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Reds 11, Phillies 2: Joey Votto is epic

Joey Votto is special, but tonight he was somehow more than that.

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

Joey Votto. There's really nothing left to write that hasn't been written in this space, or any space, about the former MVP. For all the criticism that he takes from some in the local media and fanbase for whatever it is people like that decide to complain about, there's absolutely no one that:

1) lives on planet earth and
2) watches baseball

could ever tell you, with even their best poker face, that watching an un-injured, dialed in Joey Votto bat isn't some of the most special hitting you'll ever see. Frankly, it's a damn shame that we have been robbed of as much healthy Votto that we've been robbed of. But, that's baseball. And baseball is a cruel wench.

Tonight? Oh, Votto went 3-4 with 3 home runs and a walk. Did I bury the lead?

Honorable mention to: Anthony DeSclafani who went 6.1 IP with 7 hits and only 2 earned and 1 walk. Todd Frazier who was 3-5 with a home run of his own. Zack Cozart who continued his fantastic 2015 with a 3 run blast. And the bullpen combination of Manny Parra (who cleaned up a bases loaded mess while allowing only one run), Ryan Mattheus (who wasn't terrible) and Nate Adcock (1.0 IP with only 1 hit).

Key Plays

  • The Redlegs got things going in the bottom half of the first inning. Old friend Aaron Harang helped out his former team by giving up walks to each Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto. They subsequently haunted. Todd Frazier hit a hard, loud out to deep center field, prompting Phillips to make the awful decision to tag and go to third. He was bailed out when the throw from center fielder Odubel Herrera nailed him in the back, which might have been the reason for the terrible last-second, half-slide that appeared to jam up his knee on third base. Jay Bruce then promptly laced a double passed a diving Ben Revere in right field that scored Phillips and sent Votto to third. They wouldn't need to run on the next one because MVP/GG/SS Zack Cozart sent one into the seats in left field scoring all three. The Reds would go quietly into the inning after that, but the damage was done. Advantage after 1 full: Reds 4-0.
  • Red Killer Maikel Franco started the second inning off with a double down the left field line, and advanced to third after a fly ball to right field. Anthony DeSclafani got the K for out number two, but Carlos Ruiz hit a grounder that found the opening between Frazier and Cozart, scoring Franco. Harang proceeded to find the same hole (gross, you guys), but DeSclafani coaxed a dribbler back to the mound by Revere for the third out. The Phillies get on the board in the top of the 2nd; 4-1.
  • Joey Votto began the bottom of the 3rd inning with a dinger to center field that brought children to tears because JOEY VOTTO DON'T PLAY, KIDS. Not to be outdone, Frazier deposited a Harangball deep into the left field seats that managed to sneak inside the foul pole. The Reds would go down in order after that, but not before Jay Bruce was #UmpShow'd right out of the game. More on that below. Reds add to their lead: 6-1.
  • After a Skip Schumaker out (is there any other kind, really?) JOEY "BAD MF" VOTTO hit his SECOND dinger of the night. After a short review (a fan leaned over for the souvenir) the call was confirmed. No more damage was done, but it never gets old watching Joey Votto hit home runs, does it? Reds on top after the 5th, 7-1.
  • DeSclafani finally ran into some real trouble in the top of the 7th. After getting Freddy Galvis out, Disco walked Ruiz. Darin Ruf was brought on to pinch hit for Harang and singled to short, and then Revere lined to center to load the bases. That was all Bryan Price needed to see, relieving DeSclafani for the night and replacing him with Manny Parra. Parra allowed a sacrifice fly to Herrera, but got Utley to ground out, mitigating the damage to one run. Reds still hold the advantage 7-2.
  • After Skip led off the bottom of the 7th with a single, Joey Votto came to the plate. Remember what I said about Joey Votto, earlier? HE. DON'T. PLAY. He deposited the offering from Dustin McGowen deep into the seats in right field, his third of the day. There's really nothing else to say, the greatness speaks for itself. Frazier couldn't duplicate the back-to-back from earlier in the game, but he didn't single. After Negron and Cozart struck out, Peña singled up the middle, followed by a sharply hit ball to right that Revere let ricochet out of his glove, allowing Frazier to score. Boesch struck out to end the inning, the Reds on top 10-2.
  • In the bottom of the 8th, pinch hitter extraordinaire Michael Lorenzen led off the inning with a sharply hit ball that should've been fielded by Franco, but wasn't, allowing Lorenzen to reach first safely. Skip grounded into a the force out, but managed to reach first before the double play could be applied. Because the greatest things aren't allowed to happen to us, Joey Votto did not hit his fourth home run of the night. That was enough for me to call it at night, but other things happened! Frazier hit one sharply to second that was fielded but couldn't be thrown, sending Skip to third, and then Negron got in on the action, hitting a single to center that plated Skip. Cozart grounded out to end the inning, but the Reds were able to put more on the board, 11-2.
  • New Red Nate Adcock was tasked with shutting this one down, and that's what he did. And this one? It belongs to the Reds, 11-2.


Source: FanGraphs

Other Notes
  • Brandon Phillips left the game after the 2nd inning due to what was later described as a groin strain. He had the aforementioned awkward slide in the bottom of the 1st whilst tagging from second base. It looked ugly from the beginning, and he spent some time getting up from it as the errant throw was retrieved. He was in no hurry jogging home on Bruce's double (not that there was any reason to be in a hurry as the ball went to the right field wall). In the next at bat, it seemed to flare up while he was trying to avoid being hit by a pitch. The situation bares a steady watch, as this contact making, singles smacking vintage of Brandon Phillips was exactly what the leadoff spot ordered for this Reds team.
  • Skip Schumaker came into the game, replacing Ivan De Jesus in left while De Jesus moved to second base. Because nobody keeps Jared outta this lineup.
  • Jay Bruce was tossed from the game in the bottom of the 3rd inning for, well, I'm not entirely sure why. He took a pitch that was apparently a ball (and Foxtrax confirmed) that was called strike three. Bruce wasn't happy, but there was nothing from the initial replays that showed anything particularly egregious from the Reds right fielder. Maybe he said something derogatory about Adam Hamari's mother?
  • Thom and Chris spent a year inning talking to a Cincinnati golf guy about the US Open. I'm firmly on the #golf bandwagon, but it was a horrible, boring conversation.
  • Joey Votto had his third 3 HR game as a Red. The only other Red to do that? Johnny Bench. React accordingly. You may remember the last time that this happened. It ended like this. V for Victory indeed, Mr. Grande.
  • TUNES that I somewhat uncharacteristically love, but also describes how we should probably still feel about this team.