The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
The Cincinnati Reds bullpen.
I mean, those who steal the show are considered stars, right?
The arms that took over for the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings walked five San Diego Padres, allowed six earned runs, yielded a grand slam, sucked the life out of every living being within a twelve state radius, and turned everyone's Saturday afternoon into the kind of day we all wish we'd just slept through.
So, have a trophy, bullpeeners. Careful, though, since it may melt into goop in the dumpsterfire in which you're standing.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Michael Lorenzen, who tossed six solid innings of three earned run, six hit, three walk, five strikeout ball (and chipped in with a pair of singles at the plate); Todd Frazier, who smacked a pair of doubles as part of a three hit, three ribbie afternoon; Joey Votto, who went one for two with a triple, an RBI, three walks, and three runs scored; Zack Cozart, who smacked a solo dinger; and you, who were kind enough to continue reading about the Cincinnati Reds despite their efforts to completely desensitize you.
- The Reds wasted little time getting to Padres starter Andrew Cashner. The Bottom of the 1st saw Phillips lead off with a single up the middle, and after Votto walked, Frazier blasted a 2-run double off the wall in CF that drove in both baserunners. After Jay Bruce flew out to the warning track in right-center that allowed Frazier to tag and move to 3B, Brayan Pena NERTed a double to the corner in RF to plate Todd, too. Reds led, 3-0.
- Jay Bruce led off the Bottom of the 3rd with a laser that was caught by leaping former Red Yonder Alonso at 1B, but Cozart followed two batters later with his 7th dinger of the season, a solo blast into the LF seats. Reds led, 4-0.
- Matt Kemp got the Friars on the board in the Top of the 4th with a solo dinger of his own, one that cleared the wall in RF (and Bruce's outstretched glove) by roughly a foot. Reds led, 4-1.
- Lorenzen smacked a single to lead off the Bottom of the 4th, and he later came around to score when Votto smacked a laser to CF that fooled CF Will Venable and rolled all the way to the wall for a 'triple.' It's almost like you need a good defender in CF to be a good baseball team, AJ Preller. Speaking of which, Frazier followed with a double over Venable's head on a ball he initially charged in on, and that brought Votto in to score. Reds led, 6-1.
- Derek Norris worked a 2-out walk in the Top of the 5th and - lo and behold - it haunted. Justin Upton followed with a single, and both runners scored when Kemp hit a double to the warning track in RF that just cleared Bruce's glove (on a rather awkward route and attempt, I must admit). Reds led, 6-3.
- Another run seemed like a good idea, but rather than smacking lasers for their 7th, the Reds patched together a string of bloops instead in the Bottom of the 6th. After Votto took a 2-out walk, he moved from 1B to 3B when Frazier's bloop single landed in between three Padres in LF, and when Bruce followed with a similar bloop that landed in short LF, Votto scored. Frazier nearly scored, too, but was tagged out while sliding into home. Reds led, 7-3.
- Baseball seemed fun again for one of the few times in the last two seasons, but that was because Lorenzen was on the mound. Unfortunately, the bullpen took over for the Top of the 7th. Ryan Mattheus struck out the first two batters he faced, but after he yielded a sinlge to Norris and walks to Upton and Kemp, Tony Cingrani was summoned to face the lefty Alonso, who hadn't hit a homer off a left-handed pitcher I needed a typewriter to turn stupid figures of speech into readable text. That, of course, meant that Alonso launched a grand slam off Cingrani, which tied the game and silenced an otherwise appeased GABP. Game tied, 7-7.
- When not walking a guy or yielding a screaming double off the wall in RF, Jumbo Diaz hit 100 mph with his fastball multiple times in his appearance in the Top of the 8th. Unfortunately, he loaded the bases doing just that and Kemp then smacked a 2-run single to LF. Hoo-ray. Reds trailed, 9-7.
- Votto walked to begin the Bottom of the 9th, and after Frazier K'd and Bruce flew out to the warning track in CF, a Pena bloop left runners at the corners for Cozart against ubereliever Craig Kimbrel. He took strike three looking, and that was it. Reds lose, 9-7.
- The bulk of the recap was written in real-time, hence the hints of optimism preceding the outright self-loathing. Like hell I was going to re-write everything after the bullpen blew yet another game.
- Cincinnati TOOTBLAN'd their way out of the 1st thanks to Skip Schumaker - Skip Schumaker! - getting thrown out trying to steal 2B. Then, in the 2nd, they threw away an out with a bunt and got a runner thrown out at the plate on an infield grounder (that wasn't a force out). Grumble.
- The Reds wore camouflage jerseys and hats in this one for Military Appreciation Day (which coincided with the 71st anniversary of D-Day). I love that they honor the military, but I don't love that they do so with such ugly jerseys. There's got to be another way.
- Fans turned out big time for this one, as the 40,946 in attendance were good for the 4th sellout of the 2015 season. I'm sure each and every one of them watched this one and left planning to buy tickets again this year.
- Remember, the All Star Game is in Cincinnati this year. Don't forget!