The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
On a day where not much went right for the Cincinnati Reds either on the field or in the trainer's room, somewhat of a youth-movement was at least on display as they took on the Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field on Thursday. Spearheading that was Michael Lorenzen, and while he was tagged for 5 ER in his 4.1 IP, he touched 97 mph with his fastball, struck out 6 Cubs, and smacked a 2-run triple with the bat in his certainly capable hands. He's got a long way to go to become an elite player in this game, but there's no doubt he flashes ample tools each and every time he's on the mound (and at the plate).
Given where the Reds currently sit in the standings and in the ever cyclical tumble that is Major League Baseball, that's a positive for a young player like Lorenzen, not a negative. Have a trophy, Mike.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Chris Dominguez, who launched a laser of a solo homer in his first game since being recalled from Louisville; Eugenio Suarez, who went 1 for 3 with a walk and a run scored in his first big league game as a Red; Tony Cingrani, who tossed a scoreless inning in his hometown area; and Burke Badenhop, who threw 1.2 scoreless innings to continue his ERA's post-April precipitous free-fall.
- After the Reds were retired in order to begin the game, the Cubs brought their bats to the Bottom of the 1st. Anthony Rizzo hit a 1-out double to LF, and after Kris Bryant walked, Miguel Montero launched a 3-run dinger over the slightly-ivied wall in CF. Reds trailed, 3-0.
- The banged up & bruised Reds jumped right back into the action against Tsuyoshi Wada in the Top of the 2nd, however. Brayan Pena poked a 1-out single up the middle, and Suarez walked two batters later in front of Lorenzen, who promptly stroked a triple off the wall in right-center that scored both baserunners. Reds trailed, 3-2.
- Cincinnati stranded Joey Votto in the Top of the 3rd after his leadoff double, and that stranded runner immediately burned them when the Cubs got a leadoff dinger from Dexter Fowler in the Bottom of the 3rd on a towering blast that cleared the RF wall. After Lorenzen finagled his way out that half of the inning, the Reds got that run back, however, as Chris Dominguez blasted a Wada meatball out to left-center on what proved to be Wada's last pitch before being replaced by former Red Travis Wood. Reds trailed, 4-3.
- The Bottom of the 5th saw Addison Russell single to begin the inning, and after Rizzo got hit by a pitch while standing completely on top of the plate to move Russell up, Bryant's double the corner in LF drove Russell in from 2B. Lorenzen then walked Montero to set up a potential double play before Burke Badenhop took over, and after 'hop got Starlin Castro to strike out swinging, Chris Coghlan hit a swinging bunt in front of home that should've been the final out of the inning but instead plated Bryant when Pena whiffed on fielding the ball. Oof. Fortunately, non-April Badenhop got out of further damage, but the Reds trailed, 6-3.
- Four innings came, and four innings went without the Reds' offense making a dent in the lead, and Cubs reliever Hector Rondon came on to shut the door for the final frame. Reds lose, 6-3.
- Home plate umpire Ron Culpa's strike zone on the night was, well, questionable. To his credit, it was questioned by both starting pitchers and a handful of batters, however, meaning at least he wasn't favoring anyone overtly. Had Torii Hunter been in Wrigley, things may well haven gotten interesting.
- Devin Mesoraco has been in the midst of a left field experiment in Louisville with the Reds' AAA squad, but he apparently wrapped last night's game with "soreness." C. Trent Rosecrans managed to get a few quotesfrom Louisville Manager Delino DeShields just a bit ago, which may suggest that his needing-surgery hip is the cause of said soreness. I'll reiterate: the decision to prolong the amount of time before Mes has his inevitable surgery is as confusing as anything I've ever seen from a professional sports franchise.
- Burke Badenhop was undeniably awful in April. However, he's made a habit of getting off to awful April starts before turning things around for the bulk of the season, and so far, 2015 is much of the same. Entering tonight's 1.2 scoreless inning appearance, he'd posted a 2.25 ERA and .515 OPS against since the end of his awful opening month, and tonight's outing did nothing to show that was out of the ordinary.
- Johnny Cueto will take the mound for the Reds tomorrow opposite Jason Hammel in game two of the series, with first pitch set for 4:05 PM ET.