The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
With the Cincinnati Reds beginning a seven game road trip to face the Washington Nationals and Florida Marlins next week, Wednesday's start for Johnny Cueto was his final one at home prior to the All Star break. Given how the Reds are now five games under .500 and 150/1 shots to win the World Series, all signs point to Cueto being shopped and likely traded as soon as the All Star Game spotlight is removed from Cincinnati in just over two weeks.
In other words, Wednesday's matinee against the Minnesota Twins may well have been Johnny Cueto's final home start as a member of the Reds, but if it was, he certainly went out on a high note.
Cueto allowed just a single earned run in eight innings of work, piling up eight strikeouts against just a single walk and four hits, lowering his season ERA to a once again sparkling 2.84. Cueto kept the Twins off balance with his now patented windup diversity, pounding the strike zone and showing a healthy elbow for 111 pitches.
It may have only been his ninth or thirteenth best start in GABP, but that's just a testament to how dang good he's been there. Have another JNMHSotG trophy for old times' sake, Johnny.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Billy Hamilton, who went 1 for 2 with a walk, run scored, and diving catch in CF for the game's final out; Brandon Phillips, who went 1 for 3 with a double, walk, and run scored; and Aroldis Chapman, who downed Minnesota in order for his 16th save.
- The Reds got on the board first in the Bottom of the 3rd when Phillips scored from 3B on a sac fly to LF from Joey Votto. Phillips had doubled and moved up on a Trevor May wild pitch, and he motored home just ahead of a solid throw from Shane Robinson. Reds led, 1-0.
- May lost the strike zone in the Bottom of the 5th, and it's easy to suspect that Hamilton's baserunning prowess had a lot to do with it. Billy took a 1-out walk and later moved to 2B on another wild pitch from May, and Phillips followed by walking, too. That brought Votto to the plate, and after fell behind in the count early, he worked his way to ball four, but that came on a pitch that apparently Chris Herrmann thought was strike three, as the Twins catcher fired to 3B to attempt to nail Hamilton, who was on the move. The ball sailed over Trevor Plouffe's head and into LF, alloweing Billy to motor home on the error. Reds led, 2-0.
- 'Plouffe.' Heh.
- Minnesota got a run back in the Top of the 6th thanks to a leadoff double from Brian Dozier and a pair of productive grounders. Reds led, 2-1.
- From there, Cueto plowed right on through the Top of the 8th before leaving to hugs, handshakes, and a standing ovation, and he watched as Aroldis Chapman picked up the save. Reds win, 2-1!
- Cueto's victory means his current career record in GABP is a ridiculous 48-22 with roughly a 2.90 ERA in 97 career starts. That's sexy.
- Votto's sac fly was his first of the season.
- The Reds will have an off-day on Thursday before hosting the Milwaukee Brewers for a three game series over the holiday weekend. Michael Lorenzen will take the mound for the good guys in Friday's series opener opposite Mike Fiers, with first pitch set for 7:10 PM ET.