The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Joey Votto is in the zone right now. He hit two two-run home runs this game, adding a walk and a stolen base (!) for good measure. The Billy Hamilton-Joey Votto one-two punch has been immensely fun to watch, and has the Reds playing some very exciting baseball of late.
Honorable mentions are due to Billy Hamilton, Jason Marquis and J.J. Hoover. Hamilton continues to disrupt games with his speed, and has been living rent-free in a number of pitchers' heads. Marquis rose above the incredibly low expectations many had for him by giving the Reds six innings with three runs on five hits, two walks and seven strikeouts. Hoover came in with two outs in the seventh inning and managed to stop the bleeding that had been started by his bullpen-mates and added a scoreless eighth inning to boot.
- Jason Marquis had a rough first inning. After walking leadoff batter Matt Carpenter on four pitches, he managed to strike out Jason Heyward, although two wild pitches in the at-bat allowed Carpenter to advance to third. He then walked Matt Holliday and coaxed an infield pop up from Matt Adams, but Jhonny Peralta doubled down the left field line to score Carpenter for the first run of the game. Marquis escaped the inning with no further damage. Cardinals up 1-0 early.
In the bottom of the inning, John Lackey walked Billy Hamilton to start the game, and the word should probably be out by now that this is never, ever a good idea. After a balk moved Hamilton to second, Votto homered to left and earned his fifth and sixth RBI’s of the young season. Reds lead 2-1.
In the top of the second, Kolten Wong led off with a single, and then Randal Grichuk followed with a home run of his own to put the Cardinals back on top 3-2. This was the first home run by a Cardinals batter this season.
The Joey Votto Show continued in the third inning, when, after a broken bat single by Marquis and a fly out by Hamilton, Votto homered again to almost the exact same spot in left field for his seventh and eighth RBI’s of the young season. Reds lead 4-3.
After that, Marquis settled into a nice grove blew through the Cardinals efficiently, at one point retiring twelve in a row. He ran into a spot of bother in the sixth inning, but worked out of it with no damage, highlighted by a strikeout of Yadier Molina.
In the seventh inning, the bullpen happened. Kevin Gregg entered the game to start the inning and gave up singles to John Jay and Carpenter (although the second of those singles was a bit of bad luck after Votto deflected a probably-playable ball). Then Gregg was replaced by Manny Parra, who promptly gave up a single to Heyward, which scored Jay. After an intentional walk to Holliday, Parra was replaced by J.J. Hoover, who struck out pinch hitter Mark Reynolds to end the threat. All tied up at 4.
The awesomeness of the bottom of the eighth will be difficult to describe but here goes. With one out and Jordan Walden pitching, Billy Hamilton drew another walk. With Votto batting, Hamilton stole second, which resulted in Walden intentionally walking Votto. Walden then uncorked a wild pitch to Frazier, allowing Hamilton to take third, and a couple of pitches later, Votto stole second successfully without even a throw from Yadier Molina. Frazier then came through with a relatively shallow sacrifice fly, scoring Hamilton despite a strong throw from Heyward.
- In the ninth, Chapman allowd a hit but nailed down the save, sending the Reds faithful home with free pizza coupons.
<iframe src="http://www.fangraphs.com/graphframe.aspx?config=0&static=0&type=livewins&num=0&h=450&w=450&date=2015-04-10&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=2015-04-10&team=Reds&dh=0&season=2015">FanGraphs</a></span>
- Remember that whole thing last year where the bullpen went some crazy amount of time without recording a win? Well, they have all the wins so far. All the wins.
- Also, the Reds seem to be determined to correct that whole one-run-game record from last year in the first month of the season.
According to C. Trent Rosecrans, Marquis has the most hits among active pitchers.
So far this season, Parra has thrown a total of two pitches. Both went for hits. This seems like a trend that cannot continue.
I honestly don’t know which moment in the bottom of the eighth inning was funnier: Molina’s obvious panic when the ball got away from him and he knew he couldn’t stop Hamilton from taking third, or Votto’s delighted grin toward Hamilton after he successful swiped second.