The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
For most of his career, Jay Bruce has been the target for a lot of criticism, sometimes warranted, sometimes unwarranted. He was abjectly terrible last year, presumably due to a knee injury that he came back too fast from. But, this year hasn't started particularly well (this is what you call an understatement), either. Bruce says he's never felt better, but the results haven't been there.
At least, not until lately. Bruce brought his batting average back above .200 tonight, which shouldn't be a thing, but in 2014-2015, it is. He's 9 for his last 18, including 2-2 tonight with 2 walks. He's gone from one of the biggest Reds question marks to one of their least biggest problems, and that's fantastic for him, even if it hasn't translated to the team.
Here's a trophy, Jay. Enjoy it, and keep doing your (good) thing.
Honorable mention to: Todd Frazier for his 2-4 night with an RBI and a run scored. Billy Hamilton for getting a run in, I guess. Burke Badenhop for putting in 2 scoreless innings, even if it took 41 pitches, and JJ Hoover for continuing to be one solid piece in that dumpster fire of a bullpen.
- The Reds got the action started in the top of the 2nd inning. After Marlon Byrd grounded out, Brayan Peña walked. Jay Bruce came to the plate and laced a double to the wall, sending Peña to third. Billy Hamilton came up and hit a grounder to Jason Kipnis, but the only play was at first base. Hamilton was thrown out as Peña scored. Tucker Barnhart looked to continue the fun, but it was not to be, as he grounded out to end the inning. Advantage: Reds 1-0.
- The Indians got involved in the very next frame. David Murphy chopped one to Joey Votto that Votto got to, but the throw to first was not in time. Lonnie Chisenhall erased Murphy with a ground ball to first, but the double play couldn't be turned in time. And then, Mike Leake lost the plate. Jose Ramirez walked. Roberto Perez walked. Michael Bourn walked. Are you keeping count? There's not enough bases left, is there? Chisenhall scored on the walk. Jason Kipnis continued his torrid hitting, hititng a soft fly ball that dropped in front of Hamilton, scoring another run. Carlos Santana grounded to Votto, who quickly sent the ball to home for the force out there for 2 outs. Michael "Not Jeff" Brantley grounded to Zack Cozart who flipped to Brandon Phillips for the final out. Whew. That was a lot of words to tell you that the Indians scored 2 runs. Reds trail, 2-1.
- The Reds, committed to defending Ohio, decided to answer in the top of the 3rd. Phillips smoked a leadoff double to left field. Cozart and Votto brought the bat meat to no avail, as they both went down swinging. Todd Frazier roped a fly ball into left field that Murphy couldn't track, scoring Phillips. Byrd popped out to right, but the Reds managed to even the score, 2 all.
- Quickly, Brandon Moss sent the first pitch offering from Leake into the seats in the bottom of the 3rd. And then, Murphy singled right up the middle for a no out single. Chisenhall erased Murphy, again, but the play couldn't be turned, again. Ramierz grounded out to Votto but there was no play on Chisenhall. However, Perez flew out to Byrd to end the inning. Reds trail, again; 3-2.
- To start the bottom half of the 4th, Bourn singled to center. Leake continued to struggle finding the plate, and walked Kipnis. After inducing outs to Santana and Brantley, Moss continued to harass Leake, bopping one into right field, scoring 2. Murphy made the final out of the inning, but the Indians distanced themselves further, 5-2.
- After Burke Badenhop turned in 2 scoreless innings, Jumbo Diaz came in for the bottom of the 7th. Ramirez grounded out before Perez hit one into right field passed a diving Jay Bruce. Perez cruised into third base. Bourn lined out short enough to hold Perez, but Kipnis wasn't having that, and he grounded up the middle for a single that scored Perez. Santana then doubled into right center to score Kipnis from first base. Brantley mercifully grounded out to end the inning, with the Indians holding the lead, 7-2.
- In the top of the 9th, Frazier singled before Byrd and Peña flied and lined out, respectfully. Frazier moved to second base on defensive indifference, and then moved to 3rd base on a wild pitch while Jay Bruce batted. Jay Bruce worked a walk on another wild pitch, allowing Frazier to score. Didn't matter, because the Reds needed A LOT more than that. Billy grounded out in the next AB, and that was that. Reds lose, 7-3.
<iframe src="http://www.fangraphs.com/graphframe.aspx?config=0&static=0&type=livewins&num=0&h=450&w=450&date=2015-05-22&team=Indians&dh=0" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" height="450" width = "450" style="border:1px solid black;"></iframe><br /><span style="font-size:9pt;">Source: <a href="http://www.fangraphs.com/livewins.aspx?date=2015-05-22&team=Indians&dh=0&season=2015">FanGraphs</a></span>
- Mike Leake was bad again today. He was sent to the showers after only 4 IP. His ERA is up to 4.14 after tonight, while it was sub 3 just 2 starts ago. Ick. Keep lowering that price tag, Leake.
- Devin Mesoraco didn't DH today, while being on the roster. Apparently it was not due to injury, but rather Tucker Barnhart has caught Mike Leake well (uh, did you watch Mike's last game, Bryan?) and Peña has had success against Carlos Carrasco in his career. Which, okay. I'm almost over caring about this.
- The Reds have two games left in which the DH will be available to them, and it's not until mid-June. We should expect a decision on Devin's surgery-or-not-surgery soon.
- Joey Votto struck out 3 times tonight. Sigh.
- The Reds will face reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber tomorrow at 4:10pm EDT. That should go well.
- Tunes that actually make a lot of sense and not just because they're from Cleveland, apparently.