Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
When Dan Straily came to the Reds, the reactions ranged from "meh" to "bleh". There was nothing catastrophically wrong with the signing, and the move was completely reasonable on pretty much every account. But the 27-year old righty has slowly proven himself to be one of the more capable hurlers on the staff, and should show some solid staying power even as the rest of the team's arms come back from injury. In fact, Straily entered today as the lowest opponent batting average of any NL pitcher with at least two starts, sitting at .148.
So, even with a loss, it seems appropriate to hand Straily tonight's trophy, for dueling with Juan Nicasio for six innings of two-run baseball that included just five hits and three walks to go with five strikeouts. Bailey, Disco and Lamb will all be welcome sights when they rejoin the squad, but Straily will make it as difficult as possible on Price and company to decide on a fifth starter. And for the first time this year, that will actually be a good thing.
Honorable mentions go to Joey Votto, who continued to burst out of his slump with a two-hit performance, Tucker Barnhart, who doubled home the Reds' only run, and J.C. Ramirez, who tossed a scoreless inning out of the pen.
- Pittsburgh was the first to dent the scoreboard in this one, and did so in the home half of the third inning. Jordy Mercer singled to center and was moved to second on a bunt by Pirates starter Juan Nicasio. Straily walked John Jaso, setting up the double play, before getting a huge strikeout of Andrew McCutchen for the second out. David Freese played the spoiler though, singling to right field and scoring Mercer for the game's first run. Pirates led 1-0.
- The second run of the game took much less manufacturing than the first, with Josh Harrison putting a nice swing on a pitch at his knees and taking it opposite field for a solo shot in the fourth. Pirates led 2-0.
- J.J. Hoover relieved Staily in the seventh, and y'all, Hoovers gonna Hoov. He induced a pair of groundouts before giving up a single, followed by a pinch-hit two-run shot to Matt Joyce that barely stayed fair. Pirates' lead is doubled, 4-0.
- The Pirates were hoping Arquimedes Caminero and his 101mph heat would be enough to complete the shutout, but it wouldn't be that easy. Votto singled to open the inning, Brandon Phillips replaced him on a groundout, and with two outs, Barnhart doubled him home to get the Reds' on the board.
Fangraph starts bad, gets worse
- Nothing good happened tonight offensively. Just forget about that part of baseball for now.
- Pitchingwise? There's a lot of fun stuff to talk about. In addition to Dan Straily being surprisingly terrific again, Robert Stephenson blew away AAA competition tonight, fanning career-high 11 in six innings of work and allowing just two runs.
- The rehab front provided some good news as well, with Anthony Desclafani tossing five scoreless frames for Dayton in what he said is hopefully his final rehab start. Even if the starters were all pitching lights-out for the Reds right now, Desclafani would be a welcome sight in the dugout. Let's pull for the kid to hit the ground running.
- The Reds will look to avoid their sixth straight loss tomorrow with Alfredo Simon taking the hill opposite Francisco Liriano. Game time is 7:05p.m.