The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Joey Votto has blasted the doors off the second "half" of the Cincinnati Reds' season, and in the second game of Wednesday's doubleheader he had all his vintage skills on full display. Votto had a pair of singles - one on a two-strike count against nemesis Travis Wood - and he walked three times while back in his now customary second spot in the order. He's gone 14 for 26 with a pair of dingers and eight walks since the All Star break, and it's been a joy to watch the former MVP put his full arsenal on display.
The Reds lost, but at this point, that's just better draft position. Have another trophy, Joey.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Marlon Byrd, who went two for three with two walks; Billy Hamilton, who went three for five with two ribbies in a return to the leadoff spot; Pedro Villarreal, who took over for an ineffective Tony Cingrani after a 13 inning game on Tuesday and turned in a stellar 4.1 IP performance; and Ivan De Jesus, Jr, who went two for four with a run scored and a pair of ribbies.
- Cincinnati got down to business in the Bottom of the 2nd against Cubs starter Dallas Beeler. Brayan Pena reached on an infield single to lead off the inning, and a walk to Marlon Byrd followed by a rocket of a single off the bat of Eugenio Suarez loaded the bases. Ivan De Jesus, Jr. then singled to RF to plate Pena, and Byrd scored a batter later when Cingrani's grounder right at SS Starlin Castro was booted. That left the bases loaded again, and Billy Hamilton responded with a double over the head of Jorge Soler in RF score two more. Beeler then walked Votto intentionally to load the bases, but a 1-out swinging bunt off the bat of Jay Bruce later scored Cingrani. Reds led, 5-0.
- While Cingrani had looked firmly al dente through the game's first couple of innings, he went completely wet noodle in the Top of the 3rd. Doubles from Jonathan Herrera and Starlin Castro resulted in the Cubs' first run of the evening, and Cingrani promptly loaded the bases with a HBP and a walk. Former Red (and long-time Bill Hall All Star) Chris Denorfia then poked a double to the corner in LF that scored a pair, and after the Reds opted to walk David Ross to load the bases for the pitcher's spot, Joe Maddon pulled Beeler in favor of pinch-hitter Kris Bryant, who responded with a 2-run double to level the score and end Cingrani's outing. Game tied, 5-5.
- After both flurries, the scoring subsided until the Top of the 9th, and it came from the Cubs at the expense of Aroldis Chapman, of all folks. Chapman yielded a single to Dexter Fowler to lead off the inning, and he stole 2B while Starlin Castro was busy striking out. Anthony Rizzo followed with a single, but Fowler was thrown out at home by Byrd (and the call was upheld after a review). That left Rizzo at 1B and the Cubs' pitcher's spot due up after Jorge Soler, so the Reds opted to walk Soler to bring up the last man on the Cubs' bench, lefty catcher Taylor Teagarden. But Rizzo stole 2B with Teagarden at the plate, and Teagarden then singled to CF to push Rizzo, the eventual winning run, across the plate. It's hard to imagine a bigger backfire, really. Reds trailed, 6-5.
- After that, Jason Motte shut down the Reds in the Bottom of the 9th, and a 5-run lead was officially a loss. Reds lost, 6-5.
Tony Graphanino (that's as close to a visual representation of the Cincinnati Reds between 2009 and 2015 as is graphically possible)
- Chapman entered Wednesday evening's game having limited lefties to a .174/.316/.217 line so far in 2015, yet both Rizzo (lefty) and Teagarden (lefty) got vital hits in the 9th.
- Between yesterday's 13 inning affair and today's doubleheader (that featured a near 4 hour game 2), the Reds and Cubs have spent roughly 1,000% of the last 24 hours playing baseball.
- Votto had a tidy 5 for 6 day that featured 4 walks, a dinger, and 3 runs scored. He only had a single RBI though, and 1 RBI per 2 games played adds up to a decidedly non-elite 81 RBIs per season pace. That's a fact, right Marty?