The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
From a 2015 perspective, there's not a pile of things to look forward to for Cincinnati Reds fans.
Look beyond 2015, though, and the team has put together a pile of interesting pieces that will play big parts in their next great run, and Raisel Iglesias may well be the most intriguing of all we've seen at the big league level so far. Iglesias got the start against the San Diego Padres on Wednesday afternoon, and while he struggled out of the gate, he settled in and looked dominant for much of the afternoon. The 3 ER he yielded in the 1st inning proved to be all the damage done against him on the day, and he settled in to retire 13 batters in a row before heading to the showers.
His final line: 6 IP, 3 ER, 3 H, BB, 8 K, 96 pitches. Have a trophy, Igloo.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Joey Votto, who went 3 for 4 with a walk, three runs scored, his 20th dinger of the season, a stolen base, and three ribbies; Jay Bruce, who walked and tripled in a pair of runs; Billy Hamilton, who walked and singled; Jumbo Diaz, who continued to look much better than his early season performances with a clean inning in relief; and Eugenio Suarez, who scored twice, was hit by a pitch, and singled.
- The bulk of the scoring came early in the this one, and it began with the Reds posting a 3-spot off James Shields in the Top of the 1st. Hamilton singled to lead off the game, and he moved to 2B when Eugenio Suarez was grazed by a pitch behind him. Votto then smoked a single to CF, and it appeared that Matt Kemp just assumed Hamilton would score, so he threw to 2B; however, Jim Riggleman had initially thrown up the stop sign for Billy at 3B, but the speedy Reds CF capitalized on the odd decision by Kemp and motored home. Two batters later, Bruce bonked a triple off the wall in CF, and that cleared the bases. Reds led, 3-0.
- Unfortunately, Kemp has blasted Reds pitching throughout his career to the tune of a career OPS over 1.000, and exacted a bit of revenge in the Bottom of the 1st with a 3-run blast over the LF wall that scored Yangervis Solarte - who'd been plunked - and former Red Yonder Alonso - who had singled to CF. Game tied, 3-3.
- The Reds jumped back in front in the Top of the 3rd, though. Votto singled with 1-out and moved up to 3B when Frazier poked a double to the corner in LF, and the Reds 1B later scored on an apparent brainfart from Shields. The veteran RHP stepped off the fake a throw to 3B, which is something that was legal in baseball for decades up until two years ago, but since that now qualifies as a balk, Votto trotted home. Reds led, 4-3.
- Iglesias kept right on cruising, and that set up the Top of the 7th, which scored one excruciating run. Brandon Phillips pinch hit for Iglesias to lead off the inning, and he promptly singled to CF. Hamilton walked behind him to put runners on 1B & 2B with the heart of the lineup coming up, but for some godawful reason, Bryan Price apparently had Suarez bunt. Not just bunt, but bunt on a 2-0 count. He laid down a "successful" bunt that moved the runners up, but the Padres - who had already intentionally walked one Reds batter on the day - did the obvious and walked Votto to load the bases. So, the Reds gave up an out with one of their best hitters, took the bat out of the hands of their absolute best hitter, and settled for an eventual sac fly from Frazier as the sole spoils from the inning. Good lord. Reds led, 5-3.
- For good measure, Suarez and Votto combined to post some offense of their own in the Top of the 9th, as Suarez smacked a 1-out single, and with someone already on 1B, the Padres had to pitch to Votto, and he proceeded to smoke a Frank Garces meatball over the wall in CF for a 2-run dinger. Though that put the game in a non-save situation, Aroldis Chapman was brought in for the Bottom of the 9th (presumably since he'd been warming for the save), and he closed the door. Reds won, 7-3!
- Kill the bunt. Kill it with fire. Kill it with fire, pour it in concrete, put it in an iron safe, and drop that iron safe full of burnt concrete to the bottom of the ocean.
- While this game was going on, several former Reds found themselves smack dab in the middle of the transaction ledger. Chris Heisey, who had been DFA'd by the Dodgers, signed a minor league deal to join the red-hot Toronto Blue Jays, while his former CF counterpart, Drew Stubbs, was DFA'd by the Colorado Rockies.
- The Reds will head up the California coast this evening, and tomorrow they'll begin a four game series against their old NL West rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers. First pitch for Thursday's game is set for 10:10 PM ET, and you'll be able to listen to Vin Scully call it. That's what I'll be doing, at least.