The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Joey Votto isn't just back, he's back and he's saucy.
The Cincinnati Reds cornerstone 1B smacked another dinger Friday night against the St. Louis Cardinals, and while the majority of his teammates spent the evening frustrated by Michael Wacha & Co., Votto went 2 for 3 with a walk and the lone run driven in on the evening, which was he himself. Votto seems hell-bent on showing the world that he's not just healthy, he's the best damn left handed hitter in baseball and that he knows a helluva lot more about how to approach an at-bat than you, me, them, the opposing pitcher, or anyone else who stands to question him. That makes for a Bad Mothershutyourmouth, and he's been the single brightest spot in the up and down early goings for the Reds so far.
Have a trophy, Joey, and keep knocking the snot out of the ball and taking names all you want.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Johnny Cueto, who tossed 6 of the best innings he's ever tossed against St. Louis before getting dinked around in inning 7 (while getting no help from his defense); Zack Cozart, who had a 3 hit evening; and Todd Frazier, who doubled for the only other Reds hit on the evening.
- As Rlewis8888 pointed out in the game thread, in 34 series against the Reds since 2003, the Cardinals are 29-3-2 and have won 13 of the last 15 series. Everything in the next four bullet points reflects that to no end.
- In the Top of the 1st, Votto destroyed a Wacha pitch that caught far too much of the plate, dingering over the wall in right-center for his 4th of the early season. Reds led, 1-0.
- The Cardinals - as they are wont to do - wasted little time in good-breaking their way back into a tie game. Matt Carpenter began their half of the inning with a double down the RF line that, of course, landed right on the chalk, and after he moved to 3B on a productive grounder from Jason Heyward, he motored home on a sac-fly to CF from Matt Holliday. Billy Hamilton's throw clearly beat Carpenter to the plate, but Brayan Pena dropped the ball as Carpenter went airborne to avoid the tag. Of course. Game tied, 1-1.
- Cueto did his damnedest to keep St. Louis off the board after that as his own offense went to sleep. The Bottom of the 7th, though, turned out to be a nightmare. Holliday singled between 2B & 1B as the Reds had Brandon Phillips shaded up the middle instead of in his usual spot, and Jhonny Peralta followed with a bloop down the LF line that Marlon Byrd was extremely slow to get to. It fell in - which hurt - but then Byrd let the bounce get by him to allow the runners to move up to 2B & 3B (though it was inexplicably ruled a double, somehow). The Reds then oddly chose to walk the struggling John Jay to load the bases and set-up a double play opportunity, but that brought Red-killer Yadier Molina to the plate with the bags juiced. He promptly smacked the first pitch he saw to the corner in LF, clearing the bases and effectively putting the game on ice. Reds trailed, 4-1.
- The bullpen went to work in the Bottom of the 8th, and that resulted in another Carpenter double and a pair of runs thanks to an error by Phillips on a would-be double play ball because life is pain and pain is watching the Reds play the Cardinals. Byrd struck out again in the 9th, a would-be HBP got waved off, and the Reds went meekly into the St. Louis night yet again. Reds lose, 6-1.
- Zack Cozart is hitting .324 on the season. Typing that name and those numbers in that order in the same sentence felt like Greek.
- Since 2012, Marlon Byrd's K rates have been (respectively) 20.3%, 24.9%, and 29.0% prior to this year. Before tonight, it sat at 29.4% in 2015's early going, and he promptly went 0 for 4 with 3 K's tonight. He has yet to take a walk on the season.
- Speaking of the Reds' winter acquisitions, the combination of Byrd, Brennan Boesch, Chris Dominguez, Burke Badenhop, Kevin Gregg, and Jason Marquis has combined for -1.2 fWAR already in 2015. Someone buy Anthony DeSclafani a coke or a watch or a suped-up version of the Nasty Hook already.
- Even with the screw-job that Cueto got from the St. Louis official scorer on Peralta's bloop "double," he's still got just a 2.14 ERA in his three starts on the season. He's 0-2, though. #KillTheWin
- Game two of the series begins tomorrow at 2:15 EDT at Busch Stadium, with Homer Bailey set to make his season debut opposite young fireballer Carlos Martinez.