The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Raisel Iglesias was signed by the Cincinnati Reds just over a year ago, and at that point many in the baseball world wondered if the talented young Cuban defector would be anything more than a reliever at the big league level. The Reds, fortunately, weren't among those concerned about his ability to develop into a starting pitcher, and the early returns on their $27 million investment keep looking better and better.
On Sunday, Iglesias was spectacular against the Arizona Diamondbacks, his only blemishes being a 1st row solo dinger allowed and an errant throw in the field. Aside from that, he blew through Arizona's lineup for 7 innings, and he allowed just 3 hits and a single earned run while striking out a Reds season-high 13 batters. He mixed pitches, changed arm angles, touched 96 mph with his fastball, and sported a breaking ball that missed swinging bats by feet, at times, and in the process he lowered his season ERA down to 3.93.
In a year where there are few things to get truly excited about in Reds-land, Iglesias has absolutely become one of them. Have a trophy, Igloo.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Ryan LaMarre, who got the first big league hit of his career, a liner to LF for a single; Joey Votto, who walked twice; Collin Balester, who tossed a scoreless inning in his Reds debut; and Skip Schumaker, who doubled.
- While Chase Anderson held the Cincinnati bats in check throughout, Iglesias yielded a blip in the Top of the 4th, when Welington Castillo launched a solo dinger that just cleared the wall in LF. In fact, the Umps took a quick look at replay to make sure that it wasn't actually fan interference on a long double (it wasn't). Reds trailed, 1-0.
- Arizona tacked on another run in the Top of the 6th thanks to some derpy defense. Ender Inciarte took a leadoff walk - which haunted - and he stole 2B two batters later. Iglesias then got Paul Goldschmidt to hit a soft grounder to the right side that Votto fielded, but the Joey's attempt to get the ball to Iggy while covering 1B fell way short, and that allowed Goldschmidt to reach on the error. Iglesias alertly tracked down the loose ball, but when he tried to throw home to nab Inciarte - who rounded 3B in an attempt to score - the Reds pitcher threw over Brayan Pena's head, and the run scored on the pair of errors. Reds trailed, 2-0.
- Iglesias gave way to the bullpen after his 7 stellar innings, and poop then predictably hit the fan. Jumbo Diaz was brought on, and after he walked Goldschmidt with 2-outs, David Peralta launched a 2-run blast over the wall in CF. Reds trailed, 4-0.
- That was it. The Reds lost, 4-0.
- As the FS-Ohio guys noted during the broadcast, the 13 Ks by Iglesias is the most by a Reds rookie pitcher since 1967, when Gary Nolan matched that feat. As former RR fearless leader Joel Luckhaupt noted on Twitter, Iggy's last 19 IP have been nothing short of spectacular.
- Brennan Boesch was originally slated to be in today's game in RF, but he was scratched prior to first pitch after fouling a ball off his foot in batting practice. He's OK, however, and his removal from the lineup got LaMarre back in (where he responded with his first career hit). Speaking of before-the-game moves, Balester found himself on the 25-man roster when the Reds placed Manny Parra back on the DL and DFA'd Donn Roach.
- Raisel Iglesias, y'all.
- Brayan Pena hit 5th for the Reds in this one, with the team sporting an admittedly depleted lineup. How depleted? Pena hasn't homered in 2015, and actually hasn't homered in 478 PAs dating back to mid-2014.
- Ivan De Jesus had another hit (and a walk), and the 28 year old continues to look as if he'll be a big part of the Reds bench going forward, and I think I like the heck out of that idea. He can play at least 4 positions, he's not even arb-eligible for two more years (read: he's cheap), he's a former Top 100 prospect, and he's a career .298/.370/.394 hitter in over 4000 MiLB PAs. And, maybe more importantly, his defense has been more impressive than his offense.
- Sunday's loss was the 9th in a row for the Reds. THAT DRAFT POSITION, THOUGH.
- The Detroit Tigers will face the Reds on Monday in what I believe is a make-up game. We're all glad they're making it up.