The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
I'm going to go ahead and give this to Zack Cozart tonight, because I have a big fat man crush on this Zack Cozart. I've already said enough in this space about Cozart's 2016 start. And despite my love for what he's doing, I'm not extremely sold that it'll continue. So basically, keep racking them up, Zack! He was 1 for 4 in this one, but he was also responsible for a sac fly that scored a run, which seemed nearly impossible off of Noah Syndergaard. The hit scored another run and chased Thor.
I dunno guys, Cozart just keeps doing it and I just keep loving it.
Honorable Mention to the guy that I almost gave the JNMHSotG to because of his complete domination of a particular half inning: Billy Hamilton. Billy went 1-4 in this one, but he made the absolute most of that hit, swiping two bags and scoring on Cozart's sac fly. He made several good swings and good contact tonight, and it feels like he's playing better than his line on the early season. Brandon Phillips, for extending his hit streak against the Mets before taking a brutal HBP, taking him out of the game. Joey Votto, for being Joey and adjusting and getting a hit and RBI by being Joey Votto. Tyler Holt got a timely pinch hit and was particularly "Tyler Holt" throughout. Raisel Iglesias struck out 7 through 5 innings while suffering through some bad innings, and Caleb Cotham was unblemished through 1.
Damn, I'm generous tonight, but there were a lot of good Reds things going on here, regardless of the score.
- The Mets struck first in this one, right in the bottom of the first. Raisel Iglesias had it working for the first two batters, getting Curtis Granderson and David Wright on strikes. Unfortunately, he hung a big fat tater out over the middle of the plate for Michael Conforto, who mashed it to straight away center field for the dinger. Lucas Duda and Neil Walker would bloop in back to back singles, but Iglesias would end the inning on an Asdrubal Cabrera ground out. Mets led, 1-0.
- Billy Hamilton took over the top of the third. After he flipped a bunt single over the outreached glove of Noah Syndergaard, he took advantage of Syndergaard's inability to hold base runners. He stole second easily; a throw wasn't even necessary. He stole third; it warranted a throw, but it wasn't particularly close. Zack Cozart just had to stand and watch before he needed to swing and when he did, he sent a Syndergaard offering to the warning track to score Hamilton easily. Eugenio Suarez and Joey Votto would provide back to back outs to end the inning, but the Billy Show was fun and in full effect. Tie ball game headed into the bottom of the frame: 1-1.
- In the bottom of the third, Conforto singled on a soft liner to lead things off, but of course Lucas Duda would funk a blast to right field for the two run ding-dong. The Mets would go down in order thereafter, but the Mets climbed back on top, 3-1.
- It took until the top of the 7th before the Reds could chip away at the Met lead. Scott Schebler popped out to begin the inning, before Tyler Holt pinched hit a single to right. Syndergaard tried to pick off Holt but fired it passed 1B, allowing Holt to take second. Hamilton lined out on good contact to center, but Reds Best Player Zack Cozart singled to left field scoring Holt and chasing Syndergaard for the night. Antonio Bastardo came in in relief to face Suarez, whom he promptly walked to bring Joey Votto to the plate. Votto worked the count against a Bastardo that's was struggling to find the zone. That's not a good trait to flash when facing Joey Votto, who smacked a single into right to score Cozart. That was it for Bastardo, who was replaced by Logan Verrett. Verrett got De Jesus, Jr. to end the inning, all knotted up at 3s.
- The Mets struck quickly again, scoring two in the bottom of the frame. JC Ramirez, in his second inning of work, walked Conforto before getting Duda out. A guy named "Neil Walker," who I thought was the Neil Walker that the Reds faced a ton of times when he played for Pittsburgh, clubbed a dinger to score two, his 7th in 10 games. That's not the Neil Walker the Reds know as far as I'm concerned. The Mets would go quietly thereafter but the damage was done by "Neil Walker," 5-3.
- The Reds couldn't claw back and lost, 5-3.
- Brandon Phillips extended his major league leading road hitting streak against any one team with his 33rd straight against the Mets in the top of the 2nd. There's a lot of boxes to check there, but it's still pr'cool in my opinion.
- The aforementioned Brandon Phillips took vicious looking Syndergaard 98 mph fastball HBP to his hand in the top of the 4th. Phillips immediately went to the ground in very, very much pain and shortly walked to the clubhouse after. Updates here at Red Reporter as we get them.
- See Other Note #2 above: Apparently the pitch that hit Phillips was traveling at (only?) 89 mph when it hit Phillips. Big, fat shout out to Zach Buchanan from the Cincinnati Enquirer for straightening me out on that one. According to the FS Ohio guys: the pitch hit Phillips on the left hand and the x-rays on that are negative, meaning no broken bones for the Reds 2B.
- In other Reds news we haven't covered here at Red Reporter dot com because, well, who wants to cover the shuffling of deck chairs on the Titanic? Ryan Mattheus was released from Louisville over the weekend, which is a bit of an indictment on what Mattheus has left at this point, considering he's being released before even sniffing this tire fire of a bullpen.
- Jay Bruce was placed on paternity leave before this game, awaiting a new baby. All of Red Reporter gives its best wishes to the Bruce family. Speaking of which:
Welcome to the world, Carter Bruce, born at 9:08 p.m. ET.— Reds Media Relations (@RedsPR) April 26, 2016
- That opened up a spot on the active roster for the Reds to call up Layne Somsen "Somsen". Maybe more interestingly, it meant the Reds needed to find a 40 man roster spot, which they cleared by putting Michael Lorenzen on the 60 day DL. Welp.