The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Aroldis Chapman gets the JNMHSotG nod for the Cincinnati Reds tonight, in part because he's viewed as being too good to pitch in close games on the road. More importantly, though, he earns tonight's honor because he has set the bar so high for relief pitching for the Reds that there seems to be some huge void that cannot quite be bridged by any of the other members of the Cincinnati bullpen. The Reds blew multiple 3 run leads tonight, and in the process barfed up the 4th blown save of the season in their loss to the Chicago Cubs, a loss that would be gut wrenching had it not seemed so eerily predictable as it set itself up.
Four blown saves. The team has only played seven games.
Aroldis Chapman didn't pitch in tonight's game, by the way.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Brandon Phillips, who had a solid 4 hit evening; Joey Votto, who doubled and tripled; Marlon Byrd, who had a pair of hits, a pair of RBIs, and a great catch in LF; Jay Bruce, who similarly had a pair of hits and RBIs (as well as a stolen base); and J.J. Hoover, who tossed a scoreless inning in relief.
- The Reds wasted no time in getting to Cubs' ace Jon Lester. After Starlin Castro robbed Kris Negron of a leadoff single with a jumping grab in the Top of the 1st, Votto tripled down the RF line and came in to score on Frazier's RBI double. Frazier moved to 3B on a single from Phillips, and the Reds' 3B then scored on a slow grounder from Marlon Byrd. Phillips then motored home on an oppo single from Bruce. Reds led, 3-0.
- Unfortunately, the Cubs got immediately back into the game in the Bottom of the 1st off Mike Leake. After Anthony Rizzo worked himself into a hitter's count by getting a would-be inside strike called a ball - he stands on the inner line of the batter's box and hangs out over the plate - he singled, and Jorge Soler followed with his first dinger of the year. Thanks for that, Jerry Meals, especially when you called inside balls as strikes for Joey Votto just one inning later. Chris Coghlan then doubled, and he scored on a softly lined single from Castro. Game tied, 3-3.
- The Reds finally put their offense back in gear in the Top of the 6th, and the middle of the order was to thank. Phillips whacked a 1-out single, and he came in to score on a subsequent double from Byrd. Bruce then followed with a laser to the wall in RF for a double, and that plated Byrd to give the Reds a 2-run lead. A Brayan Pena bloop single followed to move Bruce to 3B, and the Reds' RF came in to score a batter later on a productive grounder from Zack Cozart. Reds led, 6-3.
- In the Bottom of the 6th, Chris Coghlan deee-stroyed a Leake meatball for a solo dinger. Reds led, 6-4.
- The Reds cruised again into an 8th inning scenario that saw them ahead by multiple runs and closing in on another NL Central victory. Instead, they allowed another back-breaking 2-run dinger, this time from Soler off a Jumbo Diaz meatball that missed its spot by about two full feet. Game tied, 6-6.
- In the Top of the 10th, Votto led off with a double and promptly got thrown out at 3B on a derpy grounder to the pitcher from Frazier one batter later. Sometimes, running on contact doesn't work out (see: all of 2014.)
- The Cubs won in the Bottom of the 10th, of course, after a leadoff walk to Rizzo haunted. Soler smashed a single to LF to move him up, and after Coghlan walked against Manny Parra, Burke Badenhop came in to allow the game winning hit to Arismendy Alcantara. It was Alcantara's first hit of the season. Reds lose, 7-6.
- That FanGraph is head-in-blender inducing.
- Jon Lester has allowed 9 ER in 10.1 IP so far in 2015, yet he'll go to bed tonight with an 0-1 record.
- Jonny Cueto has allowed 1 ER in 14.0 IP so far in 2015, yet he'll go to bed tonight with an 0-1 record.
- You'll hear tHom Brennamen mention win/loss records in reference to starting pitcher stats in every single game he calls for the rest of the season.
- The definition of insanity is writing recaps featuring the same reason the Reds lost over and over and over and over and over again, yet expecting a different result.
- Before the game, the Reds DFA'd both Ryan Dennick and Daniel Corcino so that Kyle Skipworth and Josh Smith could be on the roster for the 2 days before minor leaguers on the 40-man roster could be called up. Neither Smith nor Skipworth played tonight, of course.
- One of my favorite tunes.