The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
The second half of the Reds season is going to be dominated by trade rumors, trades, and the returns on those trades. Marlon Byrd wasn't a popular addition in the offseason, nor was adding an aged left fielder by way of a pitching prospect the logical choice for Reds fans going into 2015. But here we are. Since returning from his wrist injury after a mere 16 days, coming into today Byrd has averaged .300 with a .309 OBP. Better yet, since his abysmal April (of which seemed to prove every prudent Reds fan right), Byrd has posted a .874 OPS with 12 of his 15 dingers.
As it stands right now, Marlon has posted a 109 wRC+, which isn't world beating but is valuable, while also showing that age is merely a number and the demise has yet to come. That's worth something, and the Reds should be getting some phone calls on the Byrdman.
All he did tonight was go 4-4 with a solo fly away and two runs scored and a double, just a mere triple away from the cycle. So, here you go, Mr. Byrd. Have a trophy, and then find a suitor for something good, would you?
Honorable mention to: Mike Leake who pitched 6 innings allowing only 1 run on 4 hits while weathering a lengthy rain delay and also knocking in 3 runs of his own at the plate. Joey Votto with a solo home run, Billy Hamilton, by basically manufacturing a run all on his own with mastery on the base paths, and Tucker Barnhart with a 1-2, 2 BB night.
- Marlon Byrd flapped his wings and flew one out to right field to start the scoring for the Redlegs in the bottom of the 2nd inning. Eugenio Suarez followed him up with a single and Tucker Barnhart did likewise in the next at bat, sending Suarez to third base. MIKE LEAKE! laid down a great bunt for the squeeze play, and Suarez beat the throw to the plate by a step. Billy Hamilton then bunted the runners over with all of the bunting buntiness one could ask for, and then Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer walked Brandon Phillips to load the bases for Joey Votto with 2 outs. Votto did not make the most of the opportunity, striking out on 4 pitches. Dang. Reds strike first, 2-0.
- The Reds kept rolling in the 3rd. After Todd Frazier flew out to the warning track, Jay Bruce and Byrd followed with back to back singles. Suarez flew out, but Bauer walked Barnhart to load the bases for pitcher Mike Leake. Leake decided to help his own cause, doubling to the right center field wall to score 2 more Reds runs. At that point, the skies started to light up, and the game was delayed due to rain and lightning. When the game resumed, Bauer returned to induce a popup to Hamilton, and the inning was over in a flash after the break. Reds add to the lead, 4-0.
- In the bottom of the 4th, after a Phillips groundout, Votto came up and blasted a dinger to straight away center field. It was unclutch and should've come an AB earlier, when the bases were loaded, and probably shouldn't even count, really. No one else did anything, and the Reds led 5-0, if you want to count that very unclutch home run, I guess. Wasn't even with RISP smdh.
- Francisco Lindor opened the top of the 6th with a single, and Michael Brantley doubled to right field, putting runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs. Leake got David Murphy to pop out to shortstop, but Carlos Santana grounded out to second base to score Lindor. Leake retired Yan Gomes to end the inning, but the Indians got on the board, 5-1.
- The bottom of the 8th inning featured Billy in all his glory. After bouncing one over the pitchers head and reaching base on an infield single that Lindor couldn't handle, Billy stole second and then took third after Yan Gomes's throw went into center field. Brandon Phillips grounded to the third baseman, who thought he held Billy with a pump fake, but Billy is Billy, and as soon as Giovanny Urshela threw the ball to first base to get out Phillips, Billy rumbled for home, sliding in just in time for the score. These words don't really do justices for what Billy did that inning, so at your earliest convenience (which is probably now, if you're reading this) look up the video on MLB.com. It's worth it. Votto walked, but Frazier erased him and ended the inning with a double play. Reds led, 6-1.
- The Indians tried but they couldn't muster a run in the 9th inning. Game over, Reds win 6-1.
- Earlier today, certifiably accountable newsman Paul Daugherty wrote a critical piece regarding Reds general manager Walt Jocketty and how he's currently fielding trade offers, not from Reds HQ in Cincinnati, but from his condo in Jupiter, FL. In fact, Jocketty spent at least part of his time taking a look at A+ prospects Amir Garrett and Sal Romano when they also happened to be playing baseball in Jupiter. I wouldn't usually link to Doc, but this is actually an interesting take (though, I think it's bush league to take shots at Walt spending a week to visit his daughter), and I wanna know how the majority of Reds fans feel about this. I'll be the first to say that I really don't care if Walt is in Cincinnati, Arizona, London, Jupitar, FL or the planet Jupiter; as long as he's got reliable cell coverage and some decent wifi, he'll be able to orchestrate deals just as well as he would holing up in his office. But, others have had different takes. Discuss.
- Thom said this was the 17th rain delay of the year. That's stupid and dumb.
- Mike Leake's reputation with a bat in his hands precedes him, but coming into tonights game Leake was batting .116/.116/.233 for a .349 OPS and -7 OPS+ in 46 PAs. Which, is a typical pitcher's batting line. Which is also completely fine, but seeing Leake execute a perfect suicide squeeze and then double in two runs of his own is very much a throwback to Mike Leake than it is the standard anymore. And none of that is an indictment on Mike Leake: Baseball Player, but it may be time to retire feelings about Mike Leake: Batting Pitcher.
- Chris Welsh kinda compared Michael Brantley to Barry Bonds. We love you, Chris, but.. eh.
- Tomorrow, the Reds will lace them up agains the Indians for game 2. Corey Kluber will take his Cy Young stuff to the mound to face off against impressive Reds rookie Anthony DeSclafani at 7:10 EDT. This one will be on Fox Sports 1 for those of you who haven't cut the cord.
- "I'm sorry doll, I could never stop the rain."