The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Dan Straily's 3.24 ERA from the bullpen in his first 3 appearances with the Cincinnati Reds was enough to show them that he deserved one more shot as a big league starter. He got that shot on Monday evening, and he pitched pretty dang well in the process.
Straily tossed 5 innings of 1 ER ball against the Colorado Rockies, who entered with an MLB-best 23 homers to their name and a team OPS over .850. He struck out 4, walked just 2, and allowed just a pair of hits in his outing, using a relatively efficient 76 pitches in the process. A fully stretched-out Straily may well have been tasked with going deeper in this one, but instead those duties fell to a Reds bullpen that collapsed yet again.
That's not Dan's fault, though, so he gets a well-deserved trophy. A virtual trophy. He gets words about him from this here blog. (Much like Other Note number four, you get what you pay for. Sorry, Dan.)
Honorable Mentions are due to: Jordan Pacheco, who chipped in with an RBI double against the team that originally drafted him; Jay Bruce, who provided the lone additional extra base hit for the Reds on the evening;
- Colorado got on the board in the Top of the 2nd off Straily, beguiling the Reds with a dink and dunk run despite their distinctive dinger-y prowess. Nolan Arenado singled to RF to leadoff the inning, moved to 2B on a walk to Ben Paulsen, moved to 3B when Brandon Barnes dropped down a sac-bunt, and scored on a productive ground-out off the bat of Cristhian Adames. Reds trailed, 1-0.
- Meanwhile, the Reds offense was a-snoozin'. Snoozin', snoozin', snoozin'.
- Bruce doinked a leadoff double off the wall in right-center to start the Bottom of the 5th, and that was both the second hit of the night off pitcher Jordan Lyles and the first exciting Cincinnati play of the evening. Unfortunately, he tried to test Gerardo Parra's arm and stretch it into a triple, but Parra turned and fired to Arenado at 3B, who then made a sweep-tag that resulted in Bruce making the 1st out of the inning at 3B (and replay "confirmed"). Drat.
- The Bottom of the 6th finally saw the Reds scratch the scoreboard. Zack Cozart smashed a 2-out single that eluded Trevor Story at SS, and that proved vital when Pacheco followed with a looped double to the wall in LF. Parra attempted to hit Story as the cutoff man as Cozart was being held at 3B, but the throw shorthopped the Rockies' SS and skipped away, thereby allowing Cozy to scoot home. Game tied, 1-1.
- Ross Ohlendorf motored through the Top of the 7th, and even got the first pair of outs in the Top of the 8th. I'm guessing what was going through Bryan Price's mind at that point was "hell, someone has to get some outs from the bullpen, so I might as well stick with the guy who's getting them." Well, Trevor Story then blasted a meatball that nearly hit the powerstacks in CF, Carlos Gonzalez singled, Arenado walked, and Ohlendorf's evening was finished with the Reds once again in a late-game conundrum. Dorf was pulled in favor of Jumbo Diaz, who promptly served up a 3-run dinger to Ben Paulsen to liquidate any hope of a victory. Reds trailed, 5-1.
- After that, the Reds went quietly, and that was that. Reds lost, 5-1.
FanGraph that's one part Bad OffenseGraph, another part Bad BullpenGraph
- The Reds entered Monday's contest with a bullpen FIP of 6.37 and xFIP of 5.80. Both marks were the worst in all of baseball, and I'm guessing tonight won't change that.
- Nolan Arenado fielded a Billy Hamilton bunt barehanded in the Bottom of the 6th and proceeded to fire a missile to 1B to get the out. It was a thing of beauty, regardless of which team you root for. Gawdang, he's a second coming of pre-shoulder'd Scott Rolen.
- That's now back to back 8th inning ties that have been broken with Ohlendorf on the mound. I suppose I'd be frustrated with him being asked to toss another scoreless inning after the 7th, but it's not like there's been any other option that's shown much at all.
- It's worth mentioning (yet again) that J.J. Hoover is the only member of the Reds bullpen that's making more than $800K this year. You get what you pay for. Or, I suppose, if a higher pick in the 2017 draft is the ultimate goal, you get what you don't pay for.
- It's also worth mentioning that the offense - sans Eugenio Suarez and Devin Mesoraco - put up just a single run despite Jordan Lyles entering with an ERA worthy of the Reds bullpen. As bad as the pitching implosion was, the offense shoulders ample blame for this result.
- Alfredo Simon and his 12.15 ERA will try to level the series for the Reds tomorrow opposite Jorge De La Rosa. First pitch is set for 7:10 PM ET.