The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Billy Hamilton has been swinging the bat some kind of awful for the longest of times, but tonight the Cincinnati Reds leadoff hitter smacked the ball around against the San Francisco Giants like he actually knew what he was doing. Billy homered off World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner, and he added a single to his ledger as part of an encouraging 2 for 4 evening. On a night where Reds pitching got knocked around early and often and the team scored just a pair of runs despite 10 hits, that's worthy of a trophy.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Zack Cozart, who dingered again to continue his amazing start to the season; Burke Badenhop, who tossed a pair of scoreless innings; and both Joey Votto and Todd Frazier, who each had 2 for 4 evenings from the heart of the order.
- Jason Marquis got the start for the Reds tonight. That fact is pretty much the biggest key to this one.
- The Top of the 1st rolled around, and Marquis walked the leadoff batter, allowed a single, and then watched Brandon Belt smack his first dinger of the season a few batters later, one of the three run variety. It landed on the walkway beyond the bullpens in RF, where you'll probably see a dozen smashed in the home run derby in a few months. Reds trailed, 3-0.
- Cozy did his damnedest to rectify things in the Bottom of the 1st as he took a hanging breaking ball from Madison Bumgarner and launching his 6th dinger of the season over the wall in RF. Twas merely a solo blast, however. Reds trailed, 3-1.
- Marquis ran into some more fun in the Top of the 3rd in his second time through the Giants lineup, and he again yielded a 3 spot. Buster Posey smacked a 2-run homer to LF, and before I could finish saying how awesome Billy Hamilton's over the shoulder catch at a ball crushed to the wall in CF was, Casey McGeeheeheeeheeeeee singled to score another Giant. Marquis finally got out of the inning, but it was his last of the night. Reds trailed, 6-1.
- Billy Boop got to hit from his natural right-handed side tonight with the lefty on the mound, and he responded by blasting a 67 mph Bumgarner off-speed offering over the wall in RF in the Bottom of the 5th. Reds trailed, 6-2.
- The Top of the 7th saw Michael Lorenzen walk Joe Panik to begin the inning, and after Panik was retired on a force out off the bat of Angel Pagan that left Pagan at 1B, Belt doubled into the RF corner to score the speedy Pagan and his completely delicious flowing hair. Justin Maxwell followed with a double down the LF line that scored Belt. Brandon Crawford and his beautifully delicious flowing hair then smacked a single up the middle, and that drove Maxwell in from 2B. Reds trailed, 9-2.
- Newly claimed Red Ryan Mattheus was trotted out from the bullpen for the Top of the 8th, and apparently his initiation into whatever funk jam the Reds' bullpen has been funk jamming to took no time to sink in whatsoever. Nori Aoki singled off him, Gregor Blanco doubled off him, and two batters later Aoki motored home on a soft tapper from Pagan. The offense continued in full stagnant sleepy stall stasis, and that was that. Reds lose, 10-2.
- Chris Welsh spent the bulk of the Top of the 7th inning attempting to explain the Pythagorean Theorem - at least in the baseball sense - to tHom Brennaman, who admitted he had no idea what it was. It was one of my absolute favorite interactions they've ever had.
- At some point during the middle innings of the game, the right smoke stack as you look towards the OF from home plate caught fire, prompting the team to launch off fireworks to make sure they didn't catch fire and explode. A consistent flame stuck around for nearly half an hour before Cincinnati firefighters bravely reached the top of the otherwise inaccessible smokestack to extinguish the flame. It was later announced that a propane valve had malfunctioned.
- The Bottom of the 7th started off, and the Pythagorean Theorem conversation continued with tHom consistently in disbelief that such a thing was, in fact, a thing. It was the most remarkable display of complete disdain for mathematical fact that I think I've ever heard from a Brennaman-led booth, and that's a list long enough to stretch from my home in Denver back to my former stomping grounds in Reds country. I couldn't believe it when I listened to it, and I still can't believe it. Holy hell, tHom.
- Pythagoras died in 495 BC. tHom spent 20 minutes on air debating the validity of a theorem for which Pythagoras issued a proof before his death. In a baseball game. That we watched.
- Speaking of new Red Ryan Mattheus, the reliever the Reds claimed from the Los Angeles Angels took the roster spot made available when the team optioned Pedro Villarreal back to Louisville. Welcome to the dumpster fire, Ryan.
- Mike Leake will take the mound for the Reds tomorrow against Ryan Vogelsong in Game 3 of the 4 game series, with first pitch set for 7:10 PM ET.