Joe Nuxhall Honorary Memorial Star of the Game
The Reds are not winning this season. At the beginning of April, that statement just meant, "not winning enough to make the playoffs", but now it feels like much more of a solemn "the Reds might not win ever again." In times like this, the only moral victories are seeing young, controllable guys play well, and seeing the tradeable veterans play like guys other teams might covet down the stretch.
So far this season, Jay Bruce has provided just that for Cincinnati. He went 1-for-3 with his ninth dinger of the year and a walk to raise his slash to a healthy .261/.313/.497 for the season. Nobody's made the leap in trade value that Zack Cozart has, but Bruce continues to make himself an attractive commodity, and for that I'm thankful.
Honorable mentions go to Tyler Holt and Ivan DeJesus Jr., who each collected two hits in the afternoon, Brandon Finnegan, who didn't suck in 6.1 innings on the mound, and Ross Ohlendorf, who dorfed a scoreless inning of relief.
- Jonathan Villar was the first to touch home plate today, and he got there via pretty Billy Hamilton-esque means. After singling to center to start the bottom of the first, he went first to third on a foul-out to Brandon Phillips, who smacked his knee on the low cement wall in the process of making the catch. He then tagged and scored on a Jonathan Lucroy F9, and Milwaukee was ahead 1-0.
- That lead lasted all of two pitches in the top of the 2nd, with Jay Bruce tattooing a high fastball into the second deck in right field. Nelson's headache didn't end after that. He ended a long AB against Adam Duvall by plunking him in the shoulder, then gave up a bunt single to Tyler Holt and another single to RF off the bat of Ivan DeJesus Jr. With six of the first seven Reds batters of the game reaching base against Nelson (two were caught stealing in the first inning), a real crooked number seemed possible. But, Tucker Barnhart squashed that with a 6-4-3 run-scoring double play. Finnegan was retired immediately after, but the Reds led 2-1.
- Villar wasn't done coming around to bite the Reds, though. He walked with two outs in the third inning, and then came around to score on a double by Hernan Perez that didn't miss clearing the fence by much. Jonathan Lucroy singled home Perez for his - *looks at statcast* - 73rd RBI of the series, and the Brewers led 3-2.
- Third time through the order, it was the same perpetrators. Following a leadoff double down the third base line by Alex Presley to start the fifth inning, and subsequent sacrifice by Nelson, Villar singled to center to double Milwaukee's lead to 4-2.
- Seventh inning. Villar Walk. Lucroy triple. Villar scores. Yawn. 5-2.
- The Reds throw a serious kink into the Brewers' plans in the top of the ninth, but unfortunately came up just short. With two outs, Holt, DeJesus and Barnhart strung together three straight hits that led to a pair of runs off of Blaine Boyer. Jordan Pacheco struck out in his pinch-hit appearance, however, and the Reds fell 5-4.
- Today was Adam Duvall's first career MLB start at third base, and he played nine innings of mistake-free baseball while also reaching base a couple of times at the plate. His bat is as important as anyone's to keep in the lineup right now, and if he can provide solid offense while relieving the slumping Eugenio Suarez at third while also offering a guy like Holt the chance to do some good in the outfield, Godspeed to him.
- Following Phillips' collision with the wall in the first inning, trainers spent several minutes taking a look at him. Things looked bleak originally, with Joey Votto needing to pick him up to get him to his feet and it taking multiple attempts for him to even put weight on the troubled leg. But, he convinced trainers to let him stay in, and he seemed solid the rest of the way.
- Bruce's second-inning dinger was his 35th of his career against the Brewers, and his 13th in Miller Park. Both are career highs. Big Jay loves him some brews.
- Before the game, Thom Brennaman announced that he would be undergoing a "precautious surgical procedure", and would be absent from the booth for an indefinite amount of time. He didn't specify what the procedure would go over, but he seemed confident he would be home with his family soon after. We like to give tHom the business over here, but as someone who's gotten the chance to speak with him at length and didn't come away with any ill impression of him whatsoever, I hope he makes a speedy recovery and is back to giving Welsh the business soon.
- Tunes.. Enjoy the extra day off with an extra drink or two, why don't ya.