The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Billy Hamilton doesn't have five tools, but he brings enough to the table to make everyone in baseball - and not just the Cincinnati Reds - drool over his possible output when what tools he has work out for the best. What is undeniable is that he can play phenomenal CF defense and steal bases when he finds a way to reach 1B, and on Sunday against the Chicago Cubs, he reached 1B enough to bust heads on the basepaths. Billy went 2 for 3 with a double and a walk on the evening, and he coupled that with Cubs' starter Jon Lester's inability to control the running game into a 5 stolen base evening, something that's absurdity resonates while typing every bit as much as it did while witnessing.
I have no idea what the Reds plan to do with Billy going forward due to the glaring flaws in his game, but when he gets a chance to put what skills he has on display on the big stage, there's no more electrifying player in the game today.
As a side note, you could say much the same about Aroldis Chapman, but that would require him actually being used in a game where he can be the deciding factor, not just the trump card. As long as he's with the Reds - which may not be more than another month - that won't be the case, however, much as it wasn't in this Reds loss.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Anthony DeSclafani, who allowed just a single earned run in his 6.1 IP; JJ Hoover, who tossed another pair of scoreless innings in relief; and Joey Votto, who went 2 for 5 with a double.
- The game stayed scoreless for nearly two hours thanks to effective pitching from both DeSclafani and Jon Lester, but that changed when Hamilton doubled with no outs in the Top of the 6th. Billy then stole 3B, and he scored when Phillips followed with a bloop single to CF. Votto then smoked a double to the wall in left-center, and Phillips came around in an attempt to score, and he was initially ruled safe when the home plate umpire thought his hand got under David Ross's tag at home. Replay, however, ruled that the tag hit BP's arm before he touched home, which resulted in the 1st out of the inning. That burned when Todd Frazier hit a deep fly ball to CF that would've easily scored BP from 3B had he held up on the prior play. Reds led, 1-0.
- Disco got through the 6th before finally getting bounced from the game in the Bottom of the 7th. A David Ross double to lead off the Cubs half of the inning was what ultimately sent him to the showers in favor of the bullpen, and Ross later scored after Jonathan Herrera bunted him to 3B and a sac fly from Dexter Fowler off a Ryan Mattheus pitch brought him in. Game tied, 1-1.
- The Reds loaded the bases with nary an out in the the Top of the 9th. They did not score. You don't look surprised. You shouldn't be, at this point.
- Fast forward to the Bottom of the 11th, and that's where you'll find that Chris Coghlan reached on a double that a diving Kris Negron came within inches of catching, and Starlin Castro followed with a double off a Burke Badenhop meatball that resulted in his second walk off hit in as many days. Reds lost in painfully, lengthy, take-up-your-entire-Sunday-eveningy fashion, 2-1.
- Aroldis Chapman warmed up in this tightly contested game.
- Aroldis Chapman did not pitch in this tightly contested game. I mean, why would you ever bring in your best pitcher to face the heart of the other team's order?
- DeSclafani showed some of his best velocity as a Red on this hot, humid evening, even hitting 96 mph on a fastball on his 111th and 2nd to last pitch of the evening.
- JJ Hoover pitched a pair of scoreless innings on the night, marking his 24th consecutive appearance without allowing an earned run. He's seen his ERA drop from 7.94 to 1.59 over that time.
- On Sunday, Louisville Bats manager Delino DeShields had some juicy things to say regarding the handling of Devin Mesoraco's hip injury. I'll emphasize the word "injury" over "issue," since DeShields makes it very apparent that the Reds franchise catcher was the former, not the latter, while on his rehab assignment in the 'Ville. This is where I reiterate for the umpteenth time that the Reds have handled this as poorly as any professional sports team has handled any major injury I've ever seen.
- In an odd series of events, ESPN reached out to Red Reporter multiple times to do a call/interview/something with their Sunday Night Baseball crew for something of a cross promotion prior to tonight's game, and that materialized into a pile of nothing after more hours of work than it should've required. Thanks?
- Punt, Reds.