The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
In what may well have been his final start in Great American Ball Park as a member of the Cincinnati Reds, Mike Leake shined on Wednesday afternoon. Leake tossed an 8 inning, 1 run gem, yielding just 4 hits and no walks on the day, and in the process he lowered his ERA right back down to a very Leakian 3.78. He tossed 111 pitches, and did a wonderful job of displaying his ability to be a durable, sometimes dominant mid-rotation starter, and with the July 31st trade deadline right around the corner, the Reds' front office truly couldn't have asked for a better showcase.
Congrats, Mike, and have one more JNMHSotG trophy for your case.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Joey Votto, who continued his torrid start to the season's second half by going 3 for 4 with a homer, walk, and 3 runs scored; Todd Frazier, who went 3 for 5 with 2 ribbies and 2 runs scored; Eugenio Suarez, who doubled in 2 runs, walked, and scored; and Bryan Price, who got away with starting one of the meekest OFs in modern baseball history.
- The Reds burst out of the gate in the Bottom of the 1st against Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks - or they at least had the "At 'em" gods on their side. Brandon Phillips reached on a single to start the Reds' inning, and he moved to 2B on a throwing error by Addison Russell. Jason Bourgeois then reached on an infield single that held BP at 2B, and the bases were then loaded when Votto walked. Frazier then lifted a bit of a bloop double to RF to score two, and Suarez followed with a double of his own to clear the bases. Reds led, 4-0.
- The Cubs managed to scrape one back off Leake in the Top of the 3rd, and it was once again thanks to their youth movement. Russell doubled, moved to 3B on a single from old-man Chris Coghlan, and eventually scored on a single from Kyle Schwarber. Reds led, 4-1.
- Votto blasted his solo shot in the Bottom of the 5th, a line-drive 366 ft laser into the RF seats. That left the Reds up 5-1, and they proceeded to pile on four more runs in the Bottom of the 7th - all with two outs. The really started with a Votto single, and that was followed by a Frazier single, a Suarez walk, a Skip Schumaker walk to drive in one, a Billy Hamilton single to drive in two, and finally a Tucker Barnhart single to score run number nine. From there, Leake continued to cruise and Burke Badenhop closed the door after a shaky Top of the 9th, and that was that. Reds won, 9-1!
<iframe src="http://www.fangraphs.com/graphframe.aspx?config=0&static=0&type=livewins&num=0&h=450&w=450&date=2015-07-22&team=Reds&dh=1" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" height="450" width = "450" style="border:1px solid black;"></iframe><br /><span style="font-size:9pt;">Source: <a href="http://www.fangraphs.com/livewins.aspx?date=2015-07-22&team=Reds&dh=1&season=2015">FanGraphs</a></span>
- The Kansas City Royals, who already matched up well on-paper with the Reds for potential trade targets Johnny Cueto and Jay Bruce, optioned Opening Day starter Yordano Ventura to the minors and announced SP Jason Vargas had a torn UCL on Wednesday. Stay tuned.
- Mike Leake sat down the final 16 batters he faced on the afternoon. If that's his last start in GABP as a Red, that's a damn fine way to wrap a Reds career.
- The Reds starting OF in this one was Skip Schumaker, Billy Hamilton, and Jason Bourgeois. Together, they entered the game with just 3 HRs combined, all of which belong to Billy. Interestingly, of the 148 MLB players who entered play on Wednesday with at least 300 AB on the season, Hamilton owned the single worst SLG % of them all (.282).
- Game two of the day's doubleheader will feature a pair of players on the mound called up for today's action, as the Cubs will send Dallas Beeler to the bump opposite Tony Cingrani. First pitch is set for 6:10 PM ET.