The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Marlon Byrd whacked a solo home run and a double today for the Cincinnati Reds, swinging one of the bigger bats for the good guys in their first game against the Colorado Rockies. Though it wasn't enough to stop the team's now nine game losing streak, it was enough to give a kid a souvenir and a fan or two a bit of hope. Marlon's been streaky as can be so far this season, but he's hitting for precisely the kind of power Walt Jocketty hoped for when he acquired him from the Philadelphia Phillies this winter.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Jay Bruce who continued his hot streak with a 3 single afternoon; Todd Frazier, who donked his 13th dinger of the season; Jumbo Diaz, who tossed a perfect inning in relief (while striking out the side); and the Reds' loss column, who stretched its streak to an impressive 9.
- Jason Marquis is still a real, live, starting pitcher in Major League Baseball because the Reds are the only club in baseball who think he's that capable. He entered today's game with an ERA just under 7, but reportedly found something that needing adjustment since his last start and sounded optimistic that he'd found what had been causing him to throw meatballs at a prolific rate. He then walked the first batter he faced in the Top of the 1st, and as those leadoff walkers are wont to do, it haunted. Charlie Blackmon then stole 2B on the first pitch after walking, and he later scored on a single past Todd Frazier from Nolan Arenado. Reds trailed, 1-0.
- Fortunately, the Reds were facing Colorado Rockies pitching, and despite Eddie Butler's solid prospect pedigree, the Cincinnati bats went right to work on him. Votto smacked a double off the wall in RF in vintage Votto fashion, and Frazier followed with a towering 2-run dinger that just cleared a leaping Blackmon in CF. Reds led, 2-1.
- Unfortunately, Marquis was still pitching for the Reds in the Top of the 2nd, and that meant the Rockies went right back to mashing. Nick Hundley started the inning by reaching on an throwing error by Frazier on an otherwise routine grounder, and a single and sac bunt set up a 2-run single from D.J. LeMahieu that went right past Marquis up the middle. Reds trailed, 3-2.
- Marquis was still peppering the middle of the plate in the Top of the 4th, and Nolan Arenado smoked an 0-2 peppered meatball well over the wall in LF for a solo dinger, his second in as many days. Reds trailed, 4-2.
- The Reds scraped back a run in the Bottom of the 4th, however, thanks in large part to a 1-out double by Marlon Byrd down the 3B line. Zack Cozart followed with a walk, and after Marquis struck out, Billy Hamilton looped a soft lining single to CF that brought Byrd around. Reds trailed, 4-3.
- Byrd again put the offense on his back in the Bottom of the 6th, this time taking an Eddie Butler fastball and smoking a line drive solo dinger the other way, his 10th blast of the season. Game tied, 4-4.
- Because the Reds are completely incapable of making anything easy or routine, they managed to bring Aroldis Chapman in to pitch the Top of the 9th in a non-save scenario - which seemed brilliant - only to see that blow up in their faces. Chapman walked Blackmon to lead off the inning, and the Rockies leadoff hitter moved to 3B when LeMahieu's jam-shot single fell into shallow RF. Arenado then lifted a sac fly to CF, and Blackmon motored home to put the Reds in a hole yet again. Walks.Will.Haunt. Reds trailed, 5-4.
- Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto, and Todd Frazier were due up against Rockies closer - and former Reds draft pick - John Axford in the Bottom of the 9th, and after Phillips and Votto went down quickly, Frazier worked a walk to bring up the red-hot Bruce. Bruce, however, lined out to CF, and the losing streak trudged on. Reds lose, 5-4.
- Today's Rockies starting lineup was without Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, and Justin Morneau. For Tulo, it was just a day off (and he pinch hit in the 9th), but CarGo was scratched with an illness prior to the game and Morneau is on the 7-day concussion DL for the time being. That's a trophy room full of Silver Sluggers, batting titles, and a former MVP that weren't in the lineup that still managed to defeat the Reds.
- Before Billy Hamilton's RBI single in the 4th, the Reds had been just 1 for their last 40 in RISP situations. That's so comically bad that it's worth trying to explain it to your cat just to see if that's the obscure form of communication that cracks the language barrier and elicits a cat laugh.
- Jason Marquis, Kevin Gregg, and Skip Schumaker had combined for -2.0 bWAR prior to today's game. There may only be 2-3 people on the planet surprised by that, but unfortunately they all seem to work in the Reds front office.
- Prior to the game today, the Reds placed Devin Mesoraco on the 15-day DL some 44 days after the last game he was able to start. I'd have placed more emphasis on this Other Note, but it's clear that the team thinks this egregious roster mismanagement isn't at all a big deal. It's worth noting that Mes was not replaced on the roster by a hitter - Manny Parra was reinstated instead - meaning that Mes's role had been so reduced that his vacated roster spot didn't even get replaced. It's all so gaw darn inane.
- Nolan Arenado almost singlehandedly defeated the Reds today with both his bat and his glove, and the perennial Gold Glove candidate is emerging as a perennial MVP candidate. It's worth noting that he was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2009 MLB Draft, just two picks after the Reds selected Billy Hamilton.
- Nine. Nine losses in a row. Nein, nein, nein, nein, nein.
- Dumpsterfire Tunes.