The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Joey Votto blasted a 2-run dinger off of James Shields, rocked some awesome high socks, and lifted a sac-fly as part of his evening performance for the Cincinnati Reds, and it was dang nice to see it in primetime. The Cincinnati Reds 1B has so far shown no signs of slowing down off his 2015 mastery in his 2016 Cactus League displays, and the team's offense clearly revolves around him. Tonight he had on full display every reason why, and for that he gets yet another JNMHSotG trophy.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Cody Reed, who looked dominant early before running out of gas a bit in the 4th inning; Seth Mejias-Brean, who went 2 for 2 with a run scored; and J.J. Hoover, who threw 2 scoreless innings.
- Both Reed and James Shields held their respective opposing offenses in check through the game's first 3 innings, but the Reds put the chalk on the board in the Top of the 4th. Shields came a little too up and in against Ivan De Jesus, Jr. - hitting him in the ribs - and Votto then followed by teeing off on an inside fastball for a 2-run honked donker that cleared the wall in straightaway CF. Reds led, 2-0.
- The Padres launched back in their own fashion in the Bottom of the 4th, however. Matt Kemp poked an opposite field single to RF, and Wil Myers followed with an oppo-dinger of his own that landed on the grass beyond the wall in RF. Yangervis Solarte then drew a walk, a walk that haunted when Alexi Ramirez tripled to the corner in LF. A strikeout later, Reed was removed in favor of Layne Somsen (because it's spring), and Somsen promptly walked a dude and allowed the pitcher to smoke an RBI single up the middle. Somsen then walked Jon Jay, too, and with the bases loaded Kemp then smacked a liner up the middle at Jordan Pacheco that probably should've been the final out of the inning but instead bounced off his chest allowing another run to score. It was ruled a hit - which was pretty laughable - and Somsen then got stuck facing Myers again, who then sliced a curving double to the RF corner to clear the bases yet again. Sigh. Reds trailed, 8-2.
- Cincinnati made damn sure they weren't going to make this a short recap, though, and they commenced nip/tucking their way back against Shields in the Top of the 5th. Shields walked Yorman Rodriguez to start the inning, and Yorman then hustled his way to 2B when Tucker Barnhart's grounder to SS was bumbled by Ramirez. Both runners then advanced when Ray Chang's liner off Shields' butt resulted in an out at 1B, and a subsequent walk to Jose Peraza and a De Jesus HBP drove in a run. Shields then departed in favor of Leonel Campos, who faced Votto for his first batter (which resulted in a sac-fly to the LF corner). Reds trailed, 8-4.
- A light 9th inning rally and run courtesy of singles from Seth Mejias-Brean, Zach Vincej, and Beamer Weems resulted in a single run, but that was that on the evening. Reds lost, 8-5.
- The Tampa Bay Rays will play the Cuban National Team tomorrow in Havana, which is an event I'm quite anxious to watch. First pitch is set for 2 PM ET, and the game will be televised on ESPN.
- Cody Reed looked quite impressive during his first turn through the San Diego lineup, but was touched up during his 2nd try. He touched 95 mph with his fastball early in this one, sat mostly 91-94 mph, and flashed a slider that will make you drool at his very best. His overall readiness isn't yet 100%, but his talent is absolutely evident, as is the frame to handle it.
- Tuesday marks the return of Alfredo Simon for the Reds, as he'll take on the Chicago Cubs back in Goodyear tomorrow, with first pitch set for 2:05 PM ET.