The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Brayan Pena has been all the Cincinnati Reds could have asked for as the team's primary catcher since Devin Mesoraco's hip injury, and on Wednesday he continued to do everything in his power to improve his stock as he approaches free agency once again. Pena had a perfect day at the plate against the Philadelphia Phillies, smacking four singles, scoring once, and driving in a pair, and in the process he raised his season average to a shiny .307.
Have a trophy, NERTS!
Honorable Mentions are due to: Jon Moscot, who allowed just a pair of runs in his six innings pitched (and chipped in with his first career big league hit, a single); Todd Frazier, who went two for four with a double and a pair of runs scored; and Ivan De Jesus, Jr., who launched a three-run homer.
- After Moscot set the Phillies down in order in the Top of the 1st, Zack Cozart led off the Bottom of the 1st with what looked like a routine grounder to SS. Unfortunately, it ended up anything but routine, as Cozart's foot appeared to slide off the top of the bag as he tried to beat out the throw, and his leg buckled underneath him. He was removed from the game in obvious pain with what initially appeared to be a knee injury, with Brennan Boesch entering in CF and Kris Negron moving from CF to SS. Dang.
- Cozy's teammates promptly did their best to take it out on a series of meatballs from Phillies starter Jerome Williams, as both Votto and Frazier followed with sharply hit singles. After Jay Bruce popped out, Brayan Pena smacked a single to RF to score Votto, and Frazier went 1st to 3rd when Jeff Francoeur bobbled the ball momentarily. Turns out, it mattered not on which base Frazier stood, as De Jesus hit another homer, a 3-run shot over the LF wall. Reds led, 4-0.
- The Phillies got a run back in the Top of the 2nd after Ryan Howard singled, moved to 2B on a Cesar Hernandez walk, and scored on a Cameron Rupp single to LF. Skip Schumaker's throw home to try to nail Howard was cut off by Frazier, who tagged out Hernandez to end the inning with just a single run scored instead of risking the chance for something bigger. Prudent? Prudent. Reds led, 4-1.
- Hernandez and Rupp were again behind a Phillies run, this time in the Top of the 4th. Hernandez singled, stole 2B, and scored when Rupp doubled to the LF corner. Reds led, 4-2.
- The Reds tacked on another in the Bottom of the 7th as Frazier banged a double off the wall in LF and Pena later followed with another single up the middle that brought Jersey in. From there on, JJ Hoover and Aroldis Chapman managed to close the door on the Phils, and the Reds had themselves a tidy little sweep. Reds win, 5-2!
- Immediately after Cozart's injury, Jamie Ramsey tweeted that injury both appeared serious and that Cozart's status likely wouldn't be officially updated until he had a chance to have an MRI. It did look bad, and with the Reds already dealing with a groin injury to 2B Brandon Phillips, I'd be rather surprised if a roster move isn't made, and soon.
- While Mesoraco's hip injury has clouded where he
squatsstands as the Reds catcher of both the present and future, Pena has taken every opportunity to prove to the baseball world that he's adept at the task at hand. He'll be a free agent after the 2015 season and will turn 34 prior to the start of next season, but in a fairly week free agent catching class past the injury-riddled Matt Wieters, he may well be looking at a substantial raise over the 2 year, $2.28 million contract he's currently wrapping up.
- Day three of the MLB Draft also began early Wednesday, and the Reds have drafted five awesome names and half the population of Canada thusfar. This thread's comment section has been updated with the picks as they've come in. SPOILER ALERT: Rock Rucker is a real, live, awesome Reds draftee.
- The Reds travel north to face their NL Central rival Chicago for a four game weekend series, with tomorrow's game set for 8:05 PM ET. Michael Lorenzen will take the mound for the good guys opposite Tsuyoshi Wada.