The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Joey Votto came into Monday's outing with an OPS over .900 in his previous 9 games, in the process trying to eschew the ugly stat-line he'd carried before that mini-breakout. The Cincinnati Reds 1B came barreling into a matchup with his former All Star teammate, Johnny Cueto, and the stage was set for a public tete-a-tete that Reds fans had quietly pondered for years.
Votto struck out in his first appearance against Cueto, but proceeded to launch a healthy 3-run dinger against the former Cincinnati ace in his second chance against him, at the time providing the Reds with the kind of big-hit that looked like it might lead to a win. So, a trophy, because why the hell not?
Honorable Mentions are due to: Ivan De Jesus, Jr., who went 2 for 3 with a run scored and a walk; and Brandon Finnegan, who tossed a respectable 6 innings of 3 ER ball, striking out 4 against 6 hits and 3 walks.
- A pair of big early innings defined this game, the first being when the Giants put up a 3-spot in the Top of the 2nd against Finnegan. Finnegan put the first two batters he faced in said inning on via a walk and a hit-by-pitch, and a Kelby Tomlinson single loaded the bases with Cueto on-deck. Cueto, of course, entered as a career .wet noodle/.soggy dreadlock/.feather career hitter, but he poked a single past Brandon Phillips and into RF for a 2-run single to open the scoring. Denard Span followed with a fielder's choice that scored Tomlinson from 3B, and the Reds trailed, 3-0.
- Oh, but the Reds had some fun in store. Tucker Barnhart led off the Bottom of the 3rd with a single, and things quickly snowballed from there. He moved over on a Finnegan sacrificed & scored on a double off the bat of Hamilton, and the presence of the speedster at 2B seemed to rattle Cueto in a way from which he couldn't quite recover. Ivan De Jesus, Jr. worked a patient walk that featured a half-dozen throws to 2B to check on Billy, and that set-up a damn engaging contest between Cueto and Votto that resulted in the 2-strike, 3-run dinger to straightaway CF. The Reds pancaked that with a single-triple-walk-single, the last of which drove in the 6th run of the Reds' half-inning. Reds led, 6-3.
- Things were sunny. Birds were chirping. Kids had Fla-Vor-Ice and hoola-hoops, and the smell of fresh-cut grass emanated throughout a happy-go-lucky Great American Ball Park.
- Then, from the depths beneath Mount Doom, an evil arose, one powerful enough to destroy even the most rosy of thoughts and heartiest of men. Yes, the Reds bullpen came to fore, taking the mound with a sceptre of pain known only to the most evil of beings who have ever breathed air. JC Ramirez swung said pain on this night, taking over for Brandon Finnegan in the Top of the 7th and promptly allowing a single to Buster Posey, a double to Hunter Pence, and an RBI single to Brandon Belt before being chased from the game. Gregor Blanco then donked a pinch-hit single to bring the game within a run, but that paled in derparison to the 2-run dinger Brandon Crawford honked a batter later after Drew Hayes was brought in to clean up the previous mess. The land was scorched, the crops destroyed, and the lead evaporated. Reds then trailed, 8-6.
- Hayes and J.J. Hoover combined to allow another run in the Top of the 9th, and that wrapped the final score. Reds lost, 9-6.
FanGraph akin to those you've seen described as being so similar to every other Reds loss that they may well have been scandilously replicated
- Johnny Cueto was hit hard in his return to GABP, allowing 6 ER in 5 IP in an outing he'll surely not remember as fondly as he'd like.
- Just prior to the start of this one, the Reds announced that Devin Mesoraco had been placed on the 15-day DL with a torn labrum in his left shoulder. It sucks. It's terrible news. It's something of a severity that nobody I know saw coming when it was originally announced that he had a sore shoulder. But, it's the script the Reds have been cast with for the second consecutive season.
- Ramon Cabrera was called-up for catching depth as the other half of the transaction, and while he's never been a prospect with much fanfare, he's got some intriguing qualities to his game. He hit .290/.343/.353 for AAA Louisville last season, and the former Pittsburgh Pirates farmhand owns a solid .287/.352/.381 career line in his 9 minor league seasons. He'll be backing up Tucker Barnhart for the foreseeable future.
- Some portion of the crowd at GABP tonight jumped head-first into an extremely Pittsburghian "CUE-TO" chant, and I won't even ask you to pardon my French when I say that's fucking stupid.
- John Lamb was a late-scratch from the projected Louisville rotation tonight, prompting speculation that he may well be headed to Cincinnati. Currently, Jon Moscot is still listed as the scheduled starter for tomorrow's 7:10 PM game against the Giants, but he's dealing with a non-throwing shoulder issue that knocked him out from his previous start earlier than anyone would have liked. Either way, whichever Reds starter will be facing off against Jeff Samardzija and his glorious hair.