The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
So, Joey Votto was probably the best player in this game. Well, he’s generally the best player in any game that he plays, in both dugouts, but I meant tonight, he was probably the best player.
But I’m not giving him the trophy. Call it voter fatigue. Or call it being sentimental for a season that’s about to end. But let’s talk about Ivan De Jesus.
So, being on the bench for a losing team is such a thankless job. Regardless of whether you win 100 games or 70 games, a team is required to carry 25 players. Being one of the bottom 10 players on a team is what it is, but it has to be even tougher when “what it is” is “being not as good as everyone else on a bad team.”
Anyway, De Jesus proved last season that he was good enough to stick on a major league bench. This season he’s, been, well... in flux.
See, he didn’t play very well, sure. But it just so happens that the Reds started acquiring players that do exactly what De Jesus does. So, after playing badly, he saw himself losing at bats to Jose Peraza and even Tony Renda. He was supposed to slot in for Zack Cozart and Brandon Phillips when needed, but those needed at bats went elsewhere.
But he’s played better recently, and fantastically so in this series. In September, De Jesus has gotten on base at a .391 clip. That went up after today, of course, since he hit two doubles and worked a walk against Aroldis F’N Chapman.
De Jesus is just the latest in a long line of players who earned their way into a bench role with an exciting previous season (I see you, Kristopher Negron and, the OG, Chris Heisey). Who knows who that player is for next season. Hell with the way that De Jesus has ended this season... it might just be him.
Honorable mention to Joey Votto for being awesome, as usual; Steve Selsky, for hitting, walking, and scoring; and Eugenio Suarez for knocking a dinger, walking, and batting in three. Tim Adleman did everything you’d ask a Tim Adleman to do, and the Reds bullpen (namely Michael Lorenzen and Raisel Iglesias) nailed the damn thing down.
- Jose Peraza began the Reds portion of the afternoon taking a ball in the dirt off his leg and then nearly immediately stealing second base. Ivan De Jesus, Jr. and Joey Votto both grounded out, moving Peraza to third and then home in the process. Adam Duvall struck out swinging to end the inning, but the Reds strike first, 1-0.
- The Reds kept it going in the bottom of the 2nd. Steve Selsky knocked a grounder into right field and then stole second base off of the notoriously yippy Jon Lester. No matter, though, as Eugenio Suarez bombed an oppo-taco to plate them both. Patrick Kivlehan (go ahead and Google it, I’ll wait) and Ramon Cabrera struck out swinging for outs one and two, but Tim Adleman smoked a single to center field from the 9 spot. Peraza flew out to end the inning. Reds extend the lead, 3-0.
- Lester began the bottom of the 3rd by walking De Jesus, giving up a single to Votto, and then walking Duvall to load the bases. Selsky smoked a screaming liner to Zobrist who caught it for the first out, before Suarez lifted a fly ball sacrifice deep enough to score De Jesus. Kivlehan struck out swinging, but the Reds keep tacking them on. 4-0.
- The Cubs did their work in the top of the 4th. Kris Bryant lined out before Anthony Rizzo singled to the left side, beating the shift. Ben Zobrist flew out before Addison Russell was issued a free pass. Jason Heyward doubled (on a ball horribly misplayed by that Kivle-guy) to right, scoring Rizzo and Russell. Javy Baez singled to left field, which scored Heyward as Duvall’s throw was way wide. Baez got caught in the ensuing rundown between first and second to end the inning. Cubs strike hard, but still trail by one, 4-3.
- The Reds roughed up Lester further in the bottom of the 5th. De Jesus just missed a dinger off the top of the left center field wall, settling for a double. Votto laced a grounder just over the first base bag for a double, scoring De Jesus. Duvall hit a hard grounder to third baseman Baez, who missed the throw to first base badly. Duvall was thrown out at second, of course, but Votto advanced to third. Selsky struck out before Suarez reached on balls. Kivlehan flew out to center to end the threat. Red lead, 5-3.
- The Reds roughed up
LesterRondon furtherin the bottom of the 7th. De Jesus doubled. Votto doubled Ivan home. Duvall struck out swinging before Selsky walked. Suarez flew out for the second out, before Hernan Iribarren singled sharply up the middle that scored Votto. Of course, these are your Cincinnati Reds, so Selsky got caught in a pickle trying to sneak to third base and was tagged out. Reds put two more on the board, 7-3.
- Ben Zobrist is on a mission to beat the Reds by himself if he’s got to. He homered off Michael Lorenzen in the top of the 8th. He’ll have to do it by himself, however, because no one else did anything for the Cubs in the inning. Reds, 7-4.
- Aroldis Chapman was fine in the bottom of the 8th. He gave way to Raisel Iglesias in the top of the 9th, who was perfect. It was weird to watch. Reds win, 7-4.
- The Mets clinched the top Wild Card spot today. Jay Bruce will play in the playoffs.
- The Pirates did not hold up their end the of bargain in the quest to keep St. Louis out of the playoffs, losing 4-3 on a late Jedd
JerkoffGyorko home run.
- The Giants, however, came in clutch. They beat the Dodgers 3-0, beating Clayton Kershaw. Ty Blach (go ahead, back to Google for you) outdueled Kershaw to keep the Giants one game up over the Cardinals with one to play.
- So, it’ll all come down to tomorrow. The best the Cardinals can do is tie the Giants with a win and a Giants loss, creating a +1 game 163 on Monday. A Cardinals loss or a Giants win will send San Francisco and Johnny Cueto into the playoffs.
- MLB.tv is free this weekend, so you can watch all of the playoff implications unfold in real time as MLB powers toward the postseason. I watched the Giants/Dodgers game, and the atmosphere in San Francisco was absolutely electric. Meanwhile, Great American Ballpark (understandably) turned into Wrigley South this weekend.
- I really, really miss meaningful Reds October baseball.
- The Reds will wrap up their season tomorrow against the Cubs. All of the games played tomorrow will begin between 3:05pm and 3:15pm EDT, so that everyone still playing for the playoffs can’t clinch while waiting for their game to start. The Cubs and Reds, of course, don’t have to worry about that. First pitch at 3:10pm EDT.