The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
If this was to be Mike Leake's final start with the Cincinnati Reds, it was the kind of start that will make remembering his time in the Queen City a positive one. Leake dominated the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday, tossing 8 shutout innings to lead the Reds to a convincing victory in a city and stadium where they've been stomped on for years. The righty allowed just four hits and one walk, struck out three, and needed just a tidy 95 pitches in the process.
With the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline on Friday and the MLB vultures circling the flailing Reds, it's highly likely that Leake will be on the move, and soon. Should that be the case, it's awesome to know that the most recent lasting memory Reds fans will have of him will be shutting down the Filthy Cards in their own home park.
Have another trophy, Mike, and thanks for everything.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Joey Votto, who would've taken home this award easily had this not likely been Leake's final start with the Reds (and had Leake not been completely nails), as the elite 1B elitely elited a 3-run dinger, doubled, walked, scored twice, and raised his average to a Vottonian .311 after his 3 for 3 evening; Aroldis Chapman, who closed the door in the 9th; and Todd Frazier, who logged his 30th double of the season.
- Both Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia and Leake took no-hitters through the first third of the game, though Leake's actually lasted into the Bottom of the 5th.
- Since the pitchers were in charge, the scoreboard operator had a slow evening until the Top of the 6th, but Votto did his best to wake him up abruptly. Leake's single started the inning, and he moved to 2B on a sac bunt from Billy Hamilton. Brandon Phillips walked two batters later to put a pair of runners on for the white hot Votto, and the Reds 1B then blasted a 3-run dinger to straightaway CF to put the Reds ahead, 3-0.
- Votto struck again in the Top of the 9th, as he fought off an inside pitch from LOOGY Randy Choate on a 2-strike count to poke a double down the LF line, and he motored home two batters later when Jay Bruce singled to RF. After that, Chapman came on to close the door on just the 5th shutout the Cardinals have experienced this season, and that was that. Reds won, 4-0!
- Joey Votto has now reached base at least twice in 15 consecutive games, which ties Pete Rose for the most in Reds history since 1914. He's also reached base 15 times in 21 PA on this road trip.
- Oh holy hell, Joey.
- If that was actually Leake's last start with the Reds, he'll finish this portion of his career with a 62-47 record and an ERA just shy of 3.90. Given the expectations set on him at the time he was drafted - which were those of an already MLB ready mid-rotation starter - he's performed every bit as well as the Reds could have hoped since being taken in the 1st round of the 2009 draft out of Arizona State.
- Tomorrow the Reds will attempt to win their first series in St. Louis since the advent of color TV, and they'll send Anthony DeSclafani to the mound to try to pull it off. He'll be opposed by John Lackey, and first pitch is scheduled for 8:15 PM ET.