The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
On a day when nobody really stood out either on the mound or at the plate for the Cincinnati Reds, I suppose I'll defer to the excitement factor for today's JNMHSotG, and that means Billy Hamilton takes today's trophy. Hamilton chipped in with a smoked triple over Chicago Cubs CF Dexter Fowler's head, stole his 13th base of the young season, and picked up his 2nd RBI with a bases loaded Fielder's Choice that was as close as the Reds have come to a hit with runners on in days.
If you napped on the couch through this one, that was more or less all you missed.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Brayan Pena, who doubled and walked; Todd Frazier, who wanked a solo dinger (but had a costly error on defense); Anthony DeSclafani, who pitched not great (5 IP 5 R, 1 ER, 5 K, 2 BB) and wasn't exactly helped by his defense; and both Kevin Gregg and J.J. Hoover, who combined for 2 scoreless innings just just 2 total baserunners allowed.
- Miguel Montero put the first run on the board when he smoked a first pitch fastball from DeSclafani the other way over the wall in LF for a solo dinger in the Top of the 2nd. Reds trailed, 1-0.
- The Top of the 4th saw the Reds kick themselves in several ways, in it, too, allowed the Cubs to score again. Anthony Rizzo walked to lead off the inning and then easily stole 2B when the Reds seemed to ignore him. Kris Bryant followed by smacking a hard grounder that went right through Todd Frazier's legs at 3B for an error that put runners on the corners, and Montero smacked a single to LF to score Rizzo. The Reds eventually chose to walk Bill Hall All Star Chris Coghlan to load the bases for the pitcher, Jake Arrieta, who then struck out, but that brought talented rookie Addison Russell to the plate with 2-outs. He smoked a Disco fastball off the wall in right-center, and that cleared the bases to bust things open. Reds trailed, 5-0.
- Frazier did his best to rectify things in the Bottom of the 4th, however, as he took a low off-speed pitch and yanked it just over the wall in the corner in LF for a solo dinger, his 5th of the young season. Reds trailed, 5-1.
- The Reds put together a lil' something in the Bottom of the 5th thanks to the bottom of the lineup. Zack Cozart singled to begin things, and Brayan Pena followed with a walk to put a pair of runners on. Devin Mesoraco was then f**king called on to f**king pinch hit for DeSclafani, and he also walked to load the bases for Billy Hamilton. Hamilton hit a high-hopping grounder up the middle that forced Mes at 2B and drove in Cozart to leave runners on the corners and 1-out for the meat of the order. Hamilton stole 2B, and Arrieta pitched around Joey Votto to walk him and load the bases, but Frazier popped out meekly and Phillips hit a tapper to the SS to end the threat. Reds trailed, 5-2.
- Both pitching staffs were locked and loaded from that point on, and the offense withered away with nothing but a Billy Hamilton triple to keep the hopes alive. He didn't score, by the way. Reds lose, 5-2.
- Tony Cingrani finally got to pitch today. Hot damn, he even looked like he knew how to do it! I'd have included him in the Honorable Mentions, but Bryan Price has informed me that it's not his role to get mentioned honorably. He threw 2 perfect innings with 2 Ks.
- For the record, it was the first time Cingrani had been called upon to pitch in a big league game since he struck out an aging Jimmy Foxx on June 18, 1944. Or so.
- According to Jamie Ramsey, the last time the Reds got a hit with a runner in scoring position was on Wednesday against the Milwaukee Brewers, and it was Votto with said hit. Their futility streak was at 20 consecutive PAs without one at some point early in the game, but I sneezed too much through the final four innings to keep tabs on how many more have come and gone without a hit in said scenarios. Yea, there were several.
- As Red Reporter's former fearless leader noted, Brandon Phillips had slugged just .295 over his last 244 PA entering today. To top that off, he has only had a slugging percentage over .394 once in his last eight calendar months played. Your everyday cleanup hitter, ladies and gents.
- Speaking of potential cleanup hitters, Devin Mesoraco still can't play, and Jay Bruce pinch hit today and struck out in the Bottom of the 9th. Bruce has now struck out 25 times in 70 PA in 2015, or 35.7% of the time. All of the stats compiled by every team haven't been updated as of yet, but a quick perusal shows that Bruce's 35.7% K rate would sit just fractionally behind his Sunday opponent - Jorge Soler - atop the National League Trailerboard. Soler K'd twice on Sunday, his 27th and 28th Ks of 2015 in 78 PA (35.8%). Yeesh.
- The Reds will welcome the Brewers to town after this, with Milwaukee set to take on the Reds tomorrow in Game 1 of the series at 7:10 PM EDT. Jason Marquis and his 7.20 ERA will take the mound opposite Jimmy Nelson.
- Sonday Tunes.