The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Pedro Villarreal is not a fan favorite and he's been yanked back and forth from Louisville to Cincinnati more times than Charlie Scrabble's youngster's seen days on this earth. Remember in 2013 when Villarreal got the call for that one start in 2013, a little more than two years ago? That ended spectacularly and predictably badly and basically ended any notion of "Pedro Villarreal as major league starter" experiment, if one ever really existed. Since, Villarreal has spent 19.1 innings pitching for the Reds as a reliever, sporting a 5+ ERA in parts of 2 seasons.
Today, when the Reds put Tony Cingrani on the DL with a bulky shoulder, Villarreal got the call once again. And then, after Moscot went down with a shoulder injury in less than 1 inning pitched, Villarreal was called upon to pitch. And Pedro did what he was asked to do and then some, going 3.1 innings pitched with 3 hits and no earned runs against a team boasting some seriously dangerous hitters. On a night where the Reds bats fell completely and embarrassingly silent, Villarreal stood out as a bright spot.
We're not disillusioned enough to believe that he'll ever be a major piece, but for this night, Pedro showed up big. Good on ya, son. Have a trophy.
Honorable mention to Joey Votto, who hit a bunt single the other way against the shift that was just pretty as all get out, and Todd Frazier for getting the only other damn hit for the Reds. The rest of you? Get outta my face.
- In the bottom of the 1st inning, with Anthony Gose at second base, Miguel Cabrera sharply hit a grounder to Jon Moscot, who snagged it easily. He turned to see Gose caught between second and third without a paddle, and ran over to begin the run down. However, instead of, you know, throwing it to a fielder, Moscot kept chasing Gose until it was too late, finally deciding to dive to tag out Gose before he retreated back to second base. Moscot rolled up on his left shoulder and was immediately in some meaningful pain. Moscot ended his night on a long, painful walk to the clubhouse, giving way to Pedro Villarreal to pitch with only 2 outs in the bottom of the 1st inning.
- The scoring didn't open up until the bottom of the 4th, and even then it was with 2 outs. Yoenis Cespedes doubled to left field on what should've been fairly easy for Brennan Boesch, but he misjudged the ball mightily, letting it sail over his head. J. D. Martinez hit a sharp ground ball down the third base line where Todd Frazier gobbled it up and quickly threw a one-hopper to Joey Votto, who missed the scoop, allowing the ball to go to the wall. Martinez took second base while Cespedes came home. James McCann grounded out to end the inning, but the Tigers drew first blood. Tigers led, 1-0.
- Nothing else happened until the bottom of the 6th when Nate Adcock came in to relieve Villareal. Gose led off the inning with a walk and then stole second base. When Tucker Barnhart's throw went through the wickets of Brandon Phillips, Gose also took third base. Billy Hamilton's throw was errant as well, but was backed up nicely, disallowing Gose from going home. Adcock then walked Ian Kinsler, bringing up perennial MVP candidate Miguel Cabrera with runners at the corners and nobody out. Cabrera hit a sharp ground ball down the third base all the way to the outfield wall, scoring both Gose and Kinsler. After a Cespedes flyout, JD Martinez deposited a #Badcock offering into the seats, scoring Cabrera as well. Adcock would get out of the inning with no more scoring damage done, but it was ugly all around. Tigers led 5-0.
- The run parade continued in the bottom of the 7th against Burke Badenhop. Ian Kinsler singled, Cabrera singled, and then Cespedes singled, driving in Kinsler. Nothing else happened, thankfully, because this damn thing was getting UGLY. Tigers led 6-0.
- The Reds never threatened, and went gently into the night. Tigers win, 6-0.
- Jon Moscot's ill-advised diving tag-out of Gose was gritty enough to make Skip Schumaker smile from his DH position. Didn't make it any less stupid. The prognosis thus far for the Reds rookie hurler is a dislocated left shoulder. And here's to hoping that dislocation is a clean one that can be adequately healed with some rest and relaxation.
- David Holmberg hasn't lit up the world by any means, but he did pitch today for Louisville, going 7 innings with only 2 earned and only 1 walk. It's not sexy, but it'd be the easiest and most logical call up for the Reds if Moscot can't go.
- The Reds defense was barf-tastic tonight. Usually a strong suit for this team, the throwing error from Frazier allowed the first run of the game (at a time where this thing was still in doubt), and the throws in the bottom of the 6th after Gose got on base would make a Little League team blush.
- Tucker Barnhart was about merc'd by Eugenio Suarez's check swing foul ball that struck Barnhart square in the breadbasket. Tucker is fine, thankfully, and he laughed it off. Jay Bruce and Billy Hamilton about collided into each other on a play in the outfield that I'm sure would've made both players disintegrate if it would've happened. At this point, I worry about Reds players going up and down the dugout steps. New year same as the old year, y'all.
- The Reds punted in the bottom of the 7th, subbing out both Joey Votto and Todd Frazier for Chris Dominguez and Ivan De Jesus, Jr., respectively. And with the way this one was going injury/karma-wise, cool. Whatever, man. I'd probably put Frazier and Votto in bubble wrap until 2017.
- Reds will do it again in Detroit tomorrow at 7:08 EDT, turing the ball over to Michael Lorenzen. Maybe they'll bring some bats with them this time.
- "They don't pay me enough to bitch."