The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
When your former MVP hits like a current MVP and your perennial Cy Young candidate pitches like a perennial Cy Young candidate, trying to pick the best player on the field is mighty tough.
When the going gets tough on a blog in a recap, I take the easy way out.
Johnny Cueto tossed 8 innings of 2 run ball, and aside from being tagged with a pair of solo dingers held the Milwaukee Brewers completely in check - and he singled - and he was backed by a slump-busting performance from Joey Votto, who got the Cincinnati Reds on the board with a solo dinger in his 1st PA and later added a single. When those powers combine, I am not Captain Planet, but the Reds probably won, as was the case tonight.
Share a trophy, guys, and welcome back to .500.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Brandon Phillips, who socked his first dinger of the season (and added a highlight-reel play at 2B, per usual); Marlon Byrd, who dingered, too; Jay Bruce, who singled and walked in his 2nd straight solid game at the plate; and Aroldis Chapman, who K'd a pair in a perfect 9th to pick up the save.
- In the Top of the 1st, tHom and Chris spoke about how the evening's setting sun was casting the first real difficult shadows of the season, ones awkward enough to make breaking balls appear as fastballs out of the pitcher's hands. About eight minutes later - in the Bottom of the 1st - Joey Votto hit a Kyle Lohse breaking ball over the wall in right-center for a solo dinger. Joey Votto cares not for your deceiving shadows. Reds led, 1-0.
- In the Bottom of the 3rd, Cueto singled down the RF line. He didn't score, but hot damn it was glorious.
- The Bottom of the 4th saw the slumbering big bats the Reds have been waiting on wake up. Jay Bruce smoked a hard hit single to RF, and he later scored when Phillips tattoo'd his first dinger of the season onto the grass below the batter's eye in CF. Byrd then followed with a solo dinger of his own that cleared the wall in right-center. Hooray, formerly slumbering big bats! Reds led, 4-0.
- Cueto carried a no-hitter into the Top of the 5th, but that and the shutout ended abruptly as old man Aramis Ramirez dee-stroyed a hanging slider to the 2nd deck in LF. Given their current record, it's not terribly surprising to find that it was the first road dinger they've hit all season. Reds led, 4-1.
- Ryan Braun similarly smacked a solo dinger in the top of the 7th off Cueto, a laser line drive that easily cleared the wall in RF. From there, Cueto breezed before handing the ball to Chapman for the 9th, and that remained as automatic as we're all accustomed to. Reds win, 4-2!
- Johnny Cueto was pulled prior to the Top of the 9th despite being largely spotless and having thrown just 85 pitches. Cameras caught him being not exactly pleased with the decision from manager Bryan Price, but I'll venture a guess that what Price was telling him was something along the lines of "Johnny, you threw 125 pitches in your last start, lots of which were high-stress. Get 'em again in five days." Prudent decision? Probably.
- Through the season's first 20 games, the Reds still do not have an extra base hit from the 4th spot in the lineup. That's...well, that's something.
- The Milwaukee Brewers are, shall we say, not good. The Reds play them again tomorrow in the final game of the series, with first pitch set for 12:35 PM EDT. As was announced earlier today, Michael Lorenzen will be on the mound for the Reds in his MLB debut, and he'll face off against Matt Garza and his awful chin scruff.
- Family Tunes. (kinda not really)