The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Brandon Phillips has a bad thumb, a recovering groin, a pile of bumps and bruises, and the starting 2B spot for the Cincinnati Reds on lockdown. Despite the team's sub-par record to date, BP continues to flash the kind of leather in the field that deserves mention among the all time greats at the keystone spot in the infield, and when he puts together evenings like he did Thursday (with a dinger, a triple, a million dollar smile, and great defense), it's easy to see why he's endeared himself to the Cincinnati fans, team, and ownership. Beep has taken quite well to being the Reds' leadoff hitter, and it's the kind of successful development that has gone so well that it makes you wonder what that combination could've looked like for years should it have been one the team had pursued.
Regardless, Beep's locked in, and the team is better for it when he's healthy and on-point like this. Have a trophy, Brandon.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Todd Frazier, who booped a 2-run dinger as part of a 3 hit, 1 BB evening; Joey Votto, Marlon Byrd, and Brayan Pena, each of whom chipped in with a pair of hits respectively; Billy Hamilton, who had two hits and stole his league leading 36th base of the season; and Anthony DeSclafani, who yielded just a single earned run in his 6 IP while lowering his season ERA to a tidy 3.35.
- The Reds continued their recent string of effective 1st innings on Thursday, thanks in large part to an error at 3B by Jung Ho Kang on a sharp Phillips liner to lead off the game. BP promptly stole 2B, moved to 3B on a productive ground-out from Votto, and scored when Frazier poked a liner up the middle for an RBI single. Reds led, 1-0.
- Hamilton took his back-up sorta kinda second-time-through-the-order leadoff hitter duty seriously in the Top of the 2nd, as he smacked a 2-out single to RF, stole 2B, and scored when Phillips tripled over the head of Gregory Polanco. Reds led, 2-0.
- Neil Walker walked to begin the Bottom of the 2nd, but he was nabbed at 2B on a pretty solid defensive play by Eugenio Suarez at SS on a Kang grounder. That sentence was included purely so I could say that while the Walker walk didn't haunt, Suarez's defense eventually did. Kang landed at 2B when a grounder off the bat of Francisco Cervelli was derped by Suarez two batters later, and that hurt like -MBP on a Sunday morning when Jordy Mercer followed with a ground-rule double and A.J. Burnett hit a gawdang 2-run single up the middle. Reds trailed, 3-2.
- The Pirates tacked on another run in the Bottom of the 6th, and it was spurred on by a leadoff walk to Andrew McCutchen - which haunted. Cutch moved to 2B two batters later on a single from Kang, and a pair of batters after that saw Cervelli single to score the former MVP. Reds trailed, 4-2.
- The mashers in the Reds lineup commenced mashing in the Top of the 7th, though, as Votto singled and motored to 3B when Josh Harrison airballed on fielding it and it rolled to the wall, and Frazier followed with a 2-run haberdasher to CF. Game tied, 4-4.
- After a pile of unproductive innings took this one into the wee hours of the morning, Rob Scahill took over for the Pirates in the Top of the 13th inning, and that was apparently music to BP's ears as the Reds 2B popped his 4th dinger of the season, a solo shot that put the Reds ahead. Pedro Villarreal put the brakes on the Pirates offense in the last half of that inning, and that was finally that. Reds win, 5-4!
- Joey Votto reached base twice on the evening, stretching his streak of reaching base in consecutive games to 32, I believe. Saucy!
- Mike Leake has hit .175/.189/.295 in 180 PA since the beginning of the 2013 season. He pinch hit tonight, which is somewhat hilarious.
- Speaking of the Reds' bench bat options, Kris Negron was optioned to Louisville on Thursday to allow for Aroldis Chapman's return to the roster from the paternity list.
- The Reds head to the Big Apple to take on the New York Mets in a weekend series, with Johnny Cueto set to start opposite Noah Syndergaard in Friday's contest. First pitch is set for 7:10 PM ET on Friday.