The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Jay Bruce continued his climb out of the early season slump that had his overall numbers in the toilet, blasting a pair of home runs off San Diego Padres starter Odrisamer Despaigne on Sunday and driving in each run the Cincinnati Reds scored. Bruce is walking like never before, and he's beginning to put the barrel squarely on the bat the way we're all used to seeing, and if he can manage to keep those two attributes in place at the same time as the weather gets hot, we all may have the chance to witness one of his patented hot streaks last just a little bit longer than those we've seen before. That sure would add some bargaining power as the team rolls towards a trading deadline that should be more interesting in Cincinnati than any of recent memory.
Speculation aside, 'twas a dang nice afternoon for Jay, one where he clearly deserved to take home the JNMHSotG hardware.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Johnny Cueto, who tossed seven scoreless innings, striking out nine Padres against just two walks and four hits allowed (and he singled!); Joey Votto, who went two for four, scored a run, and pushed his OBP back to a sparkly .400; everyday LF Skip Schumaker, who doubled and singled; JJ Hoover, who tossed yet another scoreless inning in relief; and Aroldis Chapman, who tossed a perfect 9th inning in a non-save scenario.
- Bruce led off the Bottom of the 2nd after Despaigne sat the Reds down in order in the Bottom of the 1st. Jay took an elevated fastball and damn near hit it out of the ballpark, launching a 440 ft solo dinger that landed above the exits halfway up the RF seats. Reds led, 1-0.
- Both Cueto and Despaigne cruised for the next three innings, but Despaigne began to unravel a bit in the Bottom of the 6th. Votto led off the frame with a single, and Frazier followed with a double to the RF corner that left runners on 2B & 3B. It turns out it didn't matter where the runners were, though, as Bruce followed with his 2nd dinger of the afternoon, a moonball that just cleared the fence in RF. Reds led, 4-0.
- Cueto turned things over to Hoover for the Top of the 8th, and after Hoover blew through the Padres in quick fashion, he passed the baton to Chapman for the 9th. Aroldis followed suit, and that was that. Reds win, 4-0!
- Sunday's victory means the Reds home record now stands at 14-13.
- Since returning from his elbow issue, Cueto has thrown 13 IP with 13 K, just 2 BB, 9 H, and 1 ER allowed.
- Skip Schumaker TOOTBLAN'd for the second consecutive day, this time getting himself thrown out at 3B on a bunt from Billy Hamilton. I don't know what's the bigger story here, though: Skip Schumaker being awful on the bases, or Skip Schumaker playing everyday as the team's LF.
- Speaking of LF, prior to Sunday's first pitch it was announced that Devin Mesoraco would head to AAA Louisville to begin a rehab assignment and to begin playing LF with intentions on returning to the big league club in short order. I have no real problem with Mesoraco attempting to learn a bit of LF at some point, but I still think delaying an inevitable surgery that comes with a recovery time of up to 4 months is ridiculous. Have the surgery and then try to learn LF.
- Jay Bruce now has an OBP of .333 and is on pace to hit 27 dingers in 2015. That'll do.
- Tomorrow is Day 1 of the 2015 MLB Draft, and the Reds hold the 11th overall pick. Tune in to Red Reporter early and often as we do our best to cover it as best we can sans Thundering Turtle. Be sure to click everything eleventy-seven times while you're around.
- The Reds will host last week's foes, the Philadelphia Phillies, for a three game series in GABP beginning Monday, with first pitch scheduled for 7:10 PM ET. Mike Leake will take the mound for the good guys opposite Cole Hamels.