM ET Friday night. Vance Worley's goggles will be on the mound for the Buccos opposite Mike Leake.