The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
I'm pretty sure "tied in the 7th inning" is considered "late and close." I mean, it's pretty late, and it's pretty dang impossible for a game to be closer than tied.
Anyhoo, a 1-1 game in the Bottom of the 7th is late and dang close, and that's exactly when Eugenio Suarez launched his first dinger of the spring, a solo effort that temporarily put the Cincinnati Reds on top. On a day when the bats were again mostly silent and on a team where most every pitching line seems identical, it was Suarez's blast that stood out, and for that he gets today's JNMHSotG. Have a trophy, A-U Henny-O. I hope it's one of many to come.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Paul Maholm, who tossed 3 scoreless innings of 1-hit ball in his first start (and second multi-inning appearance) of the spring; Tony Cingrani, who allowed just a single run in his 3 innings of work (and picked off a pair of Kansas City Royals on the bases with his sneaky move); Tucker Barnhart, who got his first hit of the spring (a double) and scored a run; and Joey Votto, who Daugherty'd (see below).
Keyest of all Key Plays
- Both Maholm and Jason Marquis have pitched 5 scoreless innings this spring in their chase for spots in the starting rotation. There's much more that will go into determining who gets a rotation spot than "how many minor leaguers you retire in a spring game," but that's at least one core component, and both are showing a mastery of it. Both have opt-out clauses in their contracts, meaning it's highly unlikely that the Reds will manage to keep both around and stashed in the minors, so it's important they choose wisely. I do suppose it's a better problem to have than if they'd both allowed 5 runs in 5 IP.
- Oh, right. The game. Well, Erik Kratz managed to doink a unidinger off Cingrani in the Top of the 5th to even the score at 1, but Suarez matched him with a unidinger of his own for the Reds in the Bottom of the 7th to put the good guys back on top, 2-1. Unfortunately, Door Slammin' Sam LeCure coughed up the lead in the Top of the 8th thanks to a walk - which haunted - and a hit batter that preceded a Jorge "don't call me Emilioooo" Bonifacio smoked double off the wall that scored both runners. Daniel Corcino ran into similar trouble in the Top of the 9th, as a pair of runs scored on a Cheslor Cuthbert double to CF to stretch the lead to 5-2.
- There's a person named Cheslor Cuthbert. That deserves its very own Other Note.
- This has nothing to do with today's Reds game, but it's basebally and hilarious.
- I checked. Tied in the 7th is technically "late and close."
- Today's Reds loss brings their spring record to I don't know and it doesn't matter.